Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament to take place in Norwich this weekend

Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 9:44 PM EDT
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NORWICH, N.Y. (WBNG) - This weekend the Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball tournament returns to Norwich for it’s 25th year.

The Gus Macker 3-on-3 basketball series are tournaments held all over the country from here in New York all the way out to Las Vegas.

It has been going on since 1987 with a total of over 970 tournaments held featuring over 2.2 million players. Both male and female from 7 years old to over 50, with the motto being “anyone can play”.

While it’s now a nation-wide event, it wasn’t always like this. When the tournaments began thirty-five years ago, it was just a neighborhood event in Lowell, Michigan.

“It started in my mom and dad’s driveway when I was in high school. It was March Madness. Final Four was coming up. Spring break, we were tired of playing each other in mom and dad’s driveway, all the kids in the neighborhood. So we threw a dollar in a hat. There was 18 kids, six teams of three,” said founder Scott McNeal a.k.a. “Gus Macker”.

“You could only play 3-on-3 because four was too crowded and two was kind of boring. So it became 3-on-3 and I had a weird nickname so we just named it after my weird nickname Gus Macker. At it’s peak in my mom and dad’s driveway in the middle-80s, there were about 1,100 teams playing all up and down the street. We took a couple hoops, made madeshift courts out in the street and two became ten, became twenty, and at the peak there were 88 courts strung up and down the neighborhood streets.”

Norwich has a special place in that history. This year is the 25th time its been held here after taking two years off because of COVID. Which makes it the second longest running location in the event’s history.

This year there will be over 200 teams with over 850 players. That’s big enough to make it the largest Gus Macker tournament in the state of New York. That player base skews younger as over 70% of the participants are 18 and younger.

“I’m going to say lots of smiles, lot of hugs, lot of fist bumps, a lot of family. Then probably later Saturday early Sunday you’re going to start to see the competition heat up a little bit.. You know some people want to get that big Gus Macker trophy,” said Jamey Mullen the Executive Director of the Norwich YMCA.

“Or one of the other famous trophies they have is called the toilet bowl trophy. But the toilet bowl trophy is for anybody who competed in the tournament that lost their first two games, they play in this toilet bowl game for the toilet bowl trophy. And it’s a way that they were able to guarantee that every team would get three teams during the tournament.”

The tournament gets started on Saturday morning with the opening ceremony at 8:00 a.m. at Norwich High School.

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