FORT WAYNE – Promoter Jim Fouts admits it was harder to attract top-flight boys basketball teams to this years Super Hoops Classic, which will take place Jan. 1 at Memorial Coliseum.
The renowned and long-standing shootout, with five games, has been played in the past at Purdue and Butler. But because of an NCAA ruling last year, tournaments sponsored by non-scholastic entities such as Fouts Super Hoops & Ball This cant have showcases at college campus venues.
The games last year were moved off Purdues Mackey Arena to high school sites or canceled. This year, Fouts moved the games to Memorial Coliseum, which is a community site despite its home status for IPFW.
The ruling makes no sense, Fouts said. D-I college coaches can host summer shootouts and team camps but wont let us bring 12 teams in to play at a D-I college.
We do have some good matchups of games, but nothing like it has been in the past. Its been a hard draw getting teams to play at the Coliseum. It was easier getting teams to play at Butler and Purdue and being around their players and coaches.
The Super Hoops 10-team format includes three northeast Indiana teams, with Columbia City playing Northridge, and New Haven and Huntington North wrapping up the night.
Columbia City coach Chris Benedict has had teams participate in Super Hoops formats for about 15 years, and this will be a Benedict-coached teams third time at the varsity level in the showcase.
Our program over the years has played in some neat historical gyms in Indiana, but we have yet to play in the Coliseum, Benedict said.
When the event was moved there for this year, I asked the Super Hoops guys if we could be a part of it. (The promoters) try to market to solid teams for the upcoming year and teams that have a so-called marquee player.
While Memorial Coliseum may not be known statewide for its rich basketball heritage, New Haven coach Al Gooden remembers the days before class basketball when the venue played host to outstanding high school basketball.
I have told my team many of times how fun it was playing on the Coliseum floor when I was in high school, said Gooden, who played at Wayne. They were excited to know that they will get a chance to play at the Coliseum.
Huntington North coach Rob Irwin, who also coached at Carroll and Whitko, is also aware of the Coliseums basketball reputation.
Its a historic place to play, Irwin said. I am glad our kids will get a chance to experience it. Super Hoops called and wanted to know if we would be interested in playing in the event, and of course we were. The athletic directors got together, and New Haven agreed they would be willing to move our game there. I think it is a win-win for both schools.