If you’re a serious hoops fan, you know all about Bigfoot Hoops’ The Eight Tournament. With some of the biggest stars in basketball in the building and some of the best high school recruits squaring off in Las Vegas, you know it’s got to be appointment viewing, and this year may have been the best one yet. Check out the highlights below:
We’re always looking at fresh kicks. At one of the nation’s premier basketball tournaments, we just couldn’t help ourselves. Here are some of the sneakers that caught our eye at Bigfoot Hoops’ Las Vegas Classic last week. Did your shoes make the cut?
Names: Kobe and MacKenzie
Hometown: Las Vegas
Kobe’s Shoes (right): “I bought these shoes because my mom said they were ugly and I liked them, so I killed two birds with one stone.”
MacKenzie’s Shoes (left): “I love Nike shoes, and everything Nike, but I also have a lot of respect for Kyrie Irving, so I knew these were a must-have.”
Team: A.C.S. Houston
Shoe Game: Savion is a huge fan of Jordans, so he broke out his Space Jam 11s for Bigfoot Hoops. He says Michael Jordan is his favorite player and he owns 48 pairs of Jordans.
Shoe Game: King considers himself a shoe collector, and he said his favorite shoes are Jordans. He switched it up and wore these fresh Nikes to Bigfoot Hoops “because they’re dope.”
Team: Seattle Rotary
Shoe Game: Fred love Nike shoes – and specifically Kobe Bryant’s signature shoes. For Bigfoot Hoops, he broke out a pair of Kobes with some Nike socks to match.
Hometown: Las Vegas
Shoe Game: Diontae’s favorite shoe is the Jordan Retro 12. He bought the Master 12s to add to his collection, because he owns almost all of the Jordan Retro 12s.
It’s time to turn up the heat in Las Vegas. Bigfoot Hoops’ Las Vegas Classic is back, and it’s bigger and better than ever before. The biggest of all the Bigfoot Hoops tournaments is taking things to another level with a record-breaking 1,252 teams playing 3,046 games on 64 courts this year.
The numbers are mind-blowing and the Bigfoot Hoops team has spent countless hours putting it all together. After all of that planning, Hal Pastner, founder of Bigfoot Hoops, said it best: “It’s about time to have some fun and play ball.”
Here are 5 things to watch at Bigfoot Hoops.
1. The Sheer Size Of The Event
This is the big one! With this many teams and players, there is so much to see. Bigfoot Hoops offers something for everyone with brackets ranging from some of the top high school talent in the nation all the way down to third graders. Having so many hoopers in one tournament creates a special atmosphere that can’t be beat.
“If you would have told me years ago that we would have this many teams, this many players, this many college coaches… I wouldn’t have believed you. No way. We pulled it off, though. We’re like a team in the fourth quarter – we’re never going to stop pushing,” Pastner said.
2. Celebrities And Pros
It’s no secret that Bigfoot Hoops brings out some of the biggest names in the game. Shaq, Melo, Cp3, and Bradley Beal will all be watching and coaching their teams, while other pros typically show up to watch some of the nation’s top young talent.
Russell Westbrook, Michael Jordan, and other pro athletes have made appearances in past years at Hal Pastner’s tournaments. You never know who you might see at Bigfoot Hoops. And that doesn’t even count all of the top high school players, who could become household names in the coming years.
“It’s an event,” Pastner said. “It’s more than just basketball. It really has become a must-see event.”
3. College Coaches
The Las Vegas Classic is held during the final week of the live summer recruiting period, which means major college coaches from all over the nation will head to Las Vegas to evaluate players. While college coaches are working to fill out their rosters for the upcoming season, the players are working to leave a lasting impression before the live recruiting period ends.
“I would say that we’ll have more college coaches than ever,” Pastner said. “The coaches love coming out to see the players, and the players love getting to play in front of the coaches, so that’s really important to us.”
4. It’s Gone Global
The game of basketball continues to grow across the globe, and Bigfoot Hoops has embraced international teams with open arms. Teams from China, Argentina, New Zealand, France, Australia, Africa, Germany, and Canada will make the trip just to compete in the Las Vegas Classic.
5. National TV
Couldn’t make it out to Vegas this year? No problem. The8 Bracket, featuring some of the top teams in the country and coached by current and former pro players, will be televised on ESPNU. You won’t want to miss this, so tune in to watch tomorrow’s superstars showcase their skills on a national stage.
Eastbay and Bigfoot Hoops are proud partners, working together to create a brighter future for the basketball community. Eastbay wishes all of the players, athletes, and coaches the best of luck.
