Neeley takes their business from the classroom to the courts

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    Three-pointers, free throws and layups were all the rave this Friday afternoon as the Neeley School of Business held a student, faculty and staff basketball tournament. 

    The Next Generation Leadership Program hosted the Neeley Basketball Tournament.  Players had to be either business majors or minors or faculty and staff of the business school.

    But anyone could come out and cheer on the teams.

    Next Gen used a couple tactics to get people to register for the event and to come out and support.

    They drew in players by giving free jerseys to each of them.

    To catch the attention of students and other personnel in the Recreation Center, they set out a table that read “Sweet Treats, free food.”

    The funding for the tournament came out of the Neeley School of Business’s budget, which is managed by Dean Mark Muller.

    With the money provided, the event catered Sweet Sammies, Steel City Pops, Melt Ice Creams and Sugar Biscuit Cakery. The desserts were not only for the players and faculty but also for anyone passing by in the rec center.

    There were 15 teams that registered for Friday’s tournament. Being an odd number, one lucky team got a by into the second round automatically.

    Each game was split into two 15-minute halves.

    The event was organized with the help of students in Next Gen.

    “I set a personal goal in the beginning that I would feel completely successful if I could get 15 teams to play,” said Celeste Campbell, junior accounting major and tournament coordinator. “Two days before registration closed I had one team, this big of a turn out was not what I expected, but what I hoped for.”

    Campbell had been developing ideas for the tournament since fall of 2013.

    The last time the business school put on a tournament for students and staff was spring 2013.

    Campbell said once she heard about the past tournaments she wanted to take control and make it bigger and better than ever before.

    The last time the tournament was put on there were only four teams that participated.

    This year, participation more than tripled in size.

    “I am so genuinely passionate about this tournament and could not be happier with the turnout we had,” Campbell said. “Even on spring break in Costa Rica I would be excited to check my email at the end of day to see if anyone was trying to reach me and talk about more details for the tournament.”

    And the players were very involved, they even made creative team names.

    From the finalists – “D Money Dunkers” and “Ball is Life” – to “Hoops, I Did it Again,” and the “Wolves of Ball Street,” the Neeley students were enthusiastic for the game.

    The games began at 1:00 p.m. and the final two teams battled for the championship at 4:20 p.m.

    “D Money Dunkers” defeated “Ball is Life” with a final score of 48-40.

    The “D Money Dunkers” received championship t-shirts at the end of the tournament.

    Although there was only one winning team, many teams stayed after to watch and support their friends and faculty.

    Bryan Cox, junior accounting major, said “I just came out here to have fun, although some people may take it really serious, I just love to have fun and that is why I’m here.”

    Campbell said she hopes this tournament will continue to be held in the years to come.