High School Basketball fans around Augusta can get a taste of March Madness in November when the Augusta Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament tips off this afternoon and continues through Saturday. The fifth annual tournament, sponsored by the 100 Black Men of Augusta, is loaded with one of the best lineups in the tournament's brief history.
Local schools Richmond Academy, Josey, Laney, North Augusta and Glenn Hills as well as Northwest Christian, Newberry, Monroe, Westover and Carver will take part in the two-day tournament.
The tournament, which is being played at the Augusta State University Sports Complex, tips off at 1:30 p.m. today with five games on tap. Laney and Newberry meet in the first contest.
The action then continues on Saturday with five more games beginning at 1 p.m. with Glenn Hills meeting Newberry. Each team in the tournament is guaranteed to play two games.
The proceeds from the event are used to help with the cost of the 100 Black Men's Saturday Academy and Tutorial Programs. The goal of the organization is to prepare and encourage youngsters to attend college.
The 100 Black Men of Augusta was chartered in the Augusta area in March of 1994 with the goal of helping youth become successful adults. The organization is one of the fastest growing in United States.
The organization has a goal to raise the academic level and enhance the total development of students in the 100 Black Men Mentoring Program. The program will include interviews with school officials, parents and members to determine the academic and nonacademic needs of the students. The needs that arise from these activities will be addressed through a series of support programs that draw on the collective resources of our organization. The students will then continue to be exposed to many cultural activities such as concerts, leisure activities and field trips.
The Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament, The Ladies Holiday Classic, The Don A. Brock Golf Classic and The Black Tie Gala are some of the various fund raisers for the 100 Black Men of Augusta.
A Super Bowl Raffle will also be held to benefit the 100 Black Men of Augusta. Tickets are $100 and only 200 tickets will be sold. The winner receives air fare for two to Miami, Fla., hotel accommodations for three nights and tickets to the Super Bowl. The first drawing will be held Dec. 12 with the second drawing held during the Ladies Holiday Basketball Classic on Dec. 18.
Checks can be made to the 100 Black Men of Augusta, Inc. For more information call De Pierce (706) 738-8593, Michael Hicks (706) 854-8632 or Don A. Brock (706) 863-6999.
The field for the 100 Black Men of Augusta Thanksgiving Tournament:
Top players: G Tyrone Hayes (Sr., 6-6, 190); G Cornelius Mitchell (So., 5-11, 160); G Robert Wilson (Sr., 6-5, 190); C Tyreek Ravenell (Jr., 6-7, 205); C William White (So., 6-6, 200).
Summary: The Eagles are preseason No. 1 in Georgia Class AAA by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club and are a major contender for the Class AAA state title this season. Josey is led by senior guard Tyrone Hayes, a Division I prospect, and Mitchell, a sophomore who may be one of the top point guards in the Class of 2001.
Northwest Christian (Miami, Fla.)
Top players: F Fabrice Tie-bi (Jr., 6-8, 235); G Antonio Saunders (Sr., 6-0, 165); F Rodrigue Djahue (Sr., 6-7, 240); F Andrey Arkhipov (Jr., 6-7, 225).
Summary: Northwest Christian has made it the Florida High School state Final Four each of the last two season's. Led by University of Miami signee and forward Rodrigue Djahue, the Eagles boast one of the quickest and biggest teams in the tournament. Of the 15 players on the roster, 10 players are at least 6-feet tall.
Westover (Albany, Ga.)
Top players: G John Davis (Jr., 6-2, 180); F Antwon Savage (Sr., 6-1, 175); C Greg Tinch (So., 6-3, 195).
Summary: The Patriots were the defending Class AAA state champion last season, claiming their fourth Class AAA state championship during this decade. The Patriots are led by sophomore center Greg Tinah, who averaged 17 points and 9.8 rebounds in 31 games last season. Tinah along with Antwon Savage are standout football players also.
Tim Morse covers sports for The Augusta Chronicle and can be reached at (706) 823-3216.