‘Hoop Project’ returns this weekend

The Hoops Project has traditionally been held on First Avenue in Gallipolis.

GALLIPOLIS — The Hoop Project makes its return for the 2015 summer season July 18-19 on First Avenue in front of Gallipolis City Park.

The Hoop Project’s first year was in 2013. This will be the third year the Downtown Revitalization Project hosts the three-on-three full-court basketball tournament.

“The first year we did the Hoop Project, we really didn’t know what to expect,” DRP member Robbie Pugh said. “It ended up being really good. We had a lot of rain. It was a blessing in disguise because it taught us to be prepared for the unexpected. The second year went a little smoother. The first year we had 70 teams (participating). Last year, we had 80 teams. There are about six players per team. This year we are expecting more than 100 teams.”

With about six players on each team, Pugh anticipates there to be between 700 to 1,000 players competing during the upcoming weekend.

“We have our two-time defending champion from Lexington, Ky., returning,” Pugh stated. “We have people from Cleveland, Cincinnati, North Carolina and West Virginia. I believe the farthest people that travel to compete are from North Carolina and Kentucky.”

Teams are self-organized by players. Occasionally, sponsors will host teams to pay the $100 entry fee. Pugh noted the event was not “for profit.” All money raised from the event is dedicated to funding further tournaments in the future. The hope of DRP is to “break-even” on the project. The money is meant to pay referees, buy shirts for participants as well as fund event trophies.

Registration for the event ends at 6 p.m. July 15. No applicants will be considered afterward.

A grand opening ceremony will be 6:30 p.m. Friday. An exhibition match will be conducted that evening as well.

“The tournament really starts Saturday morning at 8 a.m. with a captain’s meeting. Then we play until 9 p.m. Saturday. Then we’ll have a dunk contest. We give away a $1,000 to the winner. We’ll play all championships games on Sunday,” Pugh said. “The statistic of the entire tournament last year that we’re more proud of was the (money) DRP spent just on trophies, signage, food, things like that. We spent $13,000 last year between the businesses (DRP supporters) here on Second Avenue.”

If the weather doesn’t cooperate, gyms have been reserved at local schools for the event to continue.

Divisions for all ages will be welcomed.

Gallia Got Sole will also make its first appearance Sunday during the Hoop Project. A shoe convention, individuals will set up shoe collections in the style of classic basketball Air Jordans and other styles of sneakers. The public can peruse collections and potentially buy or trade among collectors and vendors. Trenton Osborne is a local teenager organizing the event.

For more information or to apply to compete in the Hoop Project, visit www.thehoopproject.com or www.galliagotsole.com.

Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.