Got Game? The Gus Macker Tournament comes to Mount Pleasant

3 May

On Saturday and Sunday, Mount Pleasant hosted what has become a nation-wide tradition in many cities over the last 35 years.

The Gus Macker Basketball Tournament was hosted at Central Michigan University outside of the historic Finch Field House.

The tournament was located outside of the historic Finch Field House, with courts surrounding the entire building as well as indoor activities.

“This was a really good location,” said audience member Travis McBride, 18, of Port Huron, Mich. “The layout was perfect and everything was fairly close together.”

The Gus Macker is a three-on-three basketball tournament played using “street rules.” Players call their own fouls and teams can substitute as often or as little as they would like.

“It got pretty intense. Some people got really upset during the closer games,” said McBride.

Over 100 teams of both genders registered for competition and ages ranged from 4-year-old children all the way to a team of 45-year-old men.

“The streets were packed. It was awesome. The atmosphere was really energetic,” said McBride.

Each team was guaranteed to play three games, with the opportunity to play more based on whether the team won.

Kullen Logsdon, 18, of Ann Arbor, Mich. was a participant this year. His team name was The Bombers.

“The tournament was so much fun. I’ve always loved basketball but have never gotten the opportunity to play competitively,” said Logsdon. “I’ve never been involved in anything like this before so I was really pumped.”

Logsdon entered the competition with three of his friends from high school.

“It was really cool to have all the guys back together after a year away at school. It was like old times, playing basketball in our driveways,” said Logsdon.

One of Logsdon’s teammates, Drew Mapley, 19, of Atlanta, Ga. was in Michigan visiting family and entered the tournament.

Games got intense as the day progressed. Pictured, a team fights to the finish to advance to the next round of play.

“I didn’t realize how much I’ve missed playing with these guys until this tournament. It was fun to get back together and do old plays and stuff. We held our own, too,” said Mapley.

The Bombers didn’t win the Gus Macker, but they ended the weekend with four wins.

“We walked away with t-shirts and some consolation medals. I’m not complaining,” said Mapley.

In addition to a lot of basketball going on, the Gus Macker held various activities throughout the day. There was something for everyone.

“I was never bored,” said McBride. “And between games, my friends would hang out in the field house until they had to warm up. It was nice not having to go home all the time.”

The Gus Macker featured a wheelchair basketball tournament, a dunk contest, concessions, a booth to make thank-you cards for the troops, a place to purchase apparel, as well as live music and interviews.

“There was definitely a lot to do. We only went home once and that was just so we could eat. I had fun all day,” Logsdon said.

Games are played to 15 points or 20 minutes- whichever comes first. A team must win by two points, and in the event of a tie, overtime will be played.

“We lost one game in sudden death that we really should have won,” Logsdon said. “We let that one get away from us.”

The Bombers played five games total and got eliminated Sunday afternoon.

Games started early Saturday morning, with The Bombers first game at 8:30 a.m.

“It would have been nice to go all the way,” said Mapley. “But either way, I had a great time with my friends and would definitely come back again.”

The Gus Macker is known for the money it donates to charity from proceeds raised throughout the weekend. The money from this tournament went towards the Central Michigan University Events Center.

“It’s really cool that I could contribute to the events center and I would love to come back to a game or something so I could see what my money went towards,” said Logsdon.

With over 100 teams, 400 participants and roughly 1,000 audience members, the Gus Macker was once again a hit in Mount Pleasant.

“I love basketball, and this is really the only tournament that has national recognition. Plus, it’s all for a good cause,” said Mapley.

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