Since 1980, the Danny R. Wright Basketball Tournament has served as more than just a showcase of local basketball aficionados.
The tournament has been more of a family reunion that brings together former teammates and rivals.
This year, the 38th edition of the tourney will feature plenty of former Permian and Odessa High players, along with a new wave of UTPB alumni and first-time squads.
The two-day tourney begins at 6 p.m. today at the Odessa College Sports Center. Day 2 will start at 9 a.m. Saturday. There will also be a 35-and-older Legends Tournament at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Woodson Boys and Girls Club.
“I think the tournament is kind of like a family reunion,” Wright said. “You get a chance to see a lot of the family members that you haven’t seen in a long time.
“It has a healthy dose of competition. (What) they all have in common is competing in basketball. Just the new blood I think will add quite a bit of excitement to the tournament.”
One notable local who will play in the tournament is 2015 Permian graduate Robert Thomas, who will be a senior at Texas Wesleyan this fall. Thomas averaged 25 points per game for the Panthers during his senior year.
Tori Loud, a defensive back and wide receiver at UTPB, and 2014 Permian grad, will also be competing on the court.
It will be a special Father’s Day weekend for dads in attendance at the tournament. After all the years of playing in the tourney, the fathers can now see their sons play.
“So, it’s kind of a passing of the torch,” Wright said. “Some of those guys who’ve competed for 10, 15 years … they get a chance to now come and sit in the stands and watch their sons compete.
“It’s kind of like a family reunion. We have several of my players that I coached at Permian. We have some strong teams coming back.”
Other notable competitors include the members of Team Unity. On their roster are former Odessa High standout Jamel Guyton, who went on to play at Odessa College and Louisiana Tech.
Also participating in the tournament for Team Unity are Odessa High grad Jorri Brannon and Permian grads Devin Jones, Kobe Robinson and Andre Powell.
UTPB grad Josh Morris along with AJ Maxwell, a volunteer and coach’s assistant at UTPB, will be playing in the tourney.
Grustle, the two-time defending tournament champions, make a return with high hopes of capturing the title.
“I’m excited about it. I think it’s gonna have a little different flavor,” Wright said. “We’ll have some quality players, we’ll have some beginners play, we’ll have some tough men play and we’ve got a lot of guys just kind of find their niche in the tournament.
“The beauty of it to me is watching these guys play as they come up. They’ve come back to their youth, playing with their friends. I always say I got the best seat in the house because I know (the) history behind the kids.”
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