Osgood Shootout Takes Place for 22nd Year
The Osgood Shootout, a basketball tournament that has been a staple in the New Britain community, was held this past weekend at New Britain High School.
The tournament, which began 22 years ago, started in the summer of 1992 with four individuals – Darwin Shaw, Kyle Anderson, Alberto Reberio and Kevin Crockett. Anderson and Reberio were running a summer basketball league at Osgood Park but seeing potential for a large tournament that would benefit the community, Shaw approached Anderson and Reberio about the possibility of creating one. They worked together that summer and held the Osgood Park Shootout but a year later in 1993, Shaw branched out and began the tournament on his own.
This tournament was called the Charles L. Munford Jr. Tournament. Munford, a 1974 New Britain High School graduate, was a football and basketball captain at the school. He had recently passed away at the time and Shaw wanted to do something to honor his memory. The tournament was held at Osgood Park and in its first year, it had eight teams and one division.
As time went on, the tournament started to get bigger and bigger. The turning point though was when Shaw received word that a professional basketball player would be participating. This player was Jay Edwards, a standout at Indiana University and a then member of the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association. Tharon Mayes, who grew up in New Haven and played for the Philadelphia 76ers, soon followed Edwards and they both began participating on a yearly basis.
With the addition of star power added to the tournament, Shaw soon found themselves with 16 teams. Needing a bigger space, he moved the tournament to New Britain High School in 1999 and re-named it The Osgood Shootout.
Once it moved to the high school and word kept on spreading, more and more professional basketball players began participating. Some notable names over the years include Ray Allen, Andre Drummond, Jared Sullinger, Kemba Walker and many others. This year, Jordan Williams, who played for the Atlanta Hawks and New Jersey Nets, participated. In addition to him, Ray Gomes, who has played for various NBA teams, came to coach as a previous injury held him out of the games.
This year, there were 38 total teams – 22 in the open division, 14 in the Boys’ High School Division and two teams in the Women’s All-Star Game. The all-star game featured former New Britain High School stars Symmone Roberts, Dominique Stellmacher and Cherelle Allen.
Each of these teams had to pay an entry fee but in return, they received uniforms and the opportunity to play against elite competition all over New England. The entry fees, along with other money raised, goes towards overhead expenses such as facility rental, police and security personnel, jerseys, trophies, program booklets, referees and other miscellaneous things. A portion of the money also goes towards scholarships for New Britain High School graduates. The number of scholarships varies each year depending on how much the event raises. In the 22 years of running the tournament, Shaw has given out 51 scholarships.
The two graduates who received scholarships this past year were Marissa Willis and Sumayya Chislum. Willis plans to attend Hampton University in Virginia where she plans to major in Biology and Chislum plans to attend the University of Connecticut, where she will major in Biological Sciences.
Despite the growing amount of expenses each year and the difficulty of securing sponsorships on an annual basis to cover over $13,000 in expenses, Shaw loves every minute of it and doesn’t plan on stopping anytime soon.
“This is my job. You’re not a success to your community unless you come back and do things in your community. That’s my motto,” he said. “I was taught way back that when I returned to New Britain, I needed to do something within my ability for the community. While it does get harder and harder to raise money and get sponsorships, I never give up and always find a way to make things work.”
The major sponsors for this year’s tournament included Stanley Black and Decker, Eblens Clothing and Footwear, ImageInk and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. CPTV Sports will televise all of the final games so be sure to check your local listings for program information as they will run the games throughout the remainder of the summer.