Over the past several years, the News Journal’s Annual NIBROC 3-on-3 Hoops Tournament has made a name for itself as one of the most competitive basketball tourneys in our region.
Since 2013, the event has drawn in not only local players, but also players from outside of our area, and even from outside the state of Kentucky. It has truly grown into one of the annual NIBROC festival’s most talked about competitions along with the yearly volleyball tournament, 2-mile race and, of course, cornhole.
The first NIBROC 3-on-3 tourney featured eight teams, followed by 18 teams in 2014, and then eleven teams in 2015. 2016 saw a record-setting field of 23 teams that was nearly matched by 21 teams in 2017. Last year a dozen teams came out to compete for the sixth annual title.
For the seventh annual tournament, taking place next Saturday, August 10 at the Princess Vermillion McBurney Recreation Center, the hope is to see another turnout of at least 18-20 teams. The format of the tournament will depend on how many teams participate, with double elimination and round robin bracketing being utilized in the past.
“Every year I’m awestruck by the talent level of the teams that participate in the NIBROC 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament,” said tournament director Trent Knuckles. “I enjoy organizing it, and I hope that all of the teams thoroughly enjoy playing in it.”
The tournament has seen a new team crowned as champions each year of its existence. Several local athletes such as Isaac Wilson, Madison Johnson, Josh Crawford and Corey Shelton have hoisted championship trophies in the past. There have also been many players from outside the tri-county area who have come to NIBROC and managed to return home as champs.
In 2016, a trio from Tennessee calling themselves L-Twon (for Lebanon) won the 3-on-3 title. They returned in 2017, but had to settle for runner-up after they were defeated in the finals by a team that featured players from Martin and Lawrence Counties, as well as familiar faces Isaac Wilson, Tyler Rogers and Travis Cowden.
In 2018, Team Aussie (Skyler Griffith, CeJay Jones and Michael Dow) took home the championship trophies and $500 in grand prize winnings after a tough gauntlet of games, and a hard fought victory in the tourney finals.
As of now, Aussie has committed to returning to the tournament next weekend in hopes of defending their championship title. The team could look a bit different this time around, however, with another player possibly joining the ranks.
Teams interested in competing for this year’s championship trophies and $500 cash grand prize can pick up entry forms at the News Journal offices in downtown Corbin, or sign up online.
To find the online entry form, search for “Annual Nibroc 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament” on Facebook. From the official event page, you can learn about tournament sponsors, get more details about previous competitions and follow a link to submit your team name and info.
If there are any other questions concerning how to play in or attend the Seventh Annual NIBROC 3-on-3 Hoops Tournament, contact tournament director Trent Knuckles at 606-215-9944 or 606-528-9767.
“When I started the tournament seven years ago, I did so because I could not find a single three-on-three basketball tournament that had happened in this area in an entire year,” Knuckles explained.
“I thought that was unfortunate. I knew that passion still existed out there for this type of event. I think it’s something that adds interest and value to the NIBROC festival, and I think it sort of fills a void that existed for highly competitive three-on-three basketball.”
Once again, the 2019 NIBROC 3-on-3 will be held next Saturday, August 10 during the 67th Annual NIBROC festival. Start time will be noon that day.