June 27, 2016

Partly sunny

Hoop & Que returns on Saturday and Sunday

MEDINA — Medina’s Ray Mellert Park will be rocking again when the fifth annual Hoop & Que makes its return on Saturday and Sunday.

The community-oriented event features a 4-on-4 basketball tournament, in addition to a best barbeque contest, arts and crafts and live music. Now in its fifth year, the Hoop & Que is the fulfillment of a vision by co-founder Ramon Burnham.

“I grew up at this court,” Burnham said. “My dream was to bring a respectable tournament to Mellert and I believe that’s been accomplished. The past five years have made a lot of memories with more to come.”   In what has become one of the premier hoop tournaments and best organized events of the summer, players from all over Ohio will gather at the city’s west side court eager to claim the $1,500 cash prize awarded to the winning team.

Defending champions, Hate 2 Do It, featuring players such as former Ohio State players Tony Stockman and J.J. Sullinger, look to repeat while dazzling the crowd with rim-rattling dunks and split-second jump shots.

“Of course we’re looking to represent our hometown and court,” said Adrian Stockman, a former Medina basketball player and Hate 2 Do It team member. “We want to defend our title. If the public wants to see a show, tell them to come out to Mellert Park.”

The lone drawback of the tournament is the condition of Mellert’s basketball court, which hasn’t improved much since last year’s event.  “It is what it is,” event co-founder Mantrell Price said of the facility. “It’s not pretty, but it’s a playground. Hopefully the conditions will improve. There have been rumors of it happening, but you know how that goes.”

The slightly tilted and netless rims should not hinder the high-level of competition. The players are expected to rise above the variables in the fashion of true playground ballers.

With the accumulation of former high school and college standouts, in addition to blacktop legends, odds are high that spectators will leave with some jaw-dropping plays to talk about.

The cost to enter is $200 per team, which is non-refundable. Registration is open until 9 a.m. Saturday morning, but a $25 late registration fee will apply. Play begins at noon and each team is guaranteed at least three games.

There is a five-player minimum and seven-player maximum for each team. All participants must bring photo identification in order to play.

Cost for food venders is $200 per booth and $150 for non-food vendors. For more information about the tournament or to participate as a vender, call 330-259-9430.