Tournament honors Valero, raises money for charity
Anna Boarini | Monday, April 16, 2012
Notre Dame and Keenan Hall lost a member of their collective family when junior Sean Valero died last March. But Keenan residents honored his memory by playing in the Sean Valero Memorial Basketball Tournament on April 14.
Juniors Ryan Dunbar, Gabe DeVela, Preston Scott and Stephen Schwaner started the tournament last year as a new event that would benefit charitable organizations. The event also took on the role of commemorating Valero’s life.
“Last year, my roommates and I decided to organize a charity basketball tournament and started to get a list of charities compiled,” Dunbar said. “During that process, Sean died, and so we made one of the options for the guys to donate to a memorial for Sean.”
Dunbar said the overwhelming response from the Keenan community supported contributing the tournament’s earnings to a memorial fund for Valero, whose memory is also commemorated in the hall itself with a large crucifix and plaque on the third floor.
This year, the tournament featured sixteen teams of two Keenan residents each, but Dunbar said participation could be expanded for next year’s tournament.
“Next year, we are passing the tournament on to some new people, and whoever does will be asked what they are looking to improve about the tournament,” Dunbar said. “Maybe expanding it to nearby dorms, or making a co-ed division with Keenan guys and some other girls’ dorms.”
Sophomores Sean Healey and Jeremy Riche won the tournament for the second year in a row. Riche said their team formed out of their existing friendship.
“He was my partner last year and in my section and we were good friends at the time,” Riche said. “So we went along with it [this year], we’re friends and I wanted to play with him.”
Riche said he and Healey originally entered the tournament just for fun. However, he said the tournament’s charitable nature was a reason to participate as well. The duo plans to enter the tournament again next year to defend their championship once again.
“As long as we’re around and as long as the tournament is around, we’ll be entering and looking to win,” he said.
This year, Keenan Hall raised $200 for La Casa de Amistad, a South Bend non-profit organization that strives “to provide the Latino [and] Hispanic community within Michiana by providing educational, cultural and advocacy services in a welcoming bilingual environment,” according to its website.