Splash Vegas event hosted by Starkville

Staff Writer

James Mapp enjoys promoting basketball events.

There was one particular reason why he wanted to hold a United States Amateur Basketball Tournament in Starkville.

Mapp is very good friends with former Mississippi State men's player Timmy Bowers, so he welcomed the chance of putting together something for Starkville. Bowers won a Southeastern Conference championship with the Bulldogs in 2004.

"I do most of my camps with (Bowers)," Mapp said. "That's why I'm looking forward to doing some events in Starkville. Me and him grew up together and I'm looking forward to getting up there."

The Splash Vegas AAU Invitational will take place Saturday and Sunday with the Travis Outlaw Center at the Starkville Sportsplex and Sanderson Center on the Mississippi State campus serving as the venues.

Mapp will spend most of his time observing the action at the Sanderson Center, but believes both places will be good for basketball. There will be a $10 admission, which is good for both sites with a wrist band.

"The second through sixth grades will play at the Sanderson Center and seventh through 12th grades will play at the Sportsplex," Mapp said.

As of Thursday morning, a total of 58 teams have signed up for the tournament. Teams are coming in from Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, Tennessee and host Mississippi.

Mapp said the economic impact for Starkville should be significant with the number of people in town to support the tournament.

"All of the restaurants should be filled with people eating," Mapp said. "The players will have parents, siblings and grand parents."

The first games at the Sportsplex on Saturday will start at 9 a.m., while the action at the Sanderson Center begins at 10 a.m. Games will continue until 8 p.m.

On Sunday, the schedule will be 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Mississippi Splash, the team based out of Starkville, will have their first game at noon on Saturday against Delta Heat at the Sanderson Center.

Delta Heat, Warren County Bulls, Jackson Cougars and Tuscaloosa Onyx are the teams in pool A with the Splash. Each team will have three games minimum.

"This is the first time a major state qualified basketball tournament has been held in the GTA (Golden Triangle Area)," Splash coach Kenny Cheeks wrote in a statement.