By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Boys and Girls Club to host AAU tournament
Placeholder Image
            In Statesboro, the Boys and Girls Club is known as a summer haven for young kids. Whether its running the snack counter in the teen center, spinning out some jams on 88.1 FM The Club or playing a little kick ball in the gym, local youths always have a place to get out of the heat and get involved.

            This Saturday, the Boys and Girls Club will have a chance to show itself off when it welcomes 10 teams from around the South for the 1st annual Summer Basketball Jam.

            The tournament, which begins at 9 a.m., will feature some of the best AAU squads from the region.

            "We've actually gone and played in some other tournaments and they said, 'Well — why don't you have your own?' So, we will," said Mike Backus, Director of Development for the Club. "We're going to bring some real top notch competitors in here."

            Admission for the double-elimination tournament is $2 for the entire day. Concessions will be available and the event will be run by members of the Boys and Girls Club.

            "Just before the summer's over we're trying to give these kids a chance to showcase their basketball talents — but also, add an educational component because this tournament will be run by our Boys and Girls Club kids here," said Backus.

            Local athletes from local schools such as Statesboro and Portal will be present. But top prospect Damien Leonard is likely to steal the show.

            Leonard is a 6-foot-4 shooting forward out of Greenville, S.C., and is a rising sophomore at J.L. Mann. His Carolina Cougars team is coached by Willis Holliday, a former player under the former coach Backus.

            "(Coach Holliday) is bringing the No. 1 freshman in the state (of South Carolina) with him to play. (There's also) Georgia Select, they're the 2006 National Champions. And they'll be teams out of Atlanta, teams out of Macon, teams out of South Carolina and Hinesville."

            Saturday will also give local colleges a chance to scout players. Savannah College of Art and Design, Armstrong Atlantic State, Augusta State, Brewton Parker and Clafin University are just some of the colleges that will be represented.

            "The expectation is exposure," said Backus. "Our kids get a chance to put the tournament in motion — and everybody will just come out and have a great Saturday."

            All participants will be given a T-shirt and an individual trophy. Trophies will also be given to first, second and third place finishers.


            Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.