BASKETBALL: Danny R. Wright Basketball Tournament returns with a few changes

The Danny R. Wright Juneteenth Basketball Tournament returns for its 44th edition and this year, there will be a few changes.

For one, the tournament is expected to take place at the Permian Fieldhouse instead of the Woodson Boys and Girls Club.

However, the main difference will be the tournament’s focus on the youth.

In the past, the Danny R. Wright Juneteenth Basketball Tournament would feature mostly ex-players from the Permian Basin with some current high school and college players taking part.

However, this year, it’ll be for players age 8 to 17 years and feature boys and girls divisions.

“We’re changing flavors a little bit,” Wright said. “We have some things in the works. We’re bridging the gap. This particular tournament, instead of doing a men’s adult tournament, we have high school girls, high school boys, grade school girls, grade school boys and elementary girls and elementary boys. The Danny R. Wright tournament focus this year is on our youth and highlight them during the celebration.”

The tournament will start at 10 a.m. Saturday and conclude the following day with all the games taking place at Permian Fieldhouse.

The event is part of the Black Cultural Council of Odessa’s Juneteenth Celebration.

In the past, the tournament has taken place at different gyms in Odessa including the Woodson Boys and Girls Club as well as Odessa College Sports Center.

“We’re going to have it at Permian,” Wright said. “You have more seating and it’s more comfortable. I’m excited for it. My heart’s always been with kids. It’s always been. I like seeing that light coming on and it’s fun for them to develop their confidence.”

Wright said that this year’s tournament will also feature some teams from outside the Odessa-Midland area.

It’s about relaxing and having a lot of fun,” Wright said. “We have some teams that travel we have a Permian group We have a good group from Presidio and a team from the San Angelo area and Monahans as well as Midland and Odessa. Just kids around the Permian Basin and West Texas area that are getting a chance to come in and play. I normally refereed all the games but hopefully, I don’t have to ref all the games. The kids get to play on the fieldhouse gym where they normally get to watch the high school kids play on Friday nights during the season. That’s a big thrill. A lot of coaches get to tell their kids that they get to play on the field house court.”

With the change in this year’s tournament, Wright is hopeful that this year’s tournament can help play a part in developing talent in youth basketball players from around the Permian Basin.

“There are a lot of AAU basketball going on and our goal is to engage,” Wright said. A lot of kids in the area play travel ball and we figured we can help them continue to play and develop and do it here without it being so expensive.”

About 30 teams are expected to compete this year.

“No matter how it turns out this year, it’ll be better next year and the year after,” Wright said.