Top international and collegiate standouts will be among the 12-team, 48-player field on Saturday when the Elite Men’s Prize bracket of the inaugural 360 Hoops Invitational gets underway at DME Sports Academy (2441 Bellevue Ave., Daytona Beach) from 1-4 p.m. International professionals Malik Dunbar, Demitrius Morant and Wilfredo Rodriguez join Division I collegiate stars Samir Doughty (Auburn), Dolan Mahoney (FGCU) and Dmitri Thompson (Elon) among the top competitors, with many on the rosters composed of players from A.C.E. League Orlando, a hotbed of international talent.
360 Hoops is an exciting, inclusive addition to the shape of the game at all levels, incorporating a three-on-three, three-basket, three-team circular court form of the sport. Three teams compete at a time on the 30-foot diameter circular court, which features a single stanchion with three regulation baskets facing away in each direction. Players can score for their teams in any of the three baskets.
“360 hoops has created an innovative way for our children to get active which will help assist in promoting healthier lifestyle choices in the future,” said A.C.E. League Orlando Commissioner Will Lee. “Aspiration Can Empower, or A.C.E., was founded on the simple principle of bringing hope to all who dare to dream bigger. Our mission is to empower our youth to be more than their current circumstances.”
A sampling of the immense talent represented includes:
- Team Win: Ben Colon, Bayamon (P.R.) pro; Josh Shane, Ben Smith, Anthony Brooks
- Bornleader Family: Samir Doughty, Auburn standout, SEC 1st Team; Mike Watkins, Penn State, All-Big 10 Defense; Malik Dunbar, Auburn, pro in Germany, Summer League with Golden State Warriors
- GulfCoast: Dolan Mahoney, FGCU 4-year player; Nick Peacock, Santa Fe College; Mike Gilmore, VCU, FGCU standout; Demitrius Morant, UNLV, FCGU, All-Conference, Defensive POY, pro in Germany
- Grind Brothers: Peter Poulard
- Top Shottas: Romello Bates, Ave Maria Univ. All-Conference; Dmitri Thompson, Elon Univ, among top scorers in school history; Liam Davis, Bethany Coll., 5th in conference in blocks; Wilfredo Rodriguez, Binghamton Univ., pro at Capitanes de Arecibo (P.R.)
- The 14: Zilijan Jones, St. Edwards, Okla. Panhandle State; Darius Vanegas, U. of Maine-Augusta; Zach Pope, Fisher College; Juan Ramon Rivas, Indios de Mayaguez (P.R.) pro
- 4TF: Demetrius Moore, Univ. of West Florida, team’s leading shooter; Rashad Payne; Darius Andrews
- Crosstown: Jon Thompson, Rider Univ., Czech Republic pro; Martell Buie, West Florida; Demario Fountain, East Central Univ.
- TNDO: Kevin Roulhac, Orlando Waves, Jacksonville Giants pro; Tyrnell Murphy, FIU, overseas pro; Chris Williams; Miguel Paul, Missouri, ECU, overseas and Jacksonville Giants pro
- Team Unity: Nelson Bowleg; Deion Fields, Southeastern Univ.; Reggie Baker, Bethune-Cookman, Portugal pro; AJ Davis, Tennessee, UCF, pro overseas
“We are excited that such an amazing array of talented college stars and pros will be competing in our first 360 Hoops Invitational, ” said Shane Brey, Co-Founder, 360 Hoops. “The Elite Men’s and Women’s events will be unbelievable showcases of 360 Hoops’s fast-paced, crowd-pleasing play that has been a huge hit with players and spectators. The TV broadcast will bring that into living rooms across the globe, and we can’t wait to tip off in what will be the culmination of a tremendous week of competition.”
Play at the Invitational began Tuesday and continued through the week, with co-ed elementary age, middle school then high school age boys on girls taking the court. Top former collegiate athletes have their own bracket on Saturday at 9 a.m., followed by Elite Men at 1 p.m. and Elite Ladies at 6 p.m. All events are being conducted under strict COVID-19 protocol, including masks, frequent handwashing, facility access limited to athletes and staff only, daily temperature readings, social distancing and other practices.
360 Hoops Invitational games from the lower brackets are available on archive at the 360 Hoops YouTube channel. The Elite finals will be featured on a tape-delayed national TV broadcast with Emmy-Award winning producer Harry Cicma. Innovative camera angles and technology, including 360 VR, will be incorporated.
The event will be followed by a lively and informative roundtable discussion with high-level basketball minds including Division I coaches which will also be filmed and aired during the television broadcast. Featured panelists scheduled to appear include Howard head coach Kenny Blakeney; Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey; Stetson assistant Brendan Ahearn Suhr; DME Sports Academy co-founder and owner Dan Panaggio; U.S. Army captain and former Augusta State Univ. star Ernesia Wright; Orlando Boom director of player development Mercedes Sirmons; and former Daytona State College and University of Central Florida standout Andrea Ayala.
360 Hoops Invitational event partners include Dynasty Hoops, DME Sports Academy, Orlando Boom, and Ace League.