MISSOULA — The Bradshaw 3-on-3 basketball tournament tipped off in Missoula on Saturday with a number of talented players on the court in search of a big cash prize.
“Three-on-three is a little different than five-on-five. It’s not necessarily about talent, you know, it’s more being physical, being tough in order to get wins,” former Montana Grizzly guard Bobby Moorehead explained after a first-round win.
Eight teams entered the Missoula Hellgate High School gym on Saturday morning, but only one will leave Sunday with a $6,000 cash prize and bragging rights as some of the best ballers in the state of Montana.
Teams ranged from everyday pick-up players to NAIA talent and Montana Griz alumni like Jamar Akoh, Kareem Jamar and Moorehead, among others.
“Honestly it feels like home. When I was here I was pretty vocal about how much I loved the people here, how much everybody accepted me on and off the court. So just driving in, coming in, getting off the plane, it felt right,” said Jamar, the 2012-13 Big Sky Conference player of the year.
“I’m playing with some greats on my team, some Griz greats. So we’re just trying to come out here and have fun. Hopefully we can win this thing,” said Akoh.
And with more than three former Griz in the tourney, it made for a unique opportunity: Griz versus Griz matchups. And the trash talk wasn’t held back, with all the teams feeling confident they can win.
“There is another team that’s some ex-Griz and they look like they’ll give us a run for our money, but we should win it. I for sure like my odds,” Jamar said with a grin.
“I mean (Moorehead has) been talking a lot, so we’ll see. If he makes there, if we make it there, we’ll see what happens,” said Akoh.
“Down the line it’s going to be chippy, it’s going to be aggressive, and I love that, I love the physical game. Lots of good players are going to be here to play, which is super cool. I’ll play against some of my former teammates and that’s super awesome, so to have it in Missoula is sweet,” said Moorehead.
With $2,000 going to each winning player, some were playing for more than just a savings account boost.
“I’m getting married in a couple of months, so I’ll probably take it for a honeymoon. That would be nice. So I’ve got a little bit of motivation. Honeymoon, that’s a good one to use it on,” said Moorehead.
The double-elimination tournament resumes Sunday morning, with the championship game scheduled to begin at 3:30 p.m. according to the Bradshaw Tournament’s Facebook page.