Summer is fast approaching and, with only one week until All-Star Sunday, I’m really starting to get excited. All the pieces are gradually falling into place and it’s been a real team effort to bring it all together. The ticket-holders who have already secured their place at the event are in for a real treat. Not only will their be some top-class basketball events on-the-day, featuring some of the best male, female, and even under-18, players in NI, we are focused on creating a fun and enjoyable experience for all those in attendance. “How so, Tony?” I hear you ask.
On the day, there will be: talented face-painters and balloon animal makers (Danny Kingsberry & Sara Edge), mascot (UU’s very own Elkman), DJ Sneakybear (Fiona Sullivan), kid’s competitions throughout the course of the game (PeacePlayers’ Joanne Fitzpatrick & Darryl Petticrew), Big Ted and his famous cookies, hip-hop dance crew with original choreography by Emma Smyth, free prize giveaways courtesy of our sponsors ESPN and of course, a half-court shot competition for a whopping £200 cash prize! [N.B: the person(s) selected can choose to opt out of the half-court shot and instead shoot a free-throw (with a prize of a £25 Nike voucher) or a three-point shot (with a prize of £50 Nike voucher). They can choose one of the three shot attempts.]
That’s not all though; we will also be having a bucket competition that will take place just before tip-off. Participants will take a ball, label it with their name, and throw it, aiming for the bucket in the middle of the jump-ball circle. The first ball to land in the bucket will win a signed Belfast Giants jersey or a limited edition commemorative Ireland Basketball jersey! In the event of no ball making it into the bucket, the prize will be awarded to the ball closest to the bucket.
Sunday 22nd April | UUJ | 1pm
In the three-point contest each of the fourteen participants will attempt to make as many shots as possible within a minute from five positions behind the 3-point arc. Players start in one corner of the court and move from one station to the next until they have shot every available basketball, or until their one minute expires.
Each rack holds five basketballs, with the final ball in each rack designated the ‘money ball’. Players score one point per ball, with the exception of each ‘money ball’ which is worth two points.
There is a maximum of thirty points available to our shooters, and the top three scorers from Round One will progress to the Final to shoot again and decide the winner.
No player in the history of the NBA Three Point Shootout has ever scored more than 25pts and the record number of consecutive shots made stands at 19. Can any of our NI sharpshooters make history?
The Dunk Contest
Each of the six contestants will have thirty seconds to make a dunk of their choice, which will be scored out of ten by our panel of five judges. After all dunkers have (hopefully!) made their first dunk, the two lowest scoring players will be eliminated. The remaining four competitors will then get a second dunk attempt to woo our judges and again the lowest scoring two will be eliminated, leaving two dunkers who will go head-to-head with a third and final dunk for the title!
David Durkan (5’11 – St Mary’s CBS & Lisburn Basketball Club)
Audrius Verikas (6’4 – Armagh Magic)
Ciaran Ashe (6’1 – UUJ & Belfast Star)
Audrius Cesconis (6’4 – Andersonstown Tigers)
Alexandr Sasha Prymus (6’8 – Blackstone Ballymena)
Daryl Dowey – (6’0 – Down Tropics)
Thomas Kane (BBC Sports reporter)
Conor Lilly (Basketball Ireland)
Mark O’Neill (Basketball Northern Ireland)
Nick Kuiper (Belfast Giants)
Java Dupree (Former US College player & Star of the Sea professional)
All-Star Exhibition Game
The first showcase event of its type, the All-Star Game will provide an exhibition of the best and brightest talents playing basketball in Northern Ireland today, as chosen by you, the fans.
The game is not only sure to be an exciting spectacle, but creates an opportunity to claim national bragging rights: is Belfast basketball best or will it be just too tough a test against the rest?
It is intended that the game should provide a competitive, fun and entertaining exhibition of basketball and will therefore be played under normal regulations with a few additions.
The game will be played out over four full 10 minute quarters and will be overseen by a team of four referees, three-man rotations, with a quarterly change-over.
The starting fives have been pre-determined by fan vote and coaches will not use zone defence in the exhibition game.
The Events Team
As many of you will appreciate, organising an event of this magnitude is not an easy feat and requires a committed effort from a variety of quality people. I’d like to take this first opportunity to introduce, and thank, the team of individuals that are preparing all that is necessary to make this Sunday an unmissable day of basketball, fun and community:
John Wynne (TCC), Deirdre Brennan (Ulster Elks), Stephen Crothers (Ulster Elks), Dave Cullen (Down Tropics), Ryan Hayes (TCC), Marc Mulholland (SportzoneNI), Danny Kingsberry & Sara Edge (Face–painting), Joanne Fitzpatrick (PeacePlayers), Aodhan Hickey (Ulster Elks), Paddy McGaharan (Ulster Elks), Ronan O’Dornan (Nexus Photo), Prezemk Zdrojewski (ZDR Photo), Fiona Sullivan (TCC), Susie Dick (Ulster Rockets), Niall McDermott (TCC) and Paul Bullock (TCC).
There are also a number of people who will volunteer on-the-day that I would like to thank in advance. Their assistance will be invaluable, ensuring the smooth running of an excellent event:
Helena Fairburn (Ulster Rockets) and Ruth Neill (Tigers) as the table officials. John Coey (Queen’s Basketball Club) as the game’s Commissioner. Multi-taskers will include Maria Hall (QUB), David Wilson, Ciaran McGuiggan, David Stalker and Janet McGaharan, as well as members of my U16 girl’s team: Aislinn McFarland, Olivia Boyle, Sophie Short, Hailey McKeever, Roisin Murray and Laoise Carey,
Thank-you for all your support and I look forward to seeing you there on the day.
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To purchase tickets, click here to buy online. Alternatively, get in contact with a member of The Courtside Collective team.