With the Nike Nationals entering its ninth year, Riverview Park activities and facilities supervisor Jeremy Jiunnies can measure the tournament by watching the WNBA Draft.
In April, the Phoenix Mercury selected Brittney Griner with the first pick. Five years earlier, Griner was dunking her way to greatness with the DFW Elite in the Nike Nationals in North Augusta.
“We watched Brittney Griner dunk a basketball,” Jiunnies said. “She wasn’t the first to dunk, but she took it to a new level. It’s pretty neat.”
The Nike Nationals is one of two girls basketball AAU tournaments in the area this weekend. The PeachStateBasketball.com Elite 32 Summer Jam begins its contests Friday at Patriots Park and Christenberry Fieldhouse while the Nike Nationals begin Saturday at Riverview Park Activities Center in North Augusta.
The Elite 32 Summer Jam has two sessions, with the first one running Friday-Saturday and the second running Sunday-Monday. Tickets are $5-10 each day, with games running between 8:30 a.m.-11 p.m.
The Nike Nationals features morning and evening sessions, Saturday-Monday, with the tournament championship starting at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. Tickets are $5-10 per session.
Jiunnies and the staff have had a busy month, with the popular Nike Peach Jam held earlier in July. He said the Nike Nationals will be just as crazy as the Peach Jam. Because the Nike Nationals is a premier event, Jiunnies said he expects more than 300 collegiate coaches to be in attendance – the same number of coaches you would see in the Peach Jam.
The Georgia Metros will add a local flavor.
“This is the who’s who of girls basketball,” Jiunnies said.