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Arizona tribal teams compete against community colleges on basketball court

PHOENIX — Two Arizona community colleges will be hosting a series of events this weekend in an effort to use sports to bring awareness to cultural enrichment.

Starting Tuesday, Glendale and Tohono O’odham Community Colleges will be hosting the first Native American Classic Basketball Tournament, with teams from community colleges competing against teams from tribal colleges.

2015 Native American Classic game bracket (Photo: GCC)

2015 Native American Classic game bracket (Photo: GCC)

Four nationally-recognized college programs,  Salt Lake City College, Midland College, Cañada College and Glendale Community College, will compete against four of the best tribal colleges in the country, Tohono O’odham Community College, United Tribes Technical College, Little Big Horn College and Pascua Yaqui Club.

“I think this is a great venue for everybody to be in one place and to be able to showcase what the Native culture is about,” said Glendale Community College men’s basketball coach Damin Lopez.

Lopez said this event is more than just a simple game of hoops.

“To see the excitement that has been generated with our administration and with my athletic director has just made it that much more great for all of us,” he said. “We think this is going to be something special for everybody.”

The student athletes will also participate in community service on Thanksgiving Day by volunteering at a Glendale community event.

While the men’s and women’s community college basketball teams will duke it out on the court, Native American performances and demonstrations will play on the Glendale Community College’s courtyard.

Entertainment and cultural performances on Friday and Saturday will include Tohono O’odham Community College traditional singers, D.J. Sixkiller, South Image Waila Bank, and Southern Country Band.

Rolling Thunder, a group of Native American students from Tohono O’odham high schools, will perform the blessings.

Game tickets are $5.00.  Admission to the cultural events and parking at Glendale Community College is free.

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