Street JAM may look like an ordinary three-on-three basketball tournament, but for some area students it means adding skills to their game.
Preparing for the tournament is key for players on each team. Marcus Astry, a 19-year-old who had formerly attended Pine Valley Central School, joked that, for him, preparing meant devouring a large Subway sandwich. However, for Astry's teammate, Jason Holland, an 18-year-old also from Pine Valley, it meant more.
"I've played a lot of in-town ball. Playing against other kids like this in-town ball really helps," Holland said.
Hundreds of Street JAM 3-on-3 teams are playing downtown this weekend. See more photos at cu.post-journal.com.
P-J photos by Scott Reagle
Saturday proved to be a windy day for those on the basketball courts, causing some to have to adjust their free throws to account for the weather.
"We've had to do a lot of shooting with the wind," Holland said.
However, despite conditions, Astry said that he enjoys participating in the tournament.
"Three-on-three is usually better competition than five-on-five. Everybody gets to touch the ball a lot more," Astry said.
Another one of Astry and Holland's teammates, Jason Stockmeyer, a 21-year-old from Forestville, said that the tournament could be considered practice for those that play on a school basketball team.
"It's extra practice against people that you don't know. They play harder at Street JAM," Stockmeyer said.
Comparing a street tournament to a school game, however, just doesn't happen. The boys said that the two are a lot different, especially in the older age brackets, where there are no referees to keep an eye on the game.
Playing in a street tournament also proves to be less pressure on players than a school game.
"For your school, I think it means a lot more, to be honest. It means a lot here, but playing at JCC for sectional championships is a lot different than this," Astry said.
Street JAM continues today at 9 a.m. on Third Street between Monroe and Washington. To view the tournament brackets or for more information, visit www.trcstreetjam.com.