Jack Jones Shootout Returns to Memphis

By Bill Dries

Four of the five players in the 2013 recruiting class of the University of Memphis basketball team will be featured in the annual Jack Jones Basketball Shootout that begins Thursday, March 21, and continues through Saturday, March 23.

Markel Crawford, Nick King, Austin Nichols and RaShawn “Pookie” Powell will play for the Memphis team in the Friday shootout game at Memphis University School at 7:30 p.m.

Jack Jones Shootout

Jack Jones Shootout Game
, 7:30 p.m. tipoff, MUS, 6191 Park Ave.

Kids Camp
, 9am -noon, Street Ministries, 430 Vance Ave.
Kids Games, 1-4 p.m., FedExForum
Dinner on Beale Street, 4-6 p.m.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Boston Celtics, 7 p.m. tipoff, FedExForum


The shootout game is the day after the current Tigers open in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

A full schedule of the events and other information about the players is at www.jackjonesshootout.com.

The Memphis team in the shootout goes against a National team that will include University of Tennessee signee Robert Hubbs III and Benas Griciunas, who has committed to Auburn.

The shootout, which returns to Memphis after two years in Miami, is the idea of Jack Jones, the publisher of The Daily News for 34 years and part of the family that has owned and operated the newspaper for more than 125 years, and Miami Heat guard Mike Miller. The set of events benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and other charities goes back to Miller’s days playing for the Memphis Grizzlies where Jones is a constant courtside presence.

The goal is not only to raise money for charities but to also get younger basketball players on the court with the college players and play a game among themselves at FedExForum.

The kids games at FedExForum are Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. followed by a dinner on Beale Street and then seats to watch the Grizzlies and the Boston Celtics play on the same court the children played on earlier in the day.

“The kids are going to be able to get out there and play,” said Ernie Kuyper, who organizes the annual event now in its fourth year. “The little kids get an opportunity to play in the big house.”

The shootout also supports and makes donations to elementary, middle and high school athletic programs.

The basketball event begins Thursday with a practice at Memphis University School and a player dinner party hosted by Miller.

The action on the court begins Friday at MUS, after a tour of St. Jude, with a shootaround, a 3-point shooting contest and a dunk contest before the Jack Jones Shootout Game at 7:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, the schedule of seven youth games begin Friday at 5 p.m. in the old and new gyms at MUS.

The youth games continue Saturday morning at Street Ministries, 430 Vance Ave. with a children’s camp from 9 a.m. to 9:45 a.m. at the Vance location that will be led by the Jack Jones Shootout All-Stars.

“I hope that this event will emphasize how basketball can provide opportunities to continue education for those who take part,” Jones said. “I believe strongly in the importance of education. The time I spent at Vanderbilt University and the law school at the University of Virginia helped me to understand the many opportunities that education can provide.”

Jones was inducted into the Memphis Sports Hall of Fame in September.

Kuyper echoed his sentiments about the goal of the event beyond raising money for St. Jude and other charities.

“You just hope they have a great experience, something that keeps the children involved in an activity. You just want to positively change their lives to keep them going down the right direction,” he said of the goals of the event. “At the end of the day, we just hope the children are positively directed toward extracurricular activities. It would be great if it was basketball. But we just want to keep them from the streets ultimately.”

And Kuyper said the involvement of high school players about to become college players and their exposure to shootout “All Stars” who are now pros is also about educating the players making the transition to college.

“We’re hoping to teach them about giving back through the camps because they’ve been blessed,” Kuyper said. “We’re hoping to instill in them how to give back like the pros do.”