With summer workouts already underway for many of the area high school programs, basketball reigns supreme over the next three days at Laney High School as the Fifth Annual Fred Lynch Invitational tips off in Buctown from June 20-22.
“We have another talented field of teams coming from all over the southeast and country this year,” said Laney Boys’ Basketball Coach Nathan Faulk. “It’s going to be a good three days. We’ve had good people helping with the tournament over the last five years. The school and administration has supported it and we’re really blessed to be able to hold this event each summer.”
Some 60 teams are scheduled to compete this year at six different venues, including Michael Jordan Gymnasium, Northside Baptist Church, Trask High School, Holly Shelter Middle School, Trask Middle School and Wilmington Basketball Center.
Teams from across North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Chicago will help bring a national feel to this year’s event.
“We have a lot of regional and national flavor at this year’s invite, which I think is one of our biggest accomplishments,” Faulk added. “It’s about getting a good number of teams here, but I think the quality of the teams that come each year is what keeps coaches interested in the tournament.”
Coming off last year’s memorable invite, when the popular Jordan Brand made a splash by giving Michael Jordan Gymnasium on the Laney campus a much needed face-lift thanks to the brand and athlete for which the gym is named, the internationally known brand will be back in town for this year’s tournament to help give athletes a one-of-a-kind experience.
Jordan Brand and Jumpman are owned by Nike to promote its Michael Jordan-related merchandise, including the well-known Air Jordan brand of basketball shoes.
“Jordan Brand will have their foot print here again this year, but they won’t be as nearly as involved as it was last season,” Faulk said. “Helping with the renovation last year of Michael Jordan Gymnasium and all they did to celebrate Jumpman’s 30th anniversary was big. But, they’ll be here again this year.”
Among some of the top level competition scheduled to be at this year’s tournament will be 4A perennial power Garner, the 2015-16 4A Regional runner-up. Last year’s Fred Lynch Invitational winner Harrells Christian will also be in attendance along with Mt. Zion Christian Academy in Durham and Normal Community West High School from Normal, Illinois.
“Anything to enhance the tournament, we try to do it,” said Faulk. “We’ve had coaches come in and speak. This year we’ll have our breakfast club each morning to give kids the chance to train each morning with specialized trainers prior to games. We try to do a lot of different things and that’s what entices the kids and teams to come back.”
The invite held annually in late June is named in honor for Laney Athletics Director and former longtime coach Fred Lynch, who spent 26 years as head of the Buccaneers program.
Games will start each day at 9 a.m. and run until about 9 p.m., with championship games slated to start around 3 p.m on Wednesday at Laney. Admission each day will be $6 for anyone ages nine and up.
Click here for a complete game schedule for the Fifth Annual Fred Lynch Invitational.