Cicero The annual Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament held last month at Drivers Village raised about $20,000 for the CanTeen in Cicero, according to Vinny Hollopeter, who was on site at Wednesday’s Cicero Town Board meeting.
Hollopeter, president of the Friends of the CanTeen, shared the results of the tournament with the town board at the Sept. 12 meeting. The Canteen, which recently bought a house next to Cicero-North Syracuse High School, provides afterschool activities and a place for teens in grades eight through 12 to meet and socialize. The Friends of the CanTeen is a nonprofit organization that raises funds to support CanTeen operations.
“Our Friends group is 100 percent volunteer,” said Hollopeter, “Every nickel that we take in goes into the function of the CanTeen. We do dinners, kids’ programs, festivals, parades, different ways of raising money—bake sales and things like that. But by far, Gus Macker is our largest fund raiser each year.”
What began many years ago as Scott McNeal, who is Gus Macker, playing basketball in a driveway with friends is now a national organization with approximately 46 tournaments a year. The games are played three on three, with a fourth player as a substitute. Cicero has been hosting a tournament for three years now, and this year, the tournament welcomed 198 teams of four.
“There were 792 players and they come to play serious basketball,” said Holloway. “They’re aged 7 to 70 and this is probably one of the few opportunities that they get to play in organized tournament basketball.”
He also noted that the tournament attracts more than just the players themselves: “In addition to the 800 players, moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandmas, and grandpas come to town. They spend money, they’re there to support the teams, and with only a few exceptions, everybody had a good time that weekend.”