NBA International adds culture mix to the competitionFriday, February 12, 2010 By Sara Sousani and Eva Mavyan
(May 31, 2001) -- On Tuesday Philadelphia beat the Bulls 9-7 in a heated battle to clinch a spot in the championship NBA International tournament game. Tomorrow the Knicks will face the Magic and the Lakers will go up against the Clippers. The winners of tomorrow’s games will face each other and the victor will play the Bulls in the semifinals next week. The winner will then compete against Philadelphia in the championship game. In 1999, five girls’ teams participated in the International Tournament. Only one girls’ team entered this year, but withdrew due to the lack of participation of other girl teams. Although no girls’ teams were included in the tournament, tournament coordinators said they were optimistic about the outcome of the event. Tournament coordinator Judy Thomsen said, “This is my favorite tournament because there is no dominant team, so the team that wins works together the best.” Unlike the regular NBA tournament, the International tournament teams must have team members consisting of different ethnic backgrounds. Thomsen said the goal in putting together this international tournament was to bring all the races together as one. She has accomplished her goal, according to many students. Sophomore Umair Shahbaz of the Spurs commented, “It’s a great way we can all come together and play a great game of basketball. Even though we are with people we probably don’t know, it’s not that much different than playing with your friends.” As the last tournament of the year, this is the last opportunity for everyone to participate in an event that is open for everyone. “Everyone is having fun out here,” said senior Edgar Abramyan of the Bulls. “We are making friends with competitors that we usually would not have relationships with. This way, you get to focus on teamwork because you need to give every teammate a chance to score and play.” Teams opposing the Bulls in the tournament share a common outlook. Sophomore Shant Apelian of the Raptors said, “The tournament offers good competition and it is a great way to get involved and meet new people of different ethnicities.” Not only were students given the opportunity to meet new people, but they were also rewarded for their efforts. Team members ranking in first place will receive trophies and T-shirts, while the second place team will receive plaques. Even those that do not hold any rank in particular may receive an award because plaques will be given away for sportsmanship. “This tournament has a message,” said Thomsen, and the message is to be a team that works together with great sportsmanship, not just skill. Each game was ten minutes in length. Thomsen and teachers Randy Tiffany, Roger Donahoo and Chris Axelgard refereed the games, which were held during tutorial. The Raptors, last year's champions, consisted of Raymund Samaco, Kyung Yoo, Ara Mahdessian and Rudy El-Khoury. This year, in an attempt to replace teammates who were absent during their game, Raymund Samaco and William Yoo were disqualified from every tournament that will ever be held at Clark. Thomsen said she tried to convey her message that cheating is not the way to succeed by removing the two students. In trying to replace the teammates on the roster, they violated the rules that the tournament was based upon, she said, thus losing their privilege to participate in future sports events.