Every local basketball fan has a favorite holiday tournament. Proviso West, Pontiac and the Big Dipper each have loyal defenders. But when it comes to summer basketball, specifically the high school team shootouts and camps in June, the Riverside-Brookfield Summer Shootout is the undisputed king.
Mike Reingruber, an assistant coach at Riverside-Brookfield for 19 years, is the architect of the event. The 14th edition takes place June 4 and 5.
“Never in a million years did I think it would evolve like it has,” Reingruber said. “We just did it to give our kids some playing time against good teams. Everything I do I’m all in on. I try to make it a little better every year. It’s my baby, I’ve put a lot of time and effort into it. I want everything I do to be first class and I think it has been that and we will continue to move in that direction.”
The shootout started 14 years ago with 16 teams. Back then Riverside-Brookfield only had two gyms. The school’s expanded field house has allowed Reingruber to add teams. This year’s event features 40 of the top schools from the city and suburbs.
“We have the core group of the same teams every year and then I target four or five teams that I know will have solid players and be a top 20 kind of team and I’ll go after those, like Joliet West this year,” Reingruber said. “I had about 11 teams on the waiting list this year, so I had to turn a bunch away.”
Tickets for fans cost $6, all proceeds from the event go to the Riverside-Brookfield basketball program.
“I do a lot of the organizing and behind the scenes stuff but all the parent and player volunteers and the other coaches on our staff, without them and former players that come back and help, there is no way this could be as successful as it is,” Reingruber said.
The amount of big-time talent that has played at the event in recent years is staggering. Jabari Parker, Cliff Alexander, Tyler Ulis, Jahlil Okafor and Jalen Brunson have all appeared. Okafor scored 39 points in a game against Evanston in 2012. That’s the third highest point total ever. Sead Odzic, an underrated star at Niles West, is the record holder with 43 points against St. Ignatius in 2004.
“Having Jabari Parker on the Sports Illustrated cover created a ton of buzz,” Reingruber said. “That article came out a week or two before the shootout. The kid was just on the cover of SI and then he was playing at the shootout on a Sunday afternoon, it was pretty wild. Then Cliff Alexander had an opportunity to go to the Pangos camp in California and he stayed back to play with his Curie team because of the prestige of the shootout. Those were two signature moments for us that showed we had built the shootout into something special.”
Having big-time talent regularly appear in town has made a lasting impact.
“I remember little kids from the community heard Jabari was going to be there and they lined the gym to see him,” Reingruber said. “When I was in school in the mid-90’s R-B sucked. We were terrible. The shootout has definitely helped create a culture. Kids love basketball here. Our players are working the scoreboards and they love it. They talk about when Jahlil Okafor dunked on so and so or when Cliff Alexander or Jabari Parker was there. It has helped develop that culture where, no disrespect to the other sports, but we are a basketball school now.”
14th Annual Riverside-Brookfield Summer Shootout
-June 4-5, games start at 8 a.m
-Full schedule available at www.riversidebrookfieldbasketball.com
Downers Grove North
Downers Grove South
Oak Park-River Forest