When I arrived, the AIA and UBC had already started off the festivities. The park was buzzing with activity, and every game seemed to have that playoff feel! Last year’s event was packed with good talent and a lot of competition. This year’s talent exceeded that, and then some! A lot of players who had played in their first or even second Dolphin Classic looked to be tentative or overly aggressive. Lacked patience and maybe had a touch too much arrogance. Those same players looked like polished veterans out on the hot, no forgiveness asphalt! The older veterans continued to make their mark on each game. With every hot, hard, unforgiving step, the old guard continued to get it done!
I was asked on a number of occasions by some of the new spectators to The Dolphin Classic, “What is the grand prize for first place?” Or “Are they getting paid to play right now?” A few were seemed outright astonished by the fact of a group a men, young and old, would be competing like they were playing for their next meal! The annual spectators of this tournament applauded every play that was worthy of a Dolphin Classic cheer. The cheers are all earned by the play in every season of the Dolphin Classic. This year’s rendition was no different.
The biggest upset of Day 1 had to be the shellacking that Triple Double led by Jordan (JY) Yu took from Robbie Phillip’s West Coast Ballers! That game looked even, and even looked like Triple Double had them lined up for a win…all up until the ball was thrown up for the jump ball. It got ugly early and often. That loss would lead to a 0-4 record for the rest of the tourney! The Nighthawks led by the Legendary Josh Masters carried a formidable team, backed up by standouts Demitri Harris and Sean Holland. Sean went down in the first part of the tourney with a knee sprain, and an unexpected no show led to them not making the playoffs on Sunday. Demitri Harris had a good weekend in representing the Nighthawks. AIA led by Marek Klassen was packed with a ton of young talent (as usual). AIA’s Joel Friesen had a great week before the Dolphin Classic in being drafted (stay tuned for more info on that)! His ridiculous athleticism and improved hoop game made every game an exciting one for the crowds that gathered. Mr Klassen himself epidermises the essence of being a hoop junkie! Marek, who has been known to play basketball in a cactus field (describing his toughness), hit the hot pavement coming off of recent Hip Surgery…ON BOTH HIPS!!! He didn’t play 40 minutes, but just the fact that he is running in and out of traffic getting jostled around is impressive to me!
Rapid Motors, my squad, showcased newly signed Seattle U recruit Manroop Clair (younger brother of Roopi Clair two time Dolphin Classic three point champ, and also reigning Dolphin Classic three point champ). Friday and Saturday belonged to Manroop Clair! Even in losses, he was a man that needed to be game planned for! On offense and defense, he ran through the competition like a hot knife through butter! Teaming with Roopi the 2nd day gave them even more firepower. Rapid Motors would lose a close one to the defending champs Runnin’ Rebels, and a physical battle late on Saturday. The UBC Birds made a big splash making it into the playoffs on Sunday only to lose to the X-Falcons in the first round.
The Women’s final between Team Chaos and Cascades came down to the last 9 seconds! Chaos was up 1 with 9 seconds left in the game. Chaos started playing “hot potato” with the ball and Cascade team stole the ball! Drove the length of the court and laid the ball in for a layup plus the foul! Team Chaos had a chance to tie the game up after an unbelievably bone head foul by the Cascade player that gave them the lead! The first free throw was missed, and the 2nd intentional miss bounced around a few hands and was not put up in time! Heartbreaking loss for Team Chaos, but a valiant comeback by Cascade!
Before the Men’s final, there was the legendary dunk contest! Making an unexpected entry was the 100 time champion of the Dolphin Classic (more like 9xs, but it seems like 100) Josh Masters! He would be joined by a handful of young high flyers, none more impressive than the former Yale standout Nakai Luyken!! Nakai suited up for AIA, after coming off of the Whistler snowboarding half pipe. While Josh and the other competitors had respectable dunks, Nakai had the best three dunks of the competition. Including a “Blake Griffin-like” over his Honda CRX dunk! That dunk unofficially shut the contest down. To cap that dunk, he climbed on the roof of his car and did a backflip off of it! CONTEST SHUTDOWN!!!!
The X-Falcons were made up of a “Who’s Who” of UBC alumni! The only sore thumb was Bol Kong, and if he is a “sore thumb” your team is more than OK! Put together by Kyle Watson and backed by Randy Nohr, Matt Rachar, Alex Murphy, and Doug Plumb (also drafted). The X-Falcons ran through the competition en route to the finals. The Defending Champion Runnin’ Rebels took a harder route to the finals! Missing key players from last year, the Rebels grinded out nearly every when they had to get to the finals. That grind certainly showed early in the Finals. The X-Falcons ran out to a double digit lead, and led by nearly 20 at one point in the game. The Rebels made a huge comeback and brought the score under double digits. It would be for not, as the X-Falcons were able to hold on to the lead, and snatch the title once again!
View all our photos of the 28th Dolphin Basketball Classic, here.
SOURCE: CLINT LOMAX OF VANCOUVER BASKETBALL