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Tournament begins today

Tori Roeck | Thursday, March 29, 2012

Winning Bookstore Basketball, the largest 5-on-5 basketball tournament in the world, earns the victors considerable campus bragging rights. But finishing in the top 10 most creative team names is an equally impressive feat.

Senior Bobby Curley, co-president of Bookstore Basketball, said this year’s honorees include the teams “Parisians in Africa,” “Ball So Hard My Rector Try to Fine Me” and “Deuteronomy 28:5, ‘Blessed Shall Be Your Basket.'”

“The best part of [Bookstore Basketball] in the early rounds is the creativity,” Curley said.

This year’s open bracket features 669 teams, down from last year’s record of 739, Curley said, and play begins today. The women’s bracket has yet to be finalized.

Even though the beginning of the tournament is less serious, Curley said as the field dwindles, students’ competitive natures become apparent.

“In the end rounds, you see how competitive Bookstore Basketball can get,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent out there.”

Curley said showing off students’ talent in the tournament allows for others’ talent to be cultivated. 100 percent of the profits from Bookstore Basketball go to

Jumpball, a charity founded by a Notre Dame alumnus which sponsors free basketball camps for underprivileged children in Jamaica, he said.

“When you’re signing up for a team, you’re signing up for tons of fun and it’s a huge Notre Dame tradition that makes Notre Dame unique,” Curley said, “[B]ut on top of that, you’re making a whole new team possible for kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to play any basketball.”

Curley said he traveled to Jamaica last summer to coach one of Jumpball’s camps.

“They’ve kept a lot of kids out of trouble,” he said, “and the biggest thing is that it gives [the kids] … good role models.”

Curley said students should come out to support Bookstore Basketball both as players and spectators.

“We want a lot of people out there,” he said. “It’s a place to be social, see a lot of people you know and generally have a good time. And in the end rounds, you can see basketball talent that you would see if you paid to go see a game.”

This year’s championship game will be at night to encourage more students to attend, Curley said.  

Sophomore Allison Smith said the social aspect of Bookstore Basketball most appealed to her.

“Last year my sister was a senior, and I went to one of her Bookstore Basketball games,” Smith said. “She dressed up really weirdly, and it looked like a lot of fun.”

Smith said her team, the Invisible Super Ponies, hopes to craft creative outfits involving puffy paint.

“I can play basketball and be stupid at the same time,” she said.  

Junior Aaron Stumpf said tradition is a big factor in Bookstore Basketball’s success.

“It’s an opportunity for the entire Notre Dame community to come together to play a sport they love,” Stumpf said. “And who wouldn’t want to say I played in the largest 5-on-5 outdoor basketball tournament in the world?”

Stumpf said his team, “Fab Can’t Read,” pokes fun at Fab Melo, the center on the Syracuse men’s basketball team who was ineligible for many games this season for academic reasons.

“[We chose our team name] because well, he can’t read,” he said. “And we strongly dislike Syracuse.”

Stumpf also said Jumpball is an appropriate charity to receive the profits of Bookstore Basketball.  

“They teach more than just the dream of making it big as a professional athlete,” he said. “They teach teamwork, discipline and give hope to those less fortunate.”