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Tipoff event opens Bookstore registration

Sam Werner | Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The opening round won’t tip off for weeks, but the Bookstore Basketball season officially began last night with the inaugural Bookstore Basketball Tipoff.

Students participated in two games of Knockout, one game of Hot Spots and witnessed a competition of “Horse” fought among business professor Carl Ackerman, president emeritus Father Edward “Monk” Malloy and former Irish basketball player Tom Timmermans as the participants.

“We found that this might be an interesting way to get people out and not just promote registration, but also through registration comes more money for Jumpball,” Bookstore Basketball Commissioner Laura Wolbeck said.

Bookstore Basketball donates each year’s proceeds to Jumpball, a Jamaican charity that sponsors basketball clinics in underprivileged areas.

“It’s a great charity,” Wolbeck said. “And it promotes self-esteem and confidence in the young kids as well as basketball skills.”

The first event of the night featured two open games of Knockout with a prize of free tournament registration for the winner. Senior Alex Klupchak won the first game, and junior Ryan Hornacek took second place. Klupchak said his team hasn’t decided on a name, while Hornacek’s squad will be called the “Monstars.”

Ackerman, Malloy and Timmermans were up next for a game of “Horse.” Despite several high-difficulty shot attempts, including one attempted off-the-wall header, Ackerman was eliminated first.

“[Malloy and Timmermans] are just fantastic players with a great basketball background and I just came out here to be a part of it,” he said.

Timmermans won the matchup against Malloy by hitting a shot from behind the backboard. Despite the loss, Malloy said he was excited about the upcoming tournament.

“I’ve probably played in more Bookstore tournaments than anybody,” he said. “At least I’m in the top-10.”

Malloy said his favorite Bookstore Basketball memory is from a tournament during his time as president of the University. His team, “All the President’s Men,” was playing a first-round game against a team of his niece and her roommates. After letting his niece steal the ball from him, Malloy said he grabbed her sweatshirt as she sprinted down the court. The picture was printed on the front page of The Observer.

“Nobody knew it was my niece, so it looked like I was mauling some co-ed student,” Malloy said with a laugh.

The final contest of the night was a “Hot Spot” competition fought among about a dozen students for the prize of free tournament registration. Freshman Michael Jackson won the event, draining three straight three-pointers in the final seconds to secure victory.

“I wasn’t even thinking,” Jackson said. “Just look at the basket, shoot the ball and keep going.”

The Tipoff event was hosted by Notre Dame basketball players Zach Hillesland and Ryan Ayers. They are undecided on whether they will participate in this year’s tournament, even though they are eligible as seniors. Hillesland and Ayers said they have enjoyed watching coaches and former players compete in Bookstore games in past years.

“It’s always fun watching the old guys get up and down a little bit,” Ayers said.

Even as a player who has battled Big East heavyweights, Hillesland said he was impressed with the quality of play in the Bookstore Tournament.

“There’s a lot of good talent from what I’ve seen,” he said. “Especially towards the later rounds, the games are really exciting and entertaining.”

Wolbeck said the Tipoff was a success and the Bookstore Basketball organization would try to build on it in upcoming years.