NEW YORK, NY - Ralph Baker, Jr. is the Executive Director of the NY Shock Exchange, a tournament at Columbia University in its fourth year.
Baker said that the concept didn't start out to be a tournament but only as a basketball team. "I coach my son," said Baker who started the team as way to get some exposure. Without the budget to travel, Baker brought the mountain to Muhammad, drawing teams from all over to participate in the tournament this year.
"Teams like the Gauchos, MetroHawks and the Panthers are able to travel; we didn't have that kinda budget," said Baker. Realizing that there wasn't any grassroots basketball tournament in New York City at the time, Baker started the NY Shock Exchange four years ago and managed to attract 30 teams from all over the nation. Baker admits that since he started his tournament, more NY based tournaments have popped up but the Shock Exchange has established their presence.
This year's tournament featured 37 teams. Quite a few local teams participated including L.I. Lightning, NYC Phoenix, Westchester Tigers, New Heights and the NY Falcons as well as Metro area squads such as the NJ Road Runners and the South Jersey Cannons. Out-of-State teams like the Nova Cavs from Virginia played as well. Even the Montreal Pyrahna from Canada came to play, adding an international pressence.
The event began on Saturday and NYCHoops.net was on hand to check out some of 17U action. A dominant showing by 6'11", Blaise Mbargorba from Cameron led the Roadrunners over the Lightning, 44-40.
In other action:
• Nova Cavs beat the Westchester Tigers, 56-46
• New Heights defeated the NY Falcons, 54-48
• NY Phoenix clips the Nova Cavs, 57-50
• NY Falcons crush Montreal Pyrahna
The Championships take place on Saturday.