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Keenan to host memorial basketball tournament

Observer Staff Report | Friday, April 8, 2011

Keenan Hall will host a two-on-two basketball tournament for members of the dorm Saturday in honor of sophomore Sean Valero, who died last week.

Sophomores Ryan Dunbar, Gabe de Vela, Stephen Schwaner and Preston Scott founded the Keenan Shootout as a charity tournament this year.

“After losing Sean, who was close to all of Keenan but especially my roommates and myself, we wanted to do something in memory of him,” Dunbar said. “This year the tournament will be dedicated to Sean, and the money raised will go toward a memorial for him.”

Originally, the Shootout was planned to benefit a charity, selected by all of the fundraiser’s participants. After Valero’s death, Dunbar and the other organizers added a memorial to their friend as an option for the donations. Residents of Keenan voted to decide where the money would be donated, Dunbar said. They chose between four charities and a memorial for Valero.

“After holding registration, almost all voted for the money to go toward a memorial for Sean,” Dunbar said. “To hear the guys say over and over that they wanted the tournament to donate to the memorial spoke volumes about the types of guys here at Notre Dame and the sense of community really present in the dorm life at Keenan.  As close friends of Sean, it means a lot to us.”

Dunbar said while this is the inaugural Shootout, the organizers hope it will expand in the years to come.

“We are hoping to make [the Shootout] an annual tradition in Keenan Hall,” he said. “This is the first year, and we wanted to limit the entries to Keenan men only as we use this year to test the waters and see where we can make improvements in the upcoming years.”

Commemorating Sean’s life through the tournament this year is important to Valero’s friends in Keenan, Dunbar said.

“He truly was an amazing guy and the nicest person I’ve ever met,” Dunbar said. “I know those of us putting on the tournament are very pleased to be able to incorporate the tournament this year to help remember a great person.”

Games will be held all day Saturday behind Keenan Hall.