By Chris Slone
The Great American Hoops tournament tips off Wednesday with a winner-take-all $25 thousand prize at the end of the double-elimination bracket.
With one game on the docket Wednesday evening, Portsmouth residents will have an opportunity to see former southern Ohio players take the court for both teams.
On one side, Portsmouth alum Mark Bendolph will coach his son Andrew Bendolph — a former SSU Bear — and Anthony Williams, both of whom graduated from Portsmouth High School. Bendolph believes he has built a team capable of winning the tournament.
“It is an opportunity to try to collect the best talent available in central and southern Ohio, and put them together and win that tournament,” Bendolph said.
Bendolph relishes the chance to come home to compete in a tournament of this nature, which is being held at the old Portsmouth High School gymnasium.
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to for the past month-and-a-half now, since (Troy Parker, event organizer) informed me there was going to be (a tournament),” Bendolph said. “Just to come back home and give the people of Portsmouth an opportunity to see some of the best talent around, not only central Ohio but around the entire state. I’m very excited about it and it’s very rewarding for me.”
On the other side, three former local products will be competing together: Josh Campbell of South Webster, Camden Miller of Wheelersburg, and Kyle Miller of Piketon.
Campbell believes his team has the components needed to make a deep run in the tournament.
“I feel pretty comfortable with who we are going in there with,” Campbell said. “We’ve got a lot of size and a lot of different things. We’ve got strength, size and shooting.”
Campbell feels fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in this tournament in his home county.
“It’s something I’m really looking forward too,” Campbell said. “Hopefully a lot of local people we’ll get the chance to watch us again and not having to leave the area, a lot of us are excited about not having to miss work. Being in your hometown is key, is like having the hometown pulling for you to win it.”
Other than playing at home, Campbell is also excited about the prize money.
“Other than playing professional, I don’t think in two weeks anyone’s had a chance to make this much money before,” Campbell said.
The game will begin at 6 p.m. Thirteen teams have entered the Great American Hoops tournament. Tickets, which are $5 general admission, will be available at the gate on game days. For information on other games, visit www.greatamericanhoops.com.
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, 1930, or on Tweeter @crslone.