Jayson Williams, Lamar Odom, Alonzo Mourning…just a few well-known NBA names who played in Springfield, Missouri’s Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. The #1 attended high school basketball tournament in America has quite a pedigree, with well over 100 athletes who moved on to play NCAA Division-1 ball, and nearly 50 alumni who played in the NBA.
This year marked the 30th anniversary of Dr. Edsel Matthews’ vision – to showcase top-level high school talent in Springfield with the support of Bass Pro Shops and Missouri State University. Three decades in, the tournament has become the premiere event of its kind, with a packed house every night and a national television audience.
This year’s MVP, D’Angelo Russell from Montverde Academy, had this to say after the tournament: “It’s crazy! High school games aren’t 10-thousand people, the stands aren’t this high up, not this big. It gets you ready for the next level.” (From Maxpreps.com) D’Angelo was recruited by 14 different Division-1 schools. Back in June, he signed with Ohio State. Montverde easily took the 2014 Championship with a 73-60 win over White Station on Saturday.
This was my second year as the On-Court Emcee, and I had an absolute blast with fans again. From seat-upgrades, to tournament trivia, to half-time shooting contests, to completely random moments of karaoke…it’s always nice to discover lofty basketball IQ’s and raw talent off the court. If you caught fearless 10-year-old Jackson from Marshfield singing “Part of Your World” from the Little Mermaid…you know what I’m talking about. Thanks to St. Louis Cardinals Shelby Miller, Joe Kelly and Kolton Wong for having some fun with us on Friday night, as well.
The Bass Pro Tournament of Champions has become more than three days of hoops…it’s a fun, family event during Winter’s deep freeze in Southwest Missouri. Mark your 2015 calendars now for the third week in January. Come have some fun with us, and see the future of the game in your own backyard!
Special thanks to tournament director Mark Fisher and producer Marty Marsh. It’s your passion for the game, attention to detail, and thorough coordination that deliver on the tournament’s revered reputation. Thanks to the local production team: Announcer Rick Jester, Brandon Hite, Stewart Davis, Kelly Magruder, Bryan Hunter, Matt Jones and more, who’s collective talent make the entire production look and sound top-notch. I look forward to seeing you all for year #31!