Tourney organizer hoping for slam dunk

The organizer of a basketball tournament taking place this weekend in St. Albert is hoping it will be a slam dunk.

The J.R. Patrick Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament tips off Saturday in the south parking lot of Servus Credit Union Place, and the tourney’s namesake said he’s excited to get things going.

Former Edmonton Energy captain J.R. Patrick has been around the world playing professional basketball, and now he’s bringing his new 3-on-3 tournament to Servus Place in St. Albert. (GLENN COOK, St. Albert Leader)

Former pro basketball player J.R. Patrick is hoping his 3-on-3 tournament will be a slam dunk when it tips off this weekend at Servus Credit Union Place. (Leader file photo)

“I’m very excited that this has come to fruition,” said Patrick, a former professional basketball player in China, France, Mexico and Saudi Arabia, as well as a former captain of the Edmonton Energy. “It’s been three years since Servus Place asked me to do something for them as far as a basketball tournament, and I’ve just been very busy with my own schedule and getting it to correlate and actually put something together. Being able to get this done finally feels like a big weight off my shoulders.”

The tournament runs Saturday and Sunday, with divisions for boys and girls 10 to 12 years old, 13 to 15 years old and 16 and 17 years old, plus divisions for players 18 and older, as well as slam dunk and three-point shooting competitions.

So far, between 30 and 35 teams have signed up for the tournament, which is short of the 40 to 45 Patrick had hoped to get registered. But he’s happy with the teams he has.

“That’s just me being gung-ho and hoping that it would be a really good turnout, just because of the amount of kids that are in Edmonton — not even just in St. Albert,” said Patrick, who graduated from Eastglen Composite High School before going to Santa Clara University in California, the same college as two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash.

Each team is guaranteed a minimum of five games, and the best in each division will move on to Sunday’s playoffs.

The tournament will also feature a barbecue and a live DJ, and a portion of the proceeds wil go to the Boys and Girls Club of Edmonton.

While registration has been strong, so too has the support Patrick and the tournament have received from sponsors and from the community.

“A lot of sponsors I’ve had in my previous tournaments are still on board. … It’s just been a tremendous turnout for everybody in the community of St. Albert, Edmonton and the surrounding areas,” he said.

Patrick has organized the Pride of the Northside Streetball Tournament in northeast Edmonton for the past four years.

For more information on the J.R. Patrick Classic 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, visit www.jrpatrickybc.com/j-r-patrick-classic.

— GLENN COOK, St. Albert Leader