Of all the area basketball teams that will be taking part in tournaments over the Christmas break, none took a more unique approach to covering its costs than the Brentwood boys.
Coach Dennis King funded the Bruins’ trip back to his home state with proceeds from his book, “Refuse to be Ordinary: 10 Championship Traits.”
“We raised close to $5,000 with it in our initial push,” said King, whose team will participate in the Gateway Hoops Holiday Classic beginning Wednesday at his alma mater, Gateway High School in Monroeville, Pa., just outside Pittsburgh.
“Our parents really got after it, and we sold some at school. But it’s starting to slow down — I’m running out of friends and relatives.”
King, 62, began work on a memoir after retiring as Brentwood’s coach in 2003. King returned to coaching in 2007.
“I was going to call it ‘Schooled By the Boys in My Huddle,'” he said. “But my publisher said if I made it more of a self-help sort of book, pulled out some traits, came up with some stories to illustrate those, it may be more successful. About half of the original book is in this one.”
King, who teaches English, related stories about some of the players he coached in Pennsylvania and at Brentwood to support the winning characteristics he views as most important.
Brentwood is 10-2 heading into this weekend’s Chick-fil-A Classic in Mt. Juliet, where the Bruins will face LaVergne and Hunters Lane.
“The coach at my old high school has been asking us to come up for the longest,” King said. “I finally think we have a team that can represent our school and the state with some dignity.”
King said the team also will observe a Pitt men’s basketball practice and will go to the Flight 93 national memorial.
Good to be the King: CPA’s boys will put their 33-game winning streak on the line this week as they return to the King of the Bluegrass Holiday Classic in Louisville. The Lions became the first Tennessee team in the tournament’s 31-year history to win the 16-team event last season.
“It’s an unbelievable atmosphere to play high school basketball in,” CPA coach Drew Maddux said.
CPA opens today against Philadelphia Electrical and Technology Charter High School.
CPA will travel next week to the Beach Ball Classic in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Bundle up: Siegel, which has played in holiday tournaments in Hawaii and the Bahamas, will play in next week’s Doc Larson Roundball Classic in Wasilla, Alaska — the hometown of former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin. She will be the Stars’ corporate host, coach Ben Dotson said.
“We’re trying to let these guys do some things they’d never get to do otherwise,” said Dotson, who organizes fundraisers and corporate sponsors to help defray the costs of the trips his teams have taken over his five-year tenure. “We’ll leave Christmas morning and get back on New Year’s Day, and we’re guaranteed three games and possibly four. But we’ll do some cultural things as well. It’s more about life than basketball.”
Prep/college double-dip: Battle Ground Academy and MBA will provide an undercard of sorts for this weekend’s college contests at Bridgestone Arena.
Before Friday’s Vanderbilt-MTSU game, MBA plays St. Benedict and BGA plays MUS. On Saturday, BGA plays St. Benedict and MBA plays MUS before the Louisville-Western Kentucky matchup.
“We (BGA, MBA) were both scheduled to go to Memphis this weekend,” said BGA boys coach Len McKnatt, who arranged the event with arena officials. “When this opportunity was presented, we called to see if they’d (St. Benedict, MUS) be willing to come here and play in the arena, and they jumped at it.”
No rest: Defending Class AAA girls champion Riverdale, ranked sixth in the nation by USA TODAY, hosts Georgia champion Lovett in the State Farm Classic on Friday and Science Hill on Saturday.
Next week, Riverdale and District 7-AAA rivals Blackman and Smyrna all will play in the Peach State Invitational in Atlanta.
“It’s a chance to represent not only your school, but your state, when you travel or bring teams in,” first-year Riverdale coach Cory Barrett said. “It’s a chance to see how you stack up. In order to stay on a national stage, to stay in those talks, it’s important that you do that.”