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TABC director says other tourneys following in Invitational’s footsteps

By ROBERT AVERY
ravery@hcnonline.com

You know it’s getting close to the McDonald’s Texas Invitational when in the middle of football season, a group of basketball coaches gather together to talk about their sport.

But behind these closed doors at Phillips Fieldhouse Wednesday afternoon, these coaches were going over last-minute tweaking for the mega 48-team seedings in the boys division.
On hand to give seeding coordinator Bob Ellis, the five PISD coaches as well as Pearland head coach Steve Buckelew as much help as possible for Wednesday’s meeting was Rick Shirley, the director of the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches (TABC).

With a pretty good pulse on the high school basketball scene, Shirley, the former longtime Alief Hastings head coach, provided what input he could in assisting with that tweaking.

“This is one of the best (tournaments) in the state,” Shirley said after the meeting. “I know the one in San Antonio and this one are two of the top ones as far as size, getting teams from all over the state and providing good gyms to play in.”

But the McDonald’s Texas Invitational has become such a key player on the state and national tournament stage that it has set the groundwork for other tournaments.

“I’ve been to both tournaments and they’re modeling after you’all’s,” Shirley said. “This is the kind of tournament everybody would like to have in their area. It’s been very good for Pasadena. I always enjoy coming to watch the teams in their tournament.”

Shirley says the only trouble with tournaments of this size is deciding which games to go see. With so many strong squads parading around, it’s a case of pick a gym and go grab a seat.

And a seat is just what Shirley will be grabbing when another edition of the 80-team tournament arrives Nov. 20-22.



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