Wildcats head outdoors for Roundball Classic

Ray Bressette

The men’s basketball program will host the annual four-on-four Roundball Classic tournament to raise proceeds for the men’s basketball team 8 a.m. Saturday, June 7 through Sunday, June 8 at Miners Park in Negaunee, Mich. Assistant coach William Hill said the outdoor element of the tournament is what makes it a classic.

The men’s basketball team finished the 2013-14 campaign with a 5-21 overall record in head coach Bill Sall’s first year at Northern Michigan University. Junior forward Justin Newell led the team in scoring with 324 points. (NW file photo)
The men’s basketball team finished the 2013-14 campaign with a 5-21 overall record in head coach Bill Sall’s first year at Northern Michigan University. Junior forward Justin Newell led the team in scoring with 324 points. (NW file photo)

“This tournament really brings you back to the days to when you were a kid playing ball,” Hill said. “Nobody really plays basketball outside anymore like they use to, and playing in that kind of environment outside will remind you of the days when you were learning how to play.

“Growing up in the area, I always looked forward to playing in this tournament every year, and it’s something everyone should have a fun time going to.” The tournament will consist of men and women of all ages, and will be branched off into divisions based on age. Each game will last 25 minutes, and the teams will consist of four players on the court with the option of one sub per team.

The NMU coaching staff and basketball players will be present to support the event and meet members of the community. Junior guard Terry Nash said he hopes the event will raise awareness of the team throughout the community. “We’re looking to go out and grab people’s attention to Northern Michigan basketball,” Nash said. “It’s great to work with the community and meet some friends, and we’re hoping we’ll make some new fans to come support us at our games as well.” In the event of rain, the tournament will be moved to the Negaunee Middle School gymnasium. Sall said the tournament will be uniquely different from the average basketball game.

“It’s definitely going to be interesting having four players on each team,” Sall said. “The courts are going to be smaller than usual, but the basic concepts of the game will still be in play. we should see a lot of solid competition while having some fun with it at the same time.” There will be a sale of NMU Wildcat merchandise at the event throughout the weekend, along with practice and game-worn items for sale. Head coach Bill Sall said he expects a great turnout in support for the event. “It’s going to be a great time bringing basketball out and into our surrounding community,” Sall said.“It’s good to keep the interest of the team alive and bringing everyone together in the middle of the off season. “I’ve been a part of a lot of basketball communities throughout the years, and Marquette’s shown just as much great support as any fan base I’ve seen.”

Nash said the Roundball Classic is a great representation of the basketball program. “We’re definitely building this program the right way,” Nash said. “This is a family-first type of team, and at Northern Michigan it’s about playing for your school and not for the name on the back of your jersey. “We’ve got a bright future here with our team, and these types of events show who we are as a team, and who we want to be as we continue to head into the right direction.”

For more information on the event, contact the NMU recreational staff by email at [email protected] or by phone at (906) 227-2519.