2016 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions

TRUTH: The 32nd annual Bass Pro Tournament of Champions was EPIC. The fan support is simply astonishing for this level of play, and the production value for these young athletes: unrivaled. From the attendance – to the media coverage – to the “the show” – this tournament is the ultimate preparation for the next level, and it is an absolute honor to be a part of it.

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Player introductions for the nationally-televised Final between Oak Hill (#2 in the nation) and Sierra Canyon (#6 in the nation) featured “Members Only” belting out Europe’s “Final Countdown” and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck.” We went lights-out just before CBS Sports Network joined the scene, and made it nearly impossible for the commentators to hear themselves talk. Check out the video. Just before we went live, I asked fans to light-up their cellphones and show the rest of the country what it’s like to be a part of the highest-attended high school basketball tournament in the nation. They owned it from there…

The weekend’s first game was a thriller, launching Rainier Beach into the winner’s bracket over Bishop Gorman. While the remaining games proved lop-sided, the Final featured an insane 3-point buzzer-beater from Ty’Shon Alexander to hand Oak Hill its second consecutive Bass Pro Tournament of Champions title. Ty’Shon would be named to the all-tournament team and was honored as MVP of the weekend.

In the Great Southern Bank Slam Dunk Contest, Bishop Gorman’s Christian PoPoola vaulted over a buddy to earn his second slam dunk title in as many weeks. He earned the MaxPreps Holiday Classic Slam Dunk title on December 29th in Rancho Mirage, CA. (Some of the other highlights from the Great Southern Bank Slam Dunk Contest)

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The highlight for me, though, came on Day-1 when Trey West, an MSU student who played high school hoops for Skyline, won the Bass Pro Shootout. In 30-seconds, he sank a lay-up, free-throw, three-pointer and half-court shot, earning a $200 Bass Pro gift card. Before the win, he told me his selection to participate was God’s way of apologizing for not awarding him the $1.6-billion Powerball jackpot. Funny guy. Solid shooter.

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This was my fourth year as on-court emcee for the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. Originally, I saw this as memorable three-days in my own backyard to witness outstanding greatness before exposure to Division-1 NCAA hoops and the NBA. Since moving north to New England, I have to confess: It’s bigger than that. The Bass Pro Tournament of Champions is travel worthy. Why do you think top-scouts and NCAA head coaches like UCLA’s Steve Alford make the trip?

Regardless of where you live, make plans now to visit Springfield, Missouri in early January of 2017. Be a part of the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions. Just a few years down the road, you’ll brag about witnessing greatness before it was ever exposed to college or the pros. You’ll never forget the hospitality, the authenticity, the fun you had with the entire family in a small town smack-dab in the middle of the country; a community that proudly hosts the highest attended high-school basketball tournament in the nation…all to benefit the athletic programs of its public schools.

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RESULTS. Day-1: 2016 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions

Rainier Beach def. Bishop Gorman 74-71
Oak Hill def. Bolivar 73-38
Sierra Canyon def. Kickapoo 63-41
Chaminade def. Christ the King 67-48

RESULTS. Day-2: 2016 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions

Bishop Gorman def. Bolivar 77-62
Christ the King def. Kickapoo 72-60
Oak Hill def. Rainier Beach 83-62
Sierra Canyon def. Chaminade 66-58

RESULTS. Day-3: 2016 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions

Kickapoo def. Bolivar 71-64
Christ the King def. Bishop Gorman 59-55
Chaminade def. Rainier Beach 61-39
Oak Hill def. Sierra Canyon 49-48

Ty’Shon Alexander hit the game winning shot. The Oak Hill Warriors hadn’t led the entire game until the clutch 3-pointer at the buzzer. Oak Hill wins their second consecutive Bass Pro Tournament of Champions.

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2016 All Tournament Team:

  • Ty-Shon Alexander (Oak Hill) – MVP
  • Lindell Wigginton (Oak Hill)
  • Jose Alvarado (Christ the King)
  • Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon)
  • Cody Riley (Sierra Canyon)
  • Jared Ridder (Kickapoo)
  • Tyler Cook (Chaminade)
  • Jayson Tatum (Chaminade)
  • Sam Cunliffe (Rainier Beach)
  • Charles O’Bannon (Bishop Gorman)
  • Zach Collins (Bishop Gorman)

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Great Southern Bank Slam Dunk Contest

  1. Christian PoPoola (Bishop Gorman)
  2. Darrian Guillory (Joplin)

Other Slam Dunk Finalists:

  • Sam Cunliffe (Rainier Beach)
  • Issac Johnson (Kickapoo)
  • Isaac Olson (Chaminade)
  • Yashawn Bright-Gonzalez (Christ the King)

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THE TEAMS: 2016 Bass Pro Tournament of Champions

Oak Hill (Virginia)
  • #2 in the nation and defending champions
  • All six seniors on the team have accepted NCAA Division-1 Scholarship offers
  • Harry Giles – #1 ranked high school player in the nation – will play at Duke next year (out of the BPTOC with a torn ACL)
  • NBA alumni include: Rajon Rondo, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony
Sierra Canyon (Calilfornia)
  • #6 in the nation
  • Notable alumni include: Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner and Will Smith’s kid “Willow.” Okay.
Chaminade (St. Louis)
  • #14 in the nation
  • Jayson Tatum is their stand-out senior. ESPN ranks him #2 in the country. He’ll play for Duke next year
  • NBA alumni Include: Bradley Beal and David Lee
Rainier Beach (Washington)
  • NBA alumni include: Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson and Doug Christie
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas)
  • Notable alumni include: NASCAR Driver Brendan Gaughan, NBA players Shabazz Muhammed and CJ Watson, and NFL Running Back Demarco Murray
Christ the King (New York)
  • 5-time Champions at the Bass Pro Tournament of Champions
  • NBA alumni include: Jayson Williams and Lamar Odum – If only there were better role models…
Kickapoo (Missouri)
  • #2 in Missouri Class 5
  • Notable alumni include: Brad Pitt and the NBA’s Anthony Tolliver
Bolivar (Missouri)
  • #5 in Missouri Class 4