NEW HAVEN, W.Va. — A 3-on-3 basketball tournament fundraiser will be Saturday to benefit the construction of a basketball court in the Town of New Haven.
While the benefit itself might not be unique, the organizers of the event are.
At a time in their lives when most others are thinking of their own college days and careers, Benjamin Foreman, Wyatt Zuspan and Austin Cole are joining their talents to affect their community and future generations in a positive way.
After Foreman approached New Haven officials with the idea of constructing a basketball court where tennis courts now exist, he was surprised to learn plans had already been in the works to do just that. One of the two tennis areas will be converted into a basketball court to allow for outdoor play, where once athletes were limited to renting the nearby community building.
Foreman, a Marshall University (M.U.) student, quickly jumped on board, pledging his support while home for the summer.
Fellow M.U. student, Wyatt Zuspan, owner of ZSports, offered to host the 3-on-3 tourney, with all proceeds going to the New Haven project. A third friend, Austin Cole of Austin Cole’s Catering, will sell food at the tournament with his proceeds also benefiting the proposed court. All three men grew up in the Bend Area and are graduates of Wahama High School.
“The idea is to give back to the community that helped us become the young adults we are today,” said Foreman. “By bringing a basketball court to New Haven, it will promote health as well as togetherness.”
Zuspan said 12 teams have registered so far for the tournament, which will begin at 10 a.m. at the Mason basketball court, next to the Mason Senior Center on Second Street. The goal is to have 16 teams for the half-court, double elimination tourney.
Teams will be coming from Jackson, Cabell and Mason counties so far, Zuspan said, and will include members as young as 16 years, although it is open to all ages. The fee is $25 per player. Zuspan added one team will include New Haven Mayor Jerry Spradling.
Cole said he is honored to be among those participating in the event.
“I know how much a place like this could use a new basketball court to keep kids out of drugs and turn them over to a healthy hobby,” he stated. “I know how it is growing up here and not having much to do. If it wasn’t for sports, who knows what path I would have taken.”
Cole will be selling hotdogs with homemade sauce, coleslaw, chips, water and sports drinks. The three young men are hoping members of the community will come out to watch the tournament or stop by for some lunch.
“We all love the game,” Zuspan said of basketball. “It’s fun to compete. We just want to have a good time for a good cause.”
Foreman is hoping the proceeds will push them over the edge on the funds needed for the court. Some local businesses have already made donations, and the town sold laundry detergent as a fundraiser.
To make one of the tennis courts suitable for basketball, the cracks in the concrete floor must be sealed, according to New Haven Recorder Roberta Hysell. Shooting and foul lines need painted, and poles, backboards and rims must be purchased. A fence to separate the remaining tennis court from the basketball court will also be needed.
Anyone wishing to join in the tournament can contact Zuspan at ZSports on Facebook, or call 304-610-2789.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.