For everyone watching on ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPNU, the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational started on Mon., Nov. 24, and ended on Wed., Nov. 26.
Televised nationwide were Tyler Hansborough and the No. 1 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels winning the Maui Invitational’s First place Wayne Duke trophy by dominating one of the NCAA’s season opening tournaments with a 29.6 point margin of victory.
Aside from Kyle McAlarney’s 21 tournament three-pointers or Chaminade’s 81-79 near upset over Indiana, there was plenty of fun and competition outside of the Lahaina Civic Center.
For the players and coaches, the tournament started off Saturday night, Nov. 22, with the XBOX 360 Player’s Party. The teams were spoiled with a catered banquet that included chicken, pasta, and Philly cheese steak sandwiches. With at least eight big screen televisions, all equipped with XBOX 360’s and the newly released EA SPORTS NCAA Basketball 09, the two players from each team were entered into a video game tournament, trying their luck at the virtual version of the Maui Invitational.
Representing Chaminade University were Shane Hanson and Jamar Berry, whose first round match-ups were against North Carolina’s Ty Lawson and Mike Copeland, respectively. The 16-player tournament did not differ much from the events on the court. Copeland and Lawson defeated all competition and found themselves against each other in the final round, with Copeland coming out on top.
On Sunday morning, the coaches met with the media for a press conference followed by a charity free throw contest. The free throw contest, in which a student at a local junior high school was paired with a coach, earned the student’s schools prize money. Alabama’s head coach, Mark Gottfried, won the contest and earned $300 dollars for Lahaina’s Lokelani Intermediate School by making all five of his free throws, the only coach to do so.
The players and coaches were treated to a more formal dinner Sunday evening before the start of competition. The EA SPORTS Maui Invitational Tip-Off Banquet served the players and paid guests a steak and chicken dinner. Each coach gave a speech at the banquet.
North Carolina hall of fame coach Roy Williams said, “This is my favorite tournament to play in.”
Roy Williams has won the tournament twice before, in 1999 and 2004.
Indiana University’s new head coach, Tom Crean, participated in the tournament last year with Marquette University, who lost to Coach K and Duke in the championship game.
“This is a first-class event all the way… We’ve been nothing but pampered since we stepped off the plane,” said Crean.
Aside from dinner and speeches, it was announced that the Most Valuable Player award was to be named after Chaminade President, Sue Wesselkamper.
At the end of the tournament, the Dr. Sue Wesselkamper MVP award was given to Ty Lawson of the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Of the eight teams that participated in the tournament, which included North Carolina, Texas, Notre Dame, Alabama, Oregon, Saint Joseph’s, Indiana, and tournament host Chaminade, two teams, besides UNC, were nationally ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 (Texas No. 7 and Notre Dame No. 9). Alabama was the only Division I team in the tournament that did not make 2008 NCAA Tournament bids.
Chaminade University, a NCAA Division II team, was celebrating the 26th year since the team upset No. 1 ranked Virginia in 1982, which eventually led to the creation of what is now known as the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational hosted by Chaminade University. Chaminade was also coming off of their 2nd Pacific West Conference Championship in three years and a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Division II West Regional tournament.