MLK Classic

Big Number


Total minutes of basketball played Monday at McKale Memorial Center.

Dunk of the day

Palo Verde High senior Ezini Ugbisien drew one of the louder cheers of the day when he slammed a one-handed dunk from the right side with 1:27 left in the first half against Santa Rita, in the fourth game of the day.

Summersets in all corners

The Summerset family was well represented at McKale Center.

Empire girls coach Robert Summerset had daughter Ashley on the court for him, while wife Cathy and son Justice cheered from the stands.

"On a day like today, it's all about family," Robert said.

Ashley, a senior, said it was a nice experience because her dad has coached her since the seventh grade. She also said it was nice to have her brother, a freshman on the Mountain View football team, there to support him.

"Sports are a big thing in our family," Ashley said. "I'm at all of his games too."


"This is an awesome event. Our athletic director, Herman House, has put on a great event. I enjoy seeing these kids play and be in this tournament. They are playing their hearts out." - Michael Hicks, TUSD board member.

Whyte cheers for Dorados

With no practice on Monday, UA senior guard Davellyn Whyte was in attendance to see the Canyon del Oro boys team play Cholla.

Whyte sat with CDO coach Kelan Williams' two daughters in the first row of Section 16, directly across from the Dorados' bench.

Whyte said she and her teammates have become good friends with the young girls, whom the Wildcats have adopted to their team.

A year older, two teams bigger

This year's MLK Classic, in its seventh year in Tucson, featured 14 teams, two more than last year, making it the biggest yet. There were six girls teams and eight boys.

There were also seven games being played in the Phoenix area.

Former Olympian among those honored

Marcella Kitt was one of 14 community and school members honored during the basketball event.

The teacher and former track and field coach at Cholla has worked at the high school since 1976.

"It means a lot to me because I have served not only Cholla, but the community of Tucson as well," Kitt said.

Her track background dates back to the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, when she ran in the 100- and 200-meter dashes. Among the classes Kitt has taught at Cholla are history and physical education.

She said the honor comes on a very significant day for her with the Martin Luther King Jr. celebration and President Obama's inauguration.

Paying it forward

Game officials had the option of donating their paychecks to the Martin Luther King Scholarships on Monday, and all of them did so.

Two students, Yael Kalen of Palo Verde and Nick Fuentes of Santa Rita, each received $500 to go toward tuition at a college of their choice. The scholarships were awarded based on essays they submitted.

Compiled by Daniel Gaona and Andrew Cockrum