The Las Vegas Classic started on July 26 and runs through July 30. For more information on the tournament or Bigfoot Hoops, visit bigfoothoops.com.
Bigfoot Hoops tournaments are well known for bringing out the stars. Some of the best high school athletes in the world showcase their skills, making it a must-see event for college coaches who are looking to recruit future players.
“We had hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Division I coaches in our gyms,” said Hal Pastner, who founded and continues to run Bigfoot Hoops.
The college basketball powerhouses like Duke, Kentucky, and North Carolina are all in attendance, as well as smaller mid-major schools, Division II schools, and everything in between. The top prospects get plenty of attention, but there are also a lot of opportunities for underrated players to get noticed and potentially field scholarship offers.
“Coaches come out, and they already know who the highly ranked guys are,” Pastner said. “They say, ‘We’re going to find the sleepers at your events to round out our roster,’ and they get players that are going to help their team win games.”
That’s one of the biggest benefits of Bigfoot Hoops events. They allow coaches to see players and players to be seen by coaches. It’s a win-win for all participants, and a big reason why so many athletes and coaches show up to Bigfoot Hoops events every single year.
“Keep coming out, because we are going to promote to the coaches out there to help these players be seen and get college scholarships,” Pastner said.
It goes deeper than that for Pastner. The tournaments have elite high school athletes who will soon be college stars, but the tournaments also go all the way down to elementary-aged players who are just beginning to learn the game. He wants the events to be fun and beneficial for those kids, so they grow up to love the game just as much as he does.
“I love it,” Pastner said. “There are all these great players, but to me, the little third graders playing are just as important. I want them to have a great experience with us.”
From youth basketball’s biggest stars, all the way down to the youngest players, there is something for everyone at Bigfoot Hoops. The travel basketball season may not be on your mind just yet, but tournaments of this size take a lot of planning. Bigfoot Hoops is already registering teams for their spring events, so head to bigfoothoops.com for more information on how to get signed up.
Every summer, the best youth basketball players in the world gather in Las Vegas to showcase their skills in the Bigfoot Hoops Las Vegas Classic. The biggest stars in attendance aren’t playing, however. They’re coaching or supporting their own teams.
This summer, Chris Paul took home bragging rights after his team, Team CP3, won the main under-17 bracket at the tournament. Paul can boast about his team’s championship to his professional peers, like Carmelo Anthony, whose Team Melo finished fourth in the main bracket.
Those weren’t the only big names involved. Kevin Durant, Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Payton, Kelly Oubre Jr., Jahlil Okafor, and Justise Winslow were all either in attendance or behind the scenes trying to help their respective programs win.
“Athletes are competitive,” said Hal Pastner, the founder of Bigfoot Hoops. “They want to win. It’s just their nature. But they really keep a good balance, and they understand that these are youth athletes. When the pros are out here teaching, coaching, telling their players things, man, do they have the players’ attention. The players love it because they know they are learning from experts.”
Some of the younger players, like Okafor and Winslow, were starring on the summer basketball circuit just a few years ago, before becoming college stars and pros. Now, they’ve returned to Bigfoot Hoops events to help the next generation of future stars.
“I remember Jahlil Okafor and Jabari Parker playing at our events,” Pastner said. “Now they’re helping the teams they used to play for – helping the coaches, the kids, and helping organize – and that’s really cool to see.”
It’s not just younger guys who return to help their respective teams, though. Plenty of former NBA stars can be found on the sidelines at Bigfoot Hoops tournaments.
“Mike Bibby used to play in our event and now he’s here coaching his son,” Pastner said. “It’s amazing. Jason Terry was here coaching on the girls’ side. Kenny Smith comes, and he coaches his son. So many of the pros come back.”
Russell Westbrook showed up. DeMarcus Cousins made an appearance. Pastner said that plenty of pros who aren’t involved with a specific team come out to watch their buddies coach. Back when his sons were playing, Michael Jordan was a regular at Bigfoot Hoops events. Even the occasional non-basketball celebrity, like actor Denzel Washington can be seen. Washington came out and watched for years because he had a family member playing in the tournaments.
Youth basketball has exploded. Current basketball stars, and plenty of basketball fans, flock to Bigfoot Hoops tournaments to watch the stars of tomorrow. Why? Well, that’s simple: People just love the sport. Passion for the game of basketball is unrivaled.
“It’s basketball crazy,” Pastner said. “You’ve got to love it.”