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.