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Facing a Tight Budget, Akron Cuts Back on Support of Shooting Stars Tournament

Dru Joyce
Dru Joyce Shooting Stars Classic
LeBron James' high school coach now runs the AAU tournament, which draws some of the top young talent in the country.

Akron is cutting some of its financial support for a basketball tournament that had been one of the largest draws of young talent in the country. 

The city has put up as much as $50,000 for the tournament, which drew 500 teams for the three-day competition. But the head of Akron’s parks and recreation department, John Valle, says that’s when Akron’s favorite son – and one of the biggest names in the NBA –

was associated with it.

“A couple years ago, this was the LeBron James Shooting Stars Classic. Last year was the first year that it was now called the Dru Joyce Shooting Stars Class. So I don’t know if the LeBron James name had some effect on it, but it may have.”

Faced with a tight city budget, Valle recommended Akron put up only $35,000 this year, along with the city parks department’s labor and other support totaling about $17,000.

Dru Joyce is the coach at James’ alma Mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary. Valle says the competition still will draw about 350 teams and their families and other supporters and will be worth more than $3 million to the region.

M.L. Schultze is a freelance journalist. She spent 25 years at The Repository in Canton where she was managing editor for nearly a decade, then served as WKSU's news director and digital editor until her retirement.