Wichita ready to support high-profile basketball tournament


Ron Baker, Fred VanVleet and Tekele Cotton congratulate each other in Saturday’s MVC Tournament victory over Evansville. The Shockers will celebrate their historic season on April 24 in Koch Arena.

The start of every basketball season brings new faces to the team. How are those players discovered and recruited? Part of the answer is coming to Wichita this summer.

The Mullen’s High Profile Tournament, along with the Mullens JC Showcase and Top 100 tournament, will be held in Wichita on Jul. 21-23.

Mullen Sports, the tournament’s organizers, hosts exposure events throughout the year to provide convenient recruiting opportunities for coaches. Several current Wichita State players, such as Landry Shamet and Darral Willis, have played in these tournaments, reports the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission.

Former Shockers Ron Baker, Darius Carter and Cleanthony Early were discovered by Wichita State through these showcases.

The Sports Commission, Wichita Hoops and Wichita Sports Forum combined efforts to bring the tournament to Wichita.

Bob Hanson, Sports Commission President and CEO, Bob Hanson, said the Sports Commission will help teams with travel, housing and meal expenses during their stay in Wichita.

“We’re an all service organization,” Hanson said. “We help facilitate events like this so that was what [Mullen Sports] really liked about us.”

The tournament is expected to feature 100 Amateur Athletic Union teams and more than 200 junior college players. The games will be spread throughout the weekend and will be played at the Wichita Hoops facility and the Wichita Sports Forum.

“This tournament will showcase the future stars of basketball, and we know the Wichita community will fully embrace this event,” Jerry Mullen, founder of Mullen Sports, said in a statement.

Carlos Perez Jr., General Manager of Wichita Hoops, is excited for the tournament to be held in Wichita.

“We host major tournaments on a regular basis,” Perez said. “We are ready to make Wichita the best location for the games.”

When it comes to the Wichita economy, Brian Hargrove, General Manager of the Wichita Sports Forum, said he expects the event to be instrumental for the city.

“It’ll be huge,” Hargrove said. “People staying in hotels, people buying gas, people eating at restaurants. The local economic impact should be very big from this event.”

The events in Wichita allows WSU coaches to attend a local event during the recruiting period in July. According to the Mullen Sports website, all three events feature teams that are on an invite-only basis.