Basketball players from all over Saskatchewan and even Alberta will converge on the NationsWEST Field House on the July 22 weekend to compete in the third annual men's open basketball tournament.
The tournament began as an all-Indigenous one six years ago, but in 2015, organizer Daniel Spyglass was convinced by his friends to start an open tournament.
"I had buddies who are non-Native and they kept saying to me, 'Daniel, how come we never have a tournament where everyone can play?'" Spyglass said. "This is my third year having it and I noticed I'm getting competition from all over: Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, P.A. These guys are coming to play and it's open. So that's another good thing. You're not labelling it, where it's just all Native. It's open for everybody to play. Everybody is equal."
In the first year it became an open tournament, eight teams entered.
Last year, there were 14 teams. There was even a women's and youth division last year, which unfortunately couldn't be included this time around.
"This year I had to take them out because I only had so many women's teams... and then all the youth have gone to [North American Indigenous Games]," Spyglass said. "Last year, I had the field house jam packed. It was three courts, all three courts going."
As of Friday, July 14, 12 teams have entered for this year's tournament.
"I was shooting for 14," Spyglass said. "I wanted to shoot high because when you host events, you always want to shoot high."
Aiming high seems to have paid off, as 10 sponsors are also on board.
That, combined with the entry fee, means prizes are significant.
The first place team will win sweaters, a trophy, and over $2,000. The top four teams are guaranteed a prize.
Individual awards will also be handed out for MVP, 'Mr. Hustle', and all-star players.
Plus, there's a 3-point contest, which has been going on since the start.
"The new thing with that is the money got bumped up in [the 3-point contest]," Spyglass said. "With all the entry fees that go into it, they can win a shirt, they win a trophy and then now this year, there's a new thing where there's an $100 bill already there, sponsored."
All games for the tournament will be played under International Basketball Federation rules, with two 20-minute halves.
With just over a week to go, Spyglass said everything is going as planned.
"It's turning out real good," he said. "I've been playing ball my whole life. So I already know a lot of what I've got to do. I've got to say my wife helps me a lot too."
Spyglass added that he wants to thank all 10 sponsors for helping out.
On Twitter: @NathanKanter11
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