Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, announced Wednesday that its inaugural Holiday Hoops Fest basketball invitational will be played on Saturday, Dec. 22 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in southeast D.C.
The doubleheader will feature the Hampton University Pirates, Howard University Bison, High Point Panthers and Richmond Spiders.
“The Washington metro area has produced a substantial pipeline of amateur, collegiate and professional basketball talent and it is Events DC’s mission to establish premier events in our nation’s capital, such as the Events DC Holiday Hoops Fest, that reinforce this very rich history of the sport in our region,” said Gregory O’Dell, Events DC president/CEO. “We are proud to welcome some of our region’s most-exceptional college basketball student-athletes to not only showcase their talents, but also represent their respective universities at our new Entertainment and Sports Arena.”
The High Point Panthers will travel from North Carolina, alongside legendary basketball coach, Tubby Smith, to face the Richmond Spiders in the first game of the evening.
“We are excited to play in the Events DC Holiday Hoops Fest at the brand-new Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington,” said Smith, head men’s basketball coach at High Point University. “A lot of the guys in our program are from the DC area, including myself, so it will be great to come home and play in front of our family and friends. We’re also looking forward to playing against a good Richmond squad.”
“We love having the opportunity to play in the nation’s capital over the Christmas holidays,” said Richmond University Head Men’s Basketball Coach Chris Mooney. “We had a great turnout in Washington, D.C., for our conference tournament last year and we feel like it’s a short trip for our local supporters and an area where we have a lot of alumni and fans. We’re excited to be one of the first college basketball games in a great new arena and we’re looking forward to making this an annual or semi-annual event.”
The long-standing “Battle of the Real HU” returns to DC when rivals the Hampton Pirates and Howard Bison meet on the court for the second game of the evening.
“We are extremely happy to continue our games with Howard due to the always competitive nature of them and the rivalry between the schools,” said Hampton Head Coach Edward Joyner, Jr. “Playing the game in the new Entertainment and Sports Arena in Washington will be an exciting day for the Battle of the Real HU.”
“It’s always exciting to face Hampton wherever you play,” said Howard men’s basketball head coach Kevin Nickelberry. “It brings a lot of energy into the building. I really like our team and they’re always talented. It’s going to be a Battle of the Real HU down in the new arena.”
For more information and to purchase tickets for the Events DC Holiday Hoops Fest, go to dcholidayhoopsfest.com.