New Castle News

Sports

June 2, 2012

Hoop Dream: Union grad organizes tourney to restore court

NEW CASTLE — Jordon Rooney just wanted some new hoops.

At this rate, he’s going to be contributing much more to the Union Township community.

Rooney, a 2008 Union High graduate, grew up playing basketball on the outdoor court at Scotland Meadows Park. Through the years, he witnessed its condition worsen.

So, he decided to do something to raise funds to help restore it — organize a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at the same location.

Now in its third year, the Pizza Joe’s Community Pride 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament has raised approximately $4,000 for upgrades of the facility. This year’s event is slated for June 16. Registration is at 11 a.m. and games begin at noon and run into the night.

“One big thing about this, it’s giving something for Union to take pride in. No one has a court like this. It’s the only one around with lights, too,” Rooney said. “I take pride in where I am from. It feels great for people to have something to take pride in as well.”

Rooney, who graduated from Westminster last month, played football, basketball and baseball at Union. He played football during his four years at Westminster, but took time out to help coach football and basketball at Union, too. He remains committed to helping out the community.

“Doing this is pretty difficult,” he said. “I’d go to class and then rush back and try to meet with a business to try to get a sponsorship. What’s really helped out is being on Facebook, talking to many people about this. It’s enabled me to get a lot of people involved. I am able to network and talk to these people. I really take pride in making this a big event.”

In addition to a Facebook event page, a website exists (www.communitypridebball.com) and Rooney spends time making personal visits to area basketball courts to help spread the word.

It’s a winning formula. The event has grown and attracted some of the top basketball players — and athletes — from Lawrence and Beaver counties, as well as Ohio and the Pittsburgh area, to compete in the various age groups.

“There are not really many tournaments around like this,” Rooney said. “It’s a pretty cool environment and shows how different streetball is from organized basketball.”

Last year’s event drew 45 teams from mainly western Pa. and eastern Ohio. One of the highlights of the day is a slam dunk competition.

“I didn’t think it’d get this big. I didn’t have any expectations; I just wanted to see if we could get some new hoops,” Rooney said. “Now, it’s turned into something people are looking forward to and drawing some of the best talent around. People have told me they’ve been practicing for a while for this.”

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