Pat Moore may have passed away in 2002, but his legacy still lives on in Maysville with his passion for hoops on the hardwood.
The Maysville Classic, formerly known as the Dirt Bowl will be back at it again this weekend, running Friday through Sunday at the downtown Maysville Gym. Originally started by Moore as a 3-on-3 tournament at Jack Condon’s basket on Walnut Street nearly 30 years ago, the tournament has grown into a 5-on-5 tournament with some notable alumni participating from Maysville’s own Darius Miller and Chris Lofton to former NBA and Division I players like Chris Duhon, Shelvin Mack, Brian Grant, Melvin Turpin and even MLB star David Justice back in the day.
“There’s been so much talent come play,” local sports historian Ron Bailey said. “But this tourney is more than basketball, people get to see people they haven’t seen for years. It’s like a big family reunion. Everyone gets together and relives the old days. It’s amazing the talent that rolls through here.”
Bailey’s dedication to local sports around the area and providing the community with flashbacks of the past has rightfully earned him a trophy handed out in his name for the tournament’s most valuable player, the Ron Bailey MVP Trophy.
“It’s an honor and it amazed me when LaMont Johnson told me before we did the radio show with Danny Weddle today (Thursday),” Bailey said.
Bailey told stories during a phone interview Thursday of past tourneys, one sticking out in particular when University of Louisville’s Eric Johnson came to play and won the tourney in the championship game with a putback dunk in 1993. Chris Duhon pulling up in his Lamborghini in 2015 was another sight to see.
The tournament has moved from Condon’s court to Rotary Park to various gyms in Maysville to know the old Maysville High School Gym.
The championship trophy is in honor of Moore, a great athlete himself being a part of Maysville High’s last 10th Region championship team. Moore also spent time as a coach at both Fleming County and Mason County and was eventually named to the 10th Region Hall of Fame. Moore was also well known for his work in the community away from the court where he served as Resident Initiatives Coordinator for the Housing Authority of Maysville, chairman of the Maysville chapter of the Salvation Army, as a Hayswood Foundation Board member, board member of the Mason County Museum and was one of the original 13 volunteers with the CASA Program.
Johnson and Brian Miller have helped organize the event since 2005 that has free admission to the public, with concessions served and another community event on Saturday where LaRon Washington organizes a “Kids Day”, at Rotary Park handing out bookbags of school supplies for kids getting ready to head back to school.
Pool play begins Friday night with 14 teams currently registered. Two games will take place Friday night followed by pool play games all day on Saturday from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. The top two teams from the four pools will then begin a single-elimination tournament on Sunday starting around noon.
The defending champ “Squad Up” will be there that features former Mason County standouts Lofton and Miller, Treg and Trevor Setty, Mikah Turner, Tee Commodore and Wes Jones.
“They still dominate,” Brian Miller said. “They are the team everyone shoots for and tries to beat. But in the end it’s a community event. Everybody likes the environment. You can walk in and out and enjoy the atmosphere, young to old, just come and have fellowship, good basketball without any issues or any problem.”
Team lists are tough to get prior to the tourney as some may not know until the day of, but previously known teams out of Northern Kentucky and Paris will be there as well as some locally formed teams with younger talent and players still in college from the NAIA ranks to Division I.
“I’m pleased with how the outcome has come this weekend with Kids Day going on and the tournament. All weekend there’s something for everyone. From the kids to the loyal basketball fun,” Organizer LaMont Johnson said.