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Brad Ernst

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The Texas Basketball Championships isn’t receiving quite the fanfare as the 7-on-7 football championships currently do, but TBC board President Kevin Starnes is happy with the way the tournament turned out in its inaugural year.

The TBC was formed this year, giving high school basketball teams a chance to play together during the offseason in the same manner 7-on-7 provides that opportunity for football. Seven girls teams competed in a tournament setting, while 28 boys teams were split into two divisions for the inaugural tournament. While it didn’t go off without a hitch, the tournament received mostly positive reviews from players, coaches and parents.

“I thought it was ran exceptionally well,” Rider coach Cliff McGuire said. “The guys who put it together did a great job of organizing. It was good to see a bunch of high school teams out there competing.

“We’re going to have to make some adjustments obviously since it’s the first year, but I thought it went very well.”

One of the main adjustments is finding a way to attract more teams to the state tournament. Starnes hopes that could be as simple as moving next year’s tournament up a month to the end of June.

Eighty teams had qualified for the inaugural TBC, but more than half of them chose not to attend the tournament. The general consensus is many families are planning vacations for the end of July, trying to get away one last time before high school athletes start preparing for football and school in August.

“We were kind of stuck with this date in July because it was one of only two (NCAA evaluation) periods in the month,” said Starnes, who is the head boys basketball coach at Grapevine High. “The other period was on the same date as 7-on-7 and we weren’t going to do that.

“June seems to make more sense. Our biggest priority is getting more teams to the tournament and we think having it at the end of June will open the door for more teams.”

McGuire also makes a point that July seems to be the month most athletes take a break from their high school sports commitments.

“In June, that’s your summer league time. You usually have your kids together and team camps are always in June,” McGuire said. “You get into July and coaches back off. June will be a better time I believe. It’s a time you’re already playing together. Also, you don’t have to fight some of those bigger AAU tournaments.”

The TBC website also mentions the possibility of changing locations in the future, but after a meeting with coaches, the Dallas-Fort Worth area is likely to still hold the tournament. The city of Grapevine made a favorable deal with the tournament, according to Starnes, and DFW is a better option for West Texas and Panhandle schools than Houston, San Antonio or Austin.

Wherever the next TBC is held, the future of the tournament looks bright.

“I was very pleased with how it went for our first time,” Starnes said. “We got a lot of positive reaction from coaches, players and parents. We want to expand it and make it bigger and I think that’s something we can achieve.”

Follow Jonathan Hull on Twitter: @Hull_TRN

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