LITTLE ROCK The Real Deal in the Rock will begin play on Friday morning, bringing some of the top prep players from across the country to Little Rock, along with some of the top coaches to watch them.
Officials with the tournament held a luncheon at the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce on Thursday afternoon to brief the media on the event. The luncheon also included special guest Sonny Vaccaro, an influential figure in the growth of AAU basketball for the last three decades.
Executive Director Bill Ingram said the tournament will feature 420 teams on over 40 courts around the city, with the main site being the P.A.R.K. gym off Geyer Springs Road. The event will run all day Friday through Sunday, with pool play running the first two days and a bracket play deciding the winner on Sunday.
Four of the Top 25 ranked AAU teams in the nation, as ranked by 5-Star Basketball.com, will be competing in the event, including the Houston Defenders, the no. 3 team in the nation, and D.C. Assault, another ranked program that has alums such as NBA players Michael Beasley, Nolan Smith and Kevin Durant.
This will mark the first year that coaches are allowed to view the tournament, with the NCAA extending the spring evaluation period into April. Arkansas' Mike Anderson, Kentucky's John Calipari, Louisville's Rick Pitino and Roy Williams of North Carolina are a few of the many Division-I head coaches expected at the event.
For a list of game sites visit the tournament's website.
Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.