State Gym hosts intramural basketball tournament in honor of MLK Day

Emily Hejlik

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, State Gym put on a 3-on-3, single-elimination basketball tournament Monday.

The purpose of the tournament, said tournament director Nathan Pick, is to train officials, plus offer students an opportunity to showcase their skills.

“Last year was the first year we put on the MLK tournament, but it will become an annual thing,” Pick said. “Myself and Russ Jones are a tag team. I am in charge of the tournament, and Russ is in charge of the officials.”

The training segment for officials is used to brush up on the basics — rules, signals and mechanics.

“Calling fouls and violations are the biggest thing an official needs to learn,” said Greg Uhrich, first-year graduate student in architecture. “Learning how to share zones with refs is important as well. Since there are only two officials in intramurals compared to three in high school, making the guy you’re working with look good is what it’s all about.”

Teams were self-coached, with three to four players per team.

Matt Lundquist, junior in animal science, participated in a championship game of the MLK tournament last year.

“Our team name is the Ballers,” Lundquist said. “The games are played on one half of the court, so the speed of the game is fast.”

Lundquist was the point guard for his team and proved to be the “assist man.”

“I enjoy setting up my teammates more than I enjoy scoring,” Lundquist said.

The tournament was comprised of 84 teams split into 11 different brackets. Games were 10 minutes long with a running clock and no halftime.

While the MLK tournament is an intramural event, players take the games very seriously, even though the prize for winning may seem small.

“The prize for winning is just a T-shirt, but guys play like it’s for a state championship,” Uhrich said. “It’s a fun atmosphere to be around.”

The tournament crowned 11 champions. At press time, the tournament had not yet finished.