ST. GEORGE — Basketball players in St. George and surrounding areas are invited to take part in the inaugural “Wayne Ott Classic” tournament Nov. 19-20.
The two-day event, which has room for up to 20 teams, will be held at the Nets on Fire facility at 1871 W. Canyon View Drive in St. George.
The tournament is meant to honor the legacy of Wayne Ott, who died in July swimming in the ocean while vacationing with his family in San Diego. The 39-year-old Ott is survived by his wife, Danielle, and their three children.
“Wayne was passionate about basketball and being together with friends,” said Ben Moore, a close friend and business partner of Ott’s.
“One thing he always wanted to do was to put on a cash tournament in St. George at our Nets on Fire facility,” Moore said, adding that Ott had especially enjoyed playing in a similar event in Montana on a few occasions.
“The last time we played up there, our team, with Wayne on it, ended up winning that tournament,” he said.
Back in his teenage years, Ott was a four-year starter for Bryce Valley High School in Tropic, Moore said, describing Ott as a “super heady” point guard who was both a skilled passer and a great shooter.
Moore said that while he expects a number of the tournament’s registrants to be former college players, having such players on a roster doesn’t always guarantee success.
On their way to claiming the Montana tournament title, Moore said, his and Ott’s team ended up beating two or three teams that had a roster full of ex-college players.
“The difference was, we played together every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning,” he said. “We were a bunch of guys that had played together for years. So while we were not as athletically gifted any longer because we’re all advancing in age, we played very well together and played team basketball.”
Moore said a share of the tournament proceeds will be given to Ott’s family.
Organizers are planning to make the Wayne Ott Classic an annual event, Moore added.
“It’s a way to do what he would want to do,” he said. “Bringing guys together to play basketball and celebrate him.”
Registration is $450 per team, with no limit to the number of players who can be on one team’s roster. Both male and female players are welcome to participate, but all players must be at least 18 years old. Games will be played full-court, with 20-minute halves and referees.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three teams in the tournament, with $5,000 going to the winning team, $2,000 to the runners-up and $1,000 for third place, provided that all 20 registration slots are filled. Each team will play at least four games.
In addition, there will be a three-point shooting contest, with a $1,000 cash prize for the winner. The cost to enter that competition is $20 per entry, with a limit of five entries per person.
For more information or to register a team, visit the Nets on Fire website.
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