Saturday, April 13, 2024
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Division II High School Tournament Tips Off Thursday

Athletes and spectators headed to Cookeville Thursday for the opening tip of the Division II high school basketball championships.

Tech Athletic Director Mark Wilson said the university is exceptionally proud to host what he calls the greatest private high school basketball in Tennessee. He said the Upper Cumberland is known for great basketball, so more locals are piling into the gym for the event each year.

“Any time we get to showcase our campus, we get to showcase our facilities, we get to showcase the city of Cookeville and Putnam County, it’s a great source of pride,” Wilson said. “So we’re very excited for this and to get people on our campus,  get people in our community, we think that will make them want to come back.”

Wilson said 12 games will be played over three days at the Hooper Eblen Center. The games begin at noon Thursday and Friday, and 11:00am on Championship Saturday. He said hosting the tournament speaks to the great working relationship that the school has with the TSSAA.

“We’re honored to host,” Wilson said. “We’re honored to continue that relationship, and this developed after the BlueCross Bowl Games, they decided to move them. But they are really, really happy here. The teams love playing here, the coaches love being here.”

He said when players take the hardwood in the Hooper Eblen Center and see the purple and gold hanging in the rafters, the event also acts as a recruiting tool. Wilson said more important than the athletes getting a taste of playing on the Tech campus, high school students get a glimpse of what the campus could offer them if they continue to continue their education in Cookeville.

“It’s more about coming to school here than it is being a student-athlete here,” Wilson said. “It’s more about getting an education, looking at Tennessee Tech, seeing that it’s not too far from their hometowns, looking at the beauty of our campus, the beauty of our community, and saying, ‘Yeah, I could see myself here.'”

He said the uptick in tourism the city and county see during the event, the exposure for the school and its campus, and the excellent facilities and staff they provide for the event make Tennessee Tech a great host for one of the TSSAA’s marquee annual events.

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