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Men’s team places third in Atlanta

The locally created adult men’s basketball team Alabama All Stars took third place at the Hoop It Up for the Homeless tournament in Atlanta last weekend.

The team walked away with T-shirts instead of trophies, but they also left with some perspective on what they played for all weekend.

“It was sad to see the homeless people on the streets of Atlanta,” head coach and power forward Shunn Bailey said. “They were of all races. It’s one thing if you choose the lifestyle, but some of them have no family, help or choice.”

Bailey, a Jemison resident who graduated from Maplesville, said he used to be scared of homeless people when he was younger but soon realized those in need often only want what fortunate others have, which is even just a normal lifestyle. He said playing in the tournament made him and other players want to increase their philanthropic participation in Alabama.

“If you have a roof over your head, food on your table and in your home you are living a normal, blessed life,” he said. “Some of the people that I deal with on a daily basis are so ungrateful.”

To enter the tournament, the team paid a fee, but each player also donated several pieces of clothing to benefit homeless citizens in need.

“We just needed one more big man, and I think we would have won the whole tourney,” Bailey said. “The hosts enjoyed watching us play and said we had good talent. We carried ourselves well. We didn’t fuss and argue or cuss.”

The All Stars first faced My World, who they defeated. They suffered their first loss at the hands of Pete and the Gang on Saturday. They then won a close one in overtime against Uptown, but lost to Street Kings in the semifinal match-up on Sunday.

“I was very pleased with our performance and representation,” Bailey said.

He said standout players included Demetrius Fleetion of Alexander City, Oneal Hudson of Montevallo, Terry Haynes of Calera and Vincent Olanrewaju of Clanton.

While the team waited to play its semifinal game, a representative from another tournament asked Bailey if his team would participate in a competition sponsored by former Altanta Hawks and Kentucky Wildcats star player Tony Delk.

The Alabama All Stars will travel to Jeanerette, La., to compete in another two-day tournament on April 10-11.