On their final day at the Sullivan Basketball Academy Camp, Avery Sutton, Teriq Mallory and Eric Jones are practicing their dribbling, passing and shooting before this weekend’s Hoop It Up Tournament in New Haven.
“I feel happy because I want to win the tournament,” Mallory said.
Mallory is excited to compete in the three-on-three tournament for the first time.
“I can shoot, and I can pass the ball, I’m not a ball hog,” he said.
His teammates Sutton and Jones played last year.
“It was great, here with my buddy here my teammate,” Jones said putting his arm around Sutton, “we had a good time playing.”
More than 300 players make up the more than 110 teams that have signed up so far. Participants will receive t-shirts, bags, water bottles and wrist bands.
Hoop it Up is a basketball tournament hosted by New Haven for ages 8 and up. This year teams from Bridgeport can join New Haven and Hartford in signing up for free.
“It gives you a sense of self confidence, it keeps you engaged with your community with your brothers and sisters, it’s something we all need to have,” said Jason Bartlett, tournament organizer and Youth Services Director in New Haven.
While they will face teams from Connecticut’s other big cities this weekend, over the next two weeks Sutton, Mallory and Jones will be watching Team USA go for the gold in Rio.
“Who is going to be the start for Team USA?” NBC Connecticut asked them.
“KD,” Mallory said, referring to NBA All-Star Kevin Durant.
“I think it’s going to be Kyle Lowry or DeMar DeRozan,” Jones said.
These boys tell NBC Connecticut they have their own basketball dreams.
“To go to the NBA and to be the greatest player, be a point guard,” Sutton said.
“To be the best that I can be, and go to the NBA and play for Team USA,” Mallory said.
There is still time to register for Hoop It Up before the games begin Saturday morning at 9.
Church Street by the New Haven Green will be shut down from 6 a.m. Saturday until 6 p.m. Sunday night as the road is transformed into a dozen basketball courts.