The planned venue has changed, but the goal of re-establishing the Dru Joyce Classic as a premier U.S. travel basketball tournament remains the same.
On Thursday, dates and new sites for the 17th year of the event were announced by the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
Competition for boys from second to 11th grades and eighth-grade girls will be held June 25-27 at over 20 courts at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse and the Huntington Convention Center.
The classic was canceled by the pandemic in 2020, when it was set to be staged at the now-closed International Exposition Center in Cleveland.
“The year 2020 will go down in infamy, but we are excited about continuing our partnership with the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and the Cleveland Cavaliers to bring the Dru Joyce Classic to new venues in the heart of downtown Cleveland,” Dru Joyce II, boys coach at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School and tournament director of the Northeast Ohio Basketball Association, said in a statement.
Expected to lure college coaches from across the nation, competition will be held for age group championships. The event is expected to generate an estimated economic impact of $2 million for Northeast Ohio, the press release said.
Joyce launched the tournament in the summer of 2003 to help the recruitment of Ohio athletes. Coaching future NBA superstar LeBron James and his son Dru Joyce III, who went on to play at the University of Akron and 12 seasons in Europe, the elder Joyce wanted a sanctioned travel tournament in the Buckeye State that college coaches could attend.
Initially named the King James Shooting Stars Classic, it had 318 teams playing at over 30 sites in its first year.
“When our event in Akron was at its highest in 2016, we had 630 teams, 27 states, Canada and Belize,” Joyce said at a press conference in February, 2020 when the partnership with the Cavs was announced. “We’re hoping that we can get back to that number.”
Registration is open online at neobasketball.com and qualifying is not required. More information and a schedule of events will soon be available at drujoyceclassic.com.
Local and state health officials will be frequently consulted on COVID-19 safety protocols.
“We’ve been committed to building a culture of experience, competitiveness and safe basketball,” Devin Joyce, CEO of Passion8 Event Management, LLC said in a statement. “Cleveland has a strong lineup of sporting events coming to the city over the next few years such as the just-completed 2021 NFL Draft, 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend and 2024 Women’s Final Four. I’m excited this event is one of them.”
Marla Ridenour can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MRidenourABJ.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.beaconjournal.com/story/sports/2021/05/06/dru-joyce-classic-expected-draw-travel-teams-around-nation/4970298001/