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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


High school basketball for MLK

The tenth annual Tucson/Martin Luther King Basketball Classic will return to McKale Center, but will be played this Saturday instead of its usual Martin Luther King Jr. Day slot.

Starting at 2 p.m., there will be five high school basketball matchups between Southern Arizona schools.

The event is presented by Coaches for Charity and sponsored by the Tucson Unified School District. Ed Ackerley is the president of Coaches for Charity.

According to a news release from Coaches for Charity, “The MLK Basketball Classic is an annual community event presented in memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. through high school basketball games in Tucson and high school and junior college games in the Phoenix valley.”

“It’s a showcase of athletic talent from Southern Arizona,” Ackerley said. “It’s the first exposure for many of the young people to play on the Mckale Center court and get that big-time experience. It fills in exceptionally well with Martin Luther King’s dream … of making life better for kids.”

In addition to allowing high school basketball players to showcase their talent on a big stage, the MLK Basketball Classic will also award two $500 scholarships to students, and each school will honor a community member who exemplifies King’s legacy. Coaches for Charity will present the two scholarships during halftime of the final game (Salpointe vs. Sahuaro).

Herman House, director of the classic and of interscholastics for TUSD, said in a news release that the event is important to the community.

“Through friendly games on the basketball court and through the scholarship recognition process, the classic is truly a community celebration of culture, classroom and competition,” House said.

This year’s Tucson/MLK Basketball Classic will showcase some of the top-tier local high school teams, such as the Salpointe Catholic High School boys’ basketball team, Cienega High School boys’ basketball team and Tucson High Magnet School girls’ basketball team.

“I think it’s an important time for young people, and we certainly want to encourage them to be involved in sports, athletics, fine arts and extracurricular activities that are meaningful and productive to their future lives,” Ackerley said.

Past MLK Basketball Classics have included high school standout players such as former UA men’s basketball players Jerryd Bayless and Brendon Lavendar and current ASU men’s basketball star Jahii Carson.

Entrance to the tournament will be $10 for adults and $7 for high school students with student IDs.

Follow RobertoPayne @HouseOfPayne555

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