It’s better late than never for the debut of what looks to become a 3-on-3 basketball tradition in Redmond.
The Hub City Hoop Jam is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Redmond High. Organizers are expecting between 60 and 100 teams to take part, in age groups for males and females ranging from third graders to adults.
Money raised at the event will benefit the Redmond School District, as well as groups that are volunteering there, such as parent-teacher organizations, the Marine Corp JROTC and youth sports clubs.
Marc Horner, the district’s facilities department and building use coordinator, said the event is inspired by the massive Hoopfest in Spokane, Washington, where he played as a youth three decades ago. Horner has always enjoyed the street ball aspect of the tournament.
“As I got older, I just recognized it as a fun event, like going to the movies,” he said.
Now he wants to see something similar happen in Redmond, though it will be a while before it can approach Spokane’s more than 6,000 teams.
Redmond is starting out with 15 courts around the newly-paved parking lot at the high school. Horner would eventually like it to grow to 300 teams, though he wants to keep the tournament small enough to play at the high school. But, for now, he wants people to see it’s a fun event.
“You don’t have to be Kawhi Leonard to play in it,” Horner said. “If you love basketball and you love being active, you can play in it.”
The tournament was originally planned to be played in 2018 but the school district decided to push the inaugural event back a year. Horner said they wanted to make sure the first tournament is a positive experience, even though it isn’t starting huge.
Another change from last year’s original plan is it will be played over one day, with each team guaranteed four games. With basketball popular among church groups, Horner hopes not playing on Sunday will allow more of them to participate.
The Hoop Jam is the latest event the school district is playing host or cohost to, along with events from the state middle school basketball tournament, which brings 400 kids to town, and golf, baseball and wrestling tournaments.
“That give kids the opportunity to play locally and not have to travel,” Horner said. “It also provides tremendous economic impact in the community. They’re staying in hotels and eating in restaurants, and when they’re working the events they’re fundraising.”
The money raised at the events keeps teams and other organizations that work there from having to go ask the same people for money over and over, Horner said.
While most of the teams playing in the 3-on-3 tournament are local, Horner said some are coming from Eastern Oregon and even Idaho. He hopes to draw from a larger area in the future.
The 3-on-3 tournament is expected to be part of a full day of activities Saturday in western Redmond. Horner recommends people head down the hill to Sam Johnson Park once the basketball ends. The Bacon, Brews and Balloons Festival, which drew 4,000 people in 2018, is taking place there from 5-10 p.m.
Among those planning to play in the Redmond 3-on-3 tournament is Blaine Aamodt, a rising junior basketball player at Redmond High. He will be on a team with his brothers Nick, a former Panther basketball player, and Coleman, who played at Ridgeview.
“I’m super-excited,” Blaine said. “I hope we do something cool and win something.”
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, gfolsom@ redmondspokesman.com