Mississauga, Ontario—The iconic Field of Dreams line “Build it and they will come” was a reference to building and constructing a baseball field rather than an event. However, the same sentiment might be just as applicable to a tournament as Richard Nurse and R and G Sports Marketing are finding out up here in Mississauga, just southwest of Toronto.
The first annual Ontario Fall Shootout demonstrated all the promise and possibilities for a premier affair featuring many of the younger club teams dotting the province club circuit. With a lineup of 40 U13/U14 teams as well as 44 additional boys teams, the groundwork was laid for an event that could evolve into an annual early look at some of the promising prospects on the Ontario horizon. The proximity of the setting also sets the stage for some US teams to come north of the boarder and add some international flavor in the future.
Appropriately, the International Centre adjacent to Toronto’s Pearson International Airport provided the setting for the seven court event this time around. Over the course of the weekend 168 games were played featuring some teams just scratching the surface as well as many others with players demonstrating their readiness to take their game to the next level.
The three-day agenda also included multiple skill sessions led by respected skill instructor Mihai Raducanu of No Limit Performance. Saturday afternoon Nike’s Mark Bayne and Blue Star’s own Mike Flynn were featured speakers addressing the topic of branding and the basketball pathway. Sunday also saw some X and O instruction for coaches looking to up their teaching skill sets.
Flynn, Blue Star/USJN founder and architect of the highly successful Blue Star 30, sees events such as the Ontario Fall Shootout as an opportunity.
“When you’re searching for that next generation of elite players like those in our first two Blue Star 30 classes, we’re going to be part of and in the gym of events like this that can provide an early look at some very promising talent”
“If this first year is an indication of the direction for the future, there’s going to be a need for some more courts and a bigger facility!!”