Barry Lewis: Tournament of Champions organizers see bright future for event
BY BARRY LEWIS World Sports Writer
Thursday, January 31, 2013
1/31/13 at 5:24 AM
Go to Barry Lewis' BlogOriginal Print Headline: TofC organizers see bright future
TULSA PUBLIC SCHOOLS athletic director Gil Cloud sees a bright future for Oklahoma's Tournament of Champions.
"We think it's just going to get bigger and bigger," Cloud said about the high school basketball showcase that TPS has conducted for 48 years.
Cloud and tournament director Tommy Thompson emphatically denied rumors this week that the tournament is folding. Thompson was stunned when a coach who is signed up for next December's tournament told him about the rumor and then was surprised when he heard it from another respected source.
Thompson and Cloud are excited about the tournament's potential and have plans in place for the next year.
"We could use more corporate sponsors - we lost two when there was the controversy with (former TPS athletic director) Stephanie Spring and that hurt us," said Thompson, referring to Spring's suspension before the 2011 tournament and dismissal later last winter. "But I feel good about where we're at. We're strong."
Thompson said the tournament has become stronger since the girls' Oklahoma's Best event was merged into the boys' Tournament of Champions in 2011, combined with the TofC returning to Oral Roberts University's Mabee Center after a six-year absence.
"Mabee Center is second to none as far as a place for us to hold the tournament," Thompson said. "And reaction has been good to us combining the tournaments."
Next season's dates for the tournament are a day or two earlier than usual - Dec. 26-28.
In 2014, Cloud plans to have the tournament return to its original site, Memorial High School, for the opening round to celebrate the event's 50th anniversary. The Chargers are scheduled then to be playing in their new arena.
Next season's tournament field has already been filled, earlier than usual.
The boys bracket will include Union (Class 6A), Memorial and Oklahoma City McGuinness (5A), Victory Christian (4A), Okemah (3A), Ketchum (2A), Weleetka (A) and Arnett (B).
In the girls field will be Sapulpa and Norman North (6A), East Central (5A), Weatherford (4A), Adair (3A), Ketchum and Preston (2A), and Red Oak (B).
"Costs do go up, so we need more corporate involvement than we've had," Cloud said. "But it is worthwhile to us to have this tournament, and we're ready to go make it even more successful. It's a great wintertime opportunity that draws 4,000 to 5,000 people to our city."
Basketball notes: Nowata's Micah Hayes was 8-of-13 on 3-pointers, 4-of-5 on free throws and had five assists in an 87-53 victory over Pawhuska on Tuesday. ...
Booker T. Washington's Thais Montgomery scored 11 points in a 70-56 victory over Hale on Tuesday. Montgomery's points were omitted from the scoring summary in Wednesday's editions. ...
The NOAH at Bartlesville games have been pushed back a day and rescheduled for Saturday night.
Smallwood commits: Tim Smallwood, a 6-foot-2 guard who was the World's metro basketball player of the year in 2011 with Victory Christian, has verbally committed to play for Central Arkansas next season. Smallwood is in his second season of junior college basketball at Murray State.
McQuarters commits: Cascia Hall tailback Abrm McQuarters has committed to play football at Dartmouth. McQuarters was a Tulsa World All-State selection in 2012.
Farrow chooses Gorillas: Broken Arrow offensive lineman Bo Farrow has verbally committed to participate in football and track and field at Pittsburg State. Farrow was an Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State football selection and a World All-Metro second-team selection. He also won Class 6A state titles in shot put and discus last spring. Verbal commitments are not binding. National Signing Day is Feb. 6.
Signing Day: Schools that have signing day ceremonies planned or college signings of student-athletes are encouraged to send that information to Barry Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 918-581-8393.