The shootout heard around the world

Bijan C. Bayne | 1/31/2012, 6:52 p.m.
Memories of America’s top high school basketball tournament Bijan C. Bayne ...

But the Shootout was also a learning experience for the players. “We tried to get pros to coach them,” Hudson said, “and the first Boston coach was Satch Sanders, followed by Paul Silas, K.C. Jones, and Dave Cowens. The other thing that was interesting was when (former Celtics All-Star center) Dave Cowens was coaching for the first time, Pat Ewing showed up late for practice. Cowens spoke to him, and he said, ‘I’m Pat Ewing.’

‘Well,’ Cowens said, ‘You know what, if you show up late again, you won’t be playing in The Boston Shootout.’ Patrick was the first one to arrive at the next practice.”

Charlie Titus also remembers the origins and the colorful atmosphere. “Ken Hudson, Alfreda Harris and the rest of them were always doing things to help (the) youth,” Titus said. “The Shootout was a terrific social event for the basketball purist in the city of Boston.”

Titus went on. “The first one was also an opportunity to showcase the high school basketball talent of the Boston area against many of the best high school players throughout the country,” he said. “At that time, Boston was not known as a basketball hotbed … Fans came out in droves to pack the Boston University Case Center wearing their summers’ finest sports clothes, ready to watch the best high school basketball in the country.

Asked about the best teams he saw play in the tournament, Titus said: “The first Boston team was outstanding — Ronnie Lee, Billy Collins, Bobby Carrington, Wil Morrison, King Gaskins and Carlton Smith — they set a standard that all subsequent Shootout teams strived to exceed. I believe that the standard set by that first Boston team is what made the tournament so good for so many years.”

Today, in the spirit of the Boston Shootout, a Boston foundation known as Shooting Touch, hosted a two-day charity basketball tournament in late December, featuring high schools such as St. Anthony’s (NJ), East Boston, Philadelphia Roman Catholic, and Amityville (NY). Proceeds from The Shooting Touch Shootout provide graduating college seniors the opportunity to travel the world and partake in a 10-month international work program using the platform of basketball to help foster education and influence positive social change in third world communities.

Shooting Touch was founded by Justin Kittredge, a director of performance basketball footwear at Reebok. Kittredge, a native of Barnstable, Mass., was an MVP of his prep team at Northfield Mount Hermon, before playing junior varsity ‘ball at James Madison University, and later set the Guinness World Record™ for the most completed free throws in two minutes.

The inaugural Shooting Touch Shootout will be played at The Kroc Community Center. There, new legends will be crowned, as those of the past are remembered.