Press Conference Narratives and Quotes
Mary Haskins: “Our family is proud to be a part of this tournament. Coach Haskins would be honored to have his name associated with such an important effort- as supporting the youth of El Paso. Brent and I think this community event is a wonderful thing being put together.”
Brent Haskins:“My dad was in the business of helping young people, just like YMCA. As a Westside YMCA board member, the time and thoughts that go into sports and programs is tremendous. This is a tournament, and I hope to see some of my dad’s coaching acquaintances looking at the fine talent we have locally. Joseph told me the finest teams locally will be competing, and much effort will go into recruiting out of town teams. I’m excited about this event and its potential economic-impact on the El Paso community.”
Daniel Padilla: “As mentioned earlier the tournament will take place May 13th to 15th. We have some local “play-in” games on May 12th, in heavy divisions. The tournament format will be pool play, single elimination, with a 3-Game Guarantee. National High School Federation rules will be in effect for all 20 divisions. Joseph and I are contacting colleges throughout the country to attend this event and showcase the wealth of talent in the area. Make no mistake this will become the “Southwest’s Most Important Basketball Tournament.” Coach Haskins legacy will live on.
Joseph Welsh: “It is a great day for the youth of El Paso. My name is Joseph Welsh. I am the Chairman of the Programs Committee for the YMCA of El Paso. I also am the President of the El Paso Heat Basketball Club. In addition to those duties, I am the proud Chairman of the inaugural Don Haskins Memorial Youth Basketball Tournament.
Last November, Mary and Brent Haskins with Daniel Padilla, began a conversation about a basketball tournament to honor Coach Haskins, who we all loved. Daniel notified me, and after a meeting or two, the Don Haskins Memorial was born.
Coach Haskins, as you are aware, was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997 and into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. He was the first major college coach to start five African American players in a championship game against an all-white Kentucky squad, coached by Adolph Rupp. That action was directly credited with setting in motion the desegregation of college basketball. Coach later said that he just wanted his best five players on the game. Coach Haskins was a legend, an icon, a father, grandfather and mentor to many: His legacy will live on.
In addition to honoring Coach Don Haskins we hope to accomplish many great goals with this tournament.
First- this is non-profit tournament. All proceeds from the tournament will go directly into youth sports and after school programs to be administered by the YMCA of El Paso. The kids of El Paso will own this tournament. They get the money. The YMCA in association with area school districts has operated after school sports programs for some time now, and with the impact of our tough economy more and more pressure has been placed on the household budget. With these factors, the YMCA hopes to help and support more children with these programs.
The El Paso area is loaded with basketball talent, however, much of our talent goes unnoticed, not recruited, and eventually “dies on the vine” because we cannot get the word out about this talent. I personally am committed to getting our boys and girls the credit and recognition they deserve. We need more El Paso kids going to college on scholarship. This tournament and our strategy will accomplish this. We will engage several hundred college programs as part of this effort, and feature prospective area recruits and “up and comers” on our website, and next year hopefully have a budget that will allows us to offer incentive packages for those colleges choosing to attend.
College recruiting has become complicated. Many rules to follow, ever shrinking college budgets, and once again the expense to a prospects family budget can further make it tough for a young man or lady to get “on the radar screen of college recruiters.
Have any of you ever heard of Isaac Tovar? Mikey Castillo? Dalton Peterson? Bryan Hinojos? What about Joshua Alexandar, Kaleb Gutierrez, Michael Corbin Jr., or Adam Tauvizon? The is probably no, and no one ever will. How abut Enrique Alcoreza? Mia Cooney? Valerie Barriga? Carisia Gutierrez? Daniel and Carlos Hernandez? Tournaments like ours help get the word out in addition to prospect caps, competent AAU coaches, and recruiting services. As a basketball community, we can no longer wait to get our kids the exposure they deserve… we have to get the colleges to come here. You will be hearing about all these fine young players and many more during the tournament. These, and many others, will be featured on the tournament website, along with a well known prospect, Daniel Gutierrez Jr., also known as “Danny G. or Speedy.” Daniel is a freshman at Coronado High School, and will be attending at least there Invite-only camps this summer. He is a Division I prospect now. These are just a few. We have to help them, and the Haskins Tournament will do just that.
We have secured in excess of forty gymnasiums in the El Paso area to accommodate up to 320 teams this year. We hope to fill up the tournament. It is low cost, local, and once again El Paso will own this tournament. We anticipate teams from El Paso, Juarez-Mexico, New Mexico, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and others states. We are even extending a hand to teams for Lexington, Kentucky…read into that what you want. It would be a big thing to be the first winner of the Don Haskins Memorial Tournament. Our marketing plan for year two will include an AAU Super Regional, which will attract teams throughout the United States, as well as offering a “classic” format for those not in AAU. Every level of team will be served.
The tournament will have an economic impact on the community as well. We will put families in hotels, fill up the restaurants, and hopefully have a boost in retail sales for our many small businesses. El Paso is wonderful community and we must showcase it when we can, the Don Haskins Memorial will do just that. We hope to continue building area partnership in the future and make this tournament the Gold Standard of its kind.
This will also be a large mobilization of volunteers to staff and event of this magnitude. We will be working with Fort Bliss, local schools, National Honor Society, and just plain old volunteers. This is your chance to get involved in your community, support our youth, and demonstrate your community pride. Anyone interested in being tournament volunteer should call the Don Haskins Memorial number or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We need volunteers of all sorts. Come join us.
Lastly, tournaments like this need sponsors. We will engage and include sponsors, donors, advertisers, etc. of all sizes. We will have some marquee sponsors—no doubt, but will offer low cost ads for all business size and budgets. This will be any opportunity for big guys and little guys that help serve and generate tax dollars for our community, and get their name out in the public at an affordable price.
We’ve only just begun the work, but I would like to thank a few people now… on behalf of Daniel and myself: Kevin, Bruce and James Lemaster (Chairman of YMCA of El Paso) for their support and dedication to the project, as all the YMCA staff and directors, Bernard Felsen at Scott & Hulse for his time, effort, and guidance, Dr. Lorenzo Garcia, Ken Owen, and the trustees of EPISD for their support and encouragement. John Bauer and staff at PDX Printing, Philip Partridge at Thunderbird Digital, the Barnes family and Jenny Carrillo at CWI Hosting, Brian kanoff Photography and others.
A special “Thank you” to Mary and Brent Haskins for their support in doing this project and the opportunity to help the youth of El Paso.”