Participants pose for a photo at a recent 3-on-3 tournament. (Submitted photo)

Participants pose for a photo at a recent 3-on-3 tournament. (Submitted photo)

3-on-3 tournament begins Saturday / Basketball

Three-on-three basketball returns for the ninth year to South Whidbey Saturday, July 20.

The tournament begins about noon at the Rotary Court after the Whidbey Island Fair parade.

Louis Muniz spearheaded the initial tournament in 2010 as a member of Rotary of South Whidbey.

Muniz is a 40-year resident of South Whidbey and a 1991 graduate of South Whidbey High School, where he played basketball.

He has remained active in basketball, continuing to play in tournaments and recreational leagues. He has also coached in the local youth and middle school programs.

“When moving back to Whidbey in 2006 after being gone for six years, I wanted to put in an official court and safe haven for kids, adults and families to play,” Muniz said. “The South Whidbey Parks District was a perfect fit and Rotary of South Whidbey was all for the idea as well.

“We ran the tournament as a fundraiser for the court until 2015 at which time the court was installed and completed.”

In 2016 Muniz stepped down from Rotary but kept the tournament alive, renaming it the LM Premier 3v3 Tournament.

“LM Premier is my LLC through which I run my events and fundraising for my real estate business and community projects,” he said.

Once the court was completed, proceeds from the tournament have gone toward purchasing basketballs for the youth program for two seasons and new benches at the court. This year, the funds will go toward the South Whidbey Parks and Recreation District’s scholarship program that covers youth basketball registration fees for families in need.

“It has been a great tournament which we really hope will grow and grow over the years and perhaps become a destination attraction for basketball players from all over the state,” Muniz said.

He would like to see the tournament prosper, helping the community benefit for “thousands of ballers descending upon South Whidbey for one weekend a year to enjoy a common sport.”

“Look what Hoopfest in Spokane has become, and it started out just like we have,” he added.

The Spokane event, which began in 1989, has grown into the world’s largest 3-on-3 tournament, drawing more than 6,000 teams each year.

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