Inaugural Collegiate Tripleheader to Honor the Inventor of Basketball
TORONTO, ON (May 28, 2019) –The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the field of teams for the first-ever James Naismith Classic presented by Citi, a newly developed college basketball showcase held at Scotiabank Arena on Saturday, November 16, 2019. The one-day tripleheader will feature the University of Tennessee vs. University of Washington, University at Buffalo vs. Harvard University, and St. Bonaventure University vs. Rutgers University.
Dr. James Naismith, known as the inventor of the game of basketball, was born in Almonte, Ontario on November 6, 1861. He went on to become a physical education teacher, chaplain, author, and physician, and founder of the University of Kansas basketball program. He wrote the original rules of basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts, where the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame stands today. Dr. Naismith is a member of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the first member of the Basketball Hall of Fame.
“Without Dr. James Naismith, the game we celebrate and cherish may not exist. We are very proud to honor him with the inaugural James Naismith Classic in Ontario at Toronto’s iconic venue, Scotiabank Arena,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “The Hall of Fame is a global museum, honoring basketball greats from countries around the world, and we’re excited to be hosting six teams in Canada this fall.”
The James Naismith Classic is one event in the Hall of Fame’s series of collegiate events, which continues to grow in an effort to celebrate the game outside the museum walls. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is proud to continue its relationship with Learfield IMG College for sponsorship representation of its portfolio of collegiate events. This year’s series of collegiate events will be announced in the coming weeks.
Tickets for the James Naismith Classic will go on-sale to the general public on Friday, May 31 via all Ticketmaster locations and the Scotiabank Arena box office. Game times and television broadcast information will be released at a later date.
Quotes from Participating Head Coaches
“We’re appreciative of being included in the James Naismith Classic and are looking forward to competing against a really well coached Washington program that we have a lot of respect for. I know from experience that these events hosted by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame are great experiences for our players and fans. Having the opportunity to showcase Tennessee basketball in Canada is a big deal. Canadian basketball continues to showcase tremendous growth and outstanding coaching, while producing world-class players.” – Rick Barnes, Tennessee
“We’re very excited to face Tennessee at the James Naismith Classic in Toronto. As a program, we have prided ourselves in building a strong non-conference schedule and this event is exactly on par with that mindset. Tennessee is a great program and bringing NCAA basketball to Toronto is going to be a fantastic experience. They have amazing basketball fans there and we’re looking forward to being a part of this event.” – Mike Hopkins, Washington
“It's an honor to represent Buffalo and the Mid-American Conference in an international setting by playing in the James Naismith Classic. We are excited to play a well-respected program in Harvard, which carries a rich basketball history. This is a great opportunity for our fans to make a short trip to Toronto and spend the day watching some first-class basketball in a fantastic venue.” – Jim Whitesell, Buffalo
"Harvard is especially honored to participate in the James Naismith Classic in Toronto. The games will be tremendously competitive and the opportunity to play in Toronto - a city that is universally recognized as one of the most diverse and most exciting cities in the world - is something our kids will remember for a lifetime.” – Tommy Amaker, Harvard
“We are really excited about playing Rutgers in the Naismith Classic in Toronto. Rutgers is an up-and-coming, Power 5 team that is very well coached. It will be a good test for us early in the year. I think our players will be excited to play a Big Ten team in an NBA arena in a culturally-rich city where most of them have never been. Over the past 20-25 years, we’ve had many great players at St. Bonaventure who came from the Toronto area, including 2012 first round NBA draft pick Andrew Nicholson who was one of our all-time best. I also think we’ll have strong fan support there, so all in all, this is an exciting opportunity and we are thrilled to be invited to participate.” – Mark Schmidt, St. Bonaventure
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to play in an NBA arena against a strong opponent that advanced to its conference championship last season. Toronto is an international city that is excited about the game of basketball. We look forward to bringing the Rutgers brand north, where our senior team captain Eugene Omoruyi will compete before his family and hometown crowd.” – Steve Pikiell, Rutgers
About Scotiabank Arena
Scotiabank Arena is Canada’s premier sports and entertainment venue and home to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, NBA’s Toronto Raptors and the NLL’s Toronto Rock. Owned and operated by MLSE, Scotiabank Arena opened its doors in February 1999 and has been recognized with more than 40 industry awards highlighting the venue’s security, accessibility, fan service, environmental commitment, sales and box office service. It has also hosted over 39 million fans at over 2,600 events including multiple NHL and NBA playoff runs, the 2016 NHL World Cup of Hockey, 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend, 2015 IIHF World U20 Championship, 2003 Liberal Party Convention and 2000 NHL All-Star Game. Scotiabank Arena’s external space has also become a Toronto entertainment destination with the installation of the Leafs Legends Row, bronzed statues honouring the hockey club’s greatest players, the gathering of thousands of Raptors fans in ‘Jurassic Park’ for each of the team’s post season games and other significant international events.
About the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the city where basketball was born, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an independent non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting, preserving and celebrating the game of basketball at every level – men and women, amateur and professional players, coaches and contributors, both domestically and internationally. The Hall of Fame museum is home to more than 400 inductees and over 40,000 square feet of basketball history. Nearly 200,000 people visit the Hall of Fame museum each year to learn about the game, experience the interactive exhibits and test their skills on the Jerry Colangelo "Court of Dreams." Best known for its annual marquee Enshrinement Ceremony honoring the game’s elite, the Hall of Fame also operates over 70 high school and collegiate competitions annually throughout the country and abroad. For more information on the Basketball Hall of Fame organization, its museum and events, visit www.hoophall.com, follow @hoophall #NaismithClassic or call 1-877-4HOOPLA.