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NCAA tournament in Moncton expected to be a slam dunk

By Tara Clow Nov 17, 2023 | 12:41 PM

Quick-paced, high-scoring games are planned at the Avenir Centre this weekend.

Over 200 international athletes will take the court during the Atlantic Slam in Moncton.

Co-Chair Roberto DiDonato says this is exactly what the local basketball community needs, “The basketball community is starving for some basketball. We haven’t seen basketball in our community at this level in a very long time. We’ll see some great athletes play and appreciate the student-athletes from Yale University, Colgate, Weber State and from Gardner Webb. These are all people coming from far away to come play basketball. It’s a good way for us to sell our city.”

This is the first time NCAA basketball has come to Atlantic Canada.

“If anybody knows anything about sports, they know March Madness, and these teams all played in March Madness in the past four to five years. Yale was there, Colgate was there last year, and Weber State has players going to the first round of the NBA this year. That tells you the quality of basketball that is going to be played, and for young kids to be exposed to this, they’re going to learn from it. They’re going to leave with a smile,” DiDonato adds.

Atlantic Slam is also hosting a prep school basketball showcase featuring three of the best Canadian teams (Orangeville Prep, Rothesay Netherwood, United Scholastic Academy) and CZ Academy, a top European team from the Czech Republic.

The Ian Fowler Oval, outside the Avenir Centre, will also offer an opportunity for entertainment beyond the basketball court. The community is invited to test their basketball skills at the outdoor nets with Moncton Minor Basketball and groove to beats curated by DJ Mobaws.

DiDonato adds these will be some fast-paced games with action flowing back and forth across the court.

Tickets are still available at prices ranging from $25 all the way up to $135.

“What’s also great is that the players are staying at the Delta, so they’re walking back and forth. For a young child to see a seven-foot-tall man, it’s an adventure. It’s quite something to see somebody that height,” DiDonato says.