Shootout at the Hall sets 2013 date
The Shootout at the Hall won't happen in 2012.
Plans are in place, however, for the high school boys basketball event to take place at Assembly Hall in 2013.
They even have a date already booked at the Assembly Hall — Saturday, Dec. 7.
The 2011 event ran into problems when organizers learned an NCAA rule prohibited non-scholastic basketball events on campus if prospective student-athletes are participating. The Shootout at the Hall met that criteria because it was organized by the Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau, a non-scholastic organization.
The 2011 event was moved to Parkland College a few days before, which shrank the field from 14 teams and seven games down to 10 teams and five games since it wasn't played at the Assembly Hall.
"As long as a high school is running it," Champaign Centennial High School athletic director Brian Easter said, "we can have it on a university campus. The big thing was locking down a date."
Easter is the one who is taking on the event management role. He's in the process of trying to line up teams in the next year and figure out how many games the event will have.
"Obviously with more games, it makes for a longer event, but you have the potential to draw in more fans," Easter said. "I'll look into that."
Having the Shootout at the Hall back at one of the state's marquee basketball arenas is a selling point Easter hopes will bring in top teams and fans for what had become a premier event in the area.
Not having one in 2012 certainly leaves a void in the area basketball schedule.
"I think that's the draw is to come down and be able to play on the Assembly Hall court," Easter said. "I definitely wanted to see the event back. High school kids watch the Illini play on TV, and they would enjoy playing on that court.
Some of the top in-state prospects in the Class of 2014 who have received Illinois interest include Jahlil Okafor and Paul White from Chicago Whitney Young, Cliff Alexander from Chicago Curie, Larry Austin Jr., from Springfield Lanphier, Michael Finke from Champaign Centennial, Sean O'Mara from Benet Academy in Lisle, Darius Austin from Cahokia, Malek Harris from Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park and Tyquone Greer from Chicago Orr, among others.