Delmarva will host the Amateur Athletic Union’s 8 and under basketball championship next week at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center in Salisbury. James Simmons is the assistant tourism manager for Wicomico County Recreation, Parks, and Tourism. In the lead-up to the tournament, Simmons provides some insight on the event:
Pencek: What is the overall range for this tournament?
Simmons: We have about 24 – 30 teams from all over the country that are qualifying to come here to Salisbury and we are really hoping to get this one under our belts and then we can grow into other age groups larger events and really make an impact on the community similar to what the softball world series does.
Pencek: Were you able to learn from the AAU’s side what was the appeal with choice of Salisbury?
Simmons: One of the things we really harp on when we go after events to bring here whether it’s this one or anything is we’ve got a really centralized pool to a lot of major cities. We are pretty much two and a half hours from a huge percentage of the U.S. population. Being within a quiet area but close enough to a resort town like Ocean City with all that it has to offer. Add to that all that is in Wicomico County, it was a great venue for what they were looking for to host the tournament. We also handle all the housing for the AAU. There is a lot of coordination that goes into to make this a great experience for the participants.
Pencek: Those participants are fairly young. Is there a track record of those who participate in this event and where they end up in a few years?
Simmons: It’s hard to tell with this division because it has not been around very long. This is the youngest age the AAU has. As far as neat things to look out for during this event, former Maryland Terrapin and NBA player Juan Dixon, his son will be in the event. Also Bino Ranson who is an assistant at Maryland, his son is on the same team.
Pencek: Looping back to a point you made. Depending of the level of success of this event, will it open the door to high level of competition?
Simmons: We’ve never hosted an AAU National Championship. This is our first one and we are really looking to do this one well. We want to exceed their expectations and if we do that we are definitely going to continue to look into growing that base. It could be an older age or a girls division.