Drawing the Flagrant on Cancer

On March 14, lace up your Jordans and head to the Plex. This year’s eve of the Ides of March means one thing and one thing only—Boston College’s tenth annual Hoops for Hope basketball tournament.

“Our club first started 2004, the first year of the tournament here on campus,” says BC Hoops for Hope president, senior Stephen Phillips. “It’s beautiful to be a part of something that takes on a life of its own. Every year I’ve been at BC, it only seems to grow bigger.”

According to Phillips, all proceeds go to The V Foundation for Cancer Research. “There’s no specific connection with the foundation, just donations,” Phillips simply puts. “The university makes it really easy for us. Using the payment system that BC has set up online, directing our money straight to The V Foundation has never been easier.”

Photo Courtesy of BC Hoops for Hope

Photo Courtesy of BC Hoops for Hope / Facebook

Founded in 1993 by former North Carolina State Men’s basketball coach Jim Valvano, The V Foundation for Cancer Research seeks to eradicate cancer once and for all. Starting with the V Scholar concept in 1994, the research center awarded the brightest young physicians and scientists— investing in their early careers by funding their education. Eight years after Jimmy V lost his own battle to the disease that continues to cripple millions, the Jimmy V Foundation launched its Translational Research Grants. These grants accelerate laboratory findings, exhausting every avenue of Jimmy Valvano’s lasting message: “Don’t give up, don’t ever give up.”

Twenty-plus years later, the rest remains history. The V Foundation awarded over $130 million to well over 120 nationwide facilities since its inception. With 100% of donations going directly to cancer research and related programs, every penny makes a difference.

Supporting one of the most storied cancer research programs in the United States, BC Hoops for Hope unites a student body eager to raise awareness for a cause that undoubtedly touches everyone. “When you think about it, everybody has been affected by cancer at some point in their lives,” the club president reflects. “That really brings us all together. It takes about thirty or so people to put the whole tournament together. We work as a team. Everybody’s committed and all the upperclassmen really work well together to make it all possible.”

Photo Courtesy of BC Hoops for Hoop / Facebook

Photo Courtesy of BC Hoops for Hoop / Facebook

Requiring little-to-no basketball experience, the event encourages all walks of life to “ball-so-hard” for the sake of charity. With teams consisting of three to four men or women, the tournament divides itself into three divisions: men, women, and coed. Guaranteed to play at least three games, an individual on each team needs to raise at least $20 in donations before hitting the court. Individuals who raise $50 or more enter a raffle with a chance to win top prizes that include a basketball signed by Rajon Rondo. Those who outright win their division qualify for a chance to win an autographed Matt Ryan jersey.

After every team plays two games, each division forms its own winner brackets to determine a champion. “Based off wins and losses and win differential you get placed in a bracket, where it then becomes single elimination,” explains Phillips.

The fun only heightens upon crowning a victor. “Of the winning team from each division, each team member enters into a giant tournament of knockout to determine who gets to pick which prizes first.”

After a tremendous amount of success in past years, Phillips sets the sky as the limit for this year’s tournament. “We raised up to $10,000 in past tournaments. We definitely want to exceed that on Saturday,” declares the determined upperclassmen. “Last year we had 20 men teams, 16 coed teams and about four women teams. No limit exists on the number of teams that can play. This year our club emphasizes referring as many friends to the program as possible.”

So, this upcoming Saturday, ask yourself, “What am I doing from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.?”

You once played as a two-star recruit, not quite big enough to play in the ACC? No problem. You starred as the freshman water boy of your state title high school hoops team? The more the merrier. Olivier Hanlan? Hey, no shame in keeping a secret from Coach Christian! Focused on the NCAA selection committee, Coach has a tournament to worry about-- oh wait. Nevermind.

For more information on the event and how to sign up or donate, visit the BC Hoops for Hope Facebook page.

Be the difference: Bring us a step closer to finding a cure, one lay-up or free throw at a time.

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