Sports business students get tournament training

December 30, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

One of the joys of the Christmas holidays for basketball fans is watching some good hoops, and Grand Canyon University is sponsoring a high school tournament this weekend that features some of the top local and national teams — and, at the same time, gives students in GCU’s Colangelo School of Sports Business some valuable experience.

Members of the GCU Sports Business Club, in conjunction with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, are doing the marketing, sales, media relations and operations for the second annual Hoophall West, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Chaparral High School in Scottsdale. The event will include five high school boys’ teams ranked in the top 25 nationally, including Corona del Sol of Tempe, which has won the last three Division I titles in the Arizona state tournament.

“These are name-brand, national powerhouses, historically or currently or both,” said Dr. Brian Smith, director of the sports business school. “And they have some of the best players in the country.”

About 15 GCU sports business students will be at the event, helping with ticket sales, managing the needs of the competing teams and doing guest seating and customer service. Another dozen worked on the planning and ticket sales for the event before winter break.

“It’s like a lab for them in event management,” Smith said.

Hoophall West is the western version of the Hoophall Classic, scheduled for Jan. 15-19 in Springfield, Mass., also the home of the Hall of Fame. The Hoophall Classic marketing agency has conducted training seminars and workshops for the GCU students.

The Hoophall West schedule, with national rankings where appropriate:


  • 12:30 p.m., Gilbert vs. Chinle
  • 2:30 p.m., No. 19 DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) vs. No. 18 Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.)
  • 4:30 p.m., No. 17 Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.) vs. No. 4 Findlay College Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
  • 6:30 p.m., Desert Mountain (Scottsdale) vs. Chaparral (Scottsdale)


  • 12:30 p.m., Westview (Avondale) vs. Chaparral
  • 2:30 p.m., No. 4 Findlay College Prep vs. Pinnacle (Phoenix)
  • 4:30 p.m., No. 19 DeMatha Catholic vs. Shadow Mountain (Phoenix)
  • 6:30 p.m., No. 18 Sierra Canyon vs. No. 24 Corona del Sol (Tempe)

There also will be a Junior Hoophall West, for boys and girls in the third through eighth grades, this weekend at Chaparral. Seventeen teams are scheduled to compete.

Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or







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