A small college men's basketball tournament involving teams from western Michigan including the Flying Dutchmen during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend will have a new look this year.
The tournament has a new sponsor, a new name and a new format.
Select Bank of Grand Rapids is the new title sponsor of what will be known as the Select Bank Hall of Fame Classic Basketball Tournament. Games will be held on Tuesday Nov.26 and Saturday, Nov. 30 at Van Andel Arena, downtown Grand Rapids.
The tournament was started in 1996, and is operated by the Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame.
"The Grand Rapids Sports Hall of Fame is extremely excited about the decision of Select Bank to become the Title Sponsor of the Classic", said Hall of Fame Trustee Ray McCahill. "Mark Kimble, the President, has for many years been an active leader in the West Michigan sports scene."
The annual event, which kicks off the college basketball season for area colleges, including Aquinas, Calvin, Cornerstone, Grand Valley and Hope.One of the five teams sits out each year. This year that team will be Calvin; a year ago it was Hope.
First-round games on Tuesday, Nov. 26, will pit Grand Valley against Aquinas at 6 p.m., followed at 8 p.m. by Hope against Cornerstone. On Saturday, the first round losers will play at 6 p.m. with the championship game following at 8 p.m.
Funds generated by the games are donated to the Grand Rapids Public School System, in support of fifth and sixth grade basketball programs. The league is administered through a partnership between the City Recreation Department and the G.R.P.S, and utilizes four public high schools for Saturday league play. The program is called the "All City" Elementary Athletic Program, and the tournament is a great way to create funds for thousands of inner city youth.
"I'm delighted that Select Bank gets to play a major role in a tournament like this" said Kimball. "The tournament is a prime example of how local sports teams and businesses can work together for a very positive cause."