Columbia students get buckets


Kelly Wenzel

Justin Eddings, a freshman cinema art + science major, drives past defender Louis Lloyd, a freshman audio arts & acoustics major, to the basket in the first round of the tournament.

By Contributing Writer Abby Seitz

The Renegades hosted a 3-on-3 basketball tournament Nov. 12 at Roosevelt University’s Goodman Center, 501 S. Wabash Ave., where students battled it out on the court for free Jersey Mike’s sandwiches and a chance to win gift cards to various places.

The event was created three years ago to coincide with the NCAA March Madness Tournament—the annual college basketball national championship playoffs—and was so successful that as of this year, the Renegades began hosting the tournament every semester, according to Renegades President Mike Sempek, a senior television major.

Members of the first-place team were each awarded $25 Visa gift cards, the second-place team won $15 movie theater gift cards and $10 Subway gift cards were awarded to the third-place teams.

The tournament was open to both Columbia and Roosevelt students and teams participated in pickup games for the first two hours of the tournament before entering the playoff round. The first set of games had no impact on the teams’ ability to make the playoff round because there was no elimination or seeding period. 

Renegades Information Officer Ryan Miller, a junior marketing major, said the Renegades aim to make their events approachable for all students.  

 “[The Renegades] want to make fitness and athletics much more inviting and welcoming,” Miller said. “It’s not skill-intensive, it’s not cutthroat. We want everyone to come and have a good time.” 

Senior cinema art + science major Sean Shemerdiak saw the event on Columbia’s website and walked in. Erick Diaz, a sophomore cinema art + science major, and William Lynch, a freshman cinema art + science major, were on his team, which ended up winning the tournament in its entirety. 

“I’ve been wanting to play basketball down here for a while,” Shemerdiak said. “The 3-on-3 tournament sparked my interest, so I made sure to be here.” 

Sempek said he thinks the tournament would have been more enjoyable for its participants had the turnout measured up to the attendance of last year’s tournament held on Nov. 13, and that holding the tournament on a Wednesday night could have negatively impacted the turnout for this year’s tournament. 

However, last year’s tournament was also held on a Wednesday but saw 27 teams turn out to compete. The winning team received tickets to the Dec. 5, 2013, Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat game, as reported Nov. 18, 2013 by The Chronicle.

While the Renegades saw a smaller turnout this year than in previous years, with only six teams playing in the actual playoff round, Shemerdiak said he enjoyed playing with the smaller crowd.

“Since there weren’t that many teams, it ran really smoothly,” Shemerdiak said. “There was not a lot of waiting during games, which I liked. Everyone that came out had good sportsmanship. There wasn’t really any sore loser and no fights, which is great.”

Although Shemerdiak’s team won the tournament, he said the way the games are structured could set some teams up to fail by allowing teams to work the clock. 

[I’m] not a fan of the six-minute games,” Shemerdiak said. “I prefer playing up to a designated point value. Since it’s running on a time, teams can hold the ball and waste time. I’m not a fan of  that.”

Miller said by hosting these tournaments, the Renegades hope to attract more student interest in the athletic opportunities available at Columbia and minimize the negative attitude toward the sports community on campus. 

“Part of it is Columbia, as a whole, is an art school and [students] come here with a background in art,” Miller said. “We don’t come here for a thriving basketball or football team. We don’t come here for a team to follow. That’s not what I am doing, that’s not what I am interested in and it gets pushed in the background and [the Renegades] are just trying to bring [our] things to the foreground.”

William Massey, a junior audio arts & acoustics major, said he thinks the Renegades are doing a good job of growing a larger sports community. He said he has participated in the tournaments for two years and enjoys the opportunities events like this present for him to branch out and participate in sporting events on campus.

“I always want to get active and run around,” Massey said. “I like meeting new people that I haven’t seen before. I can see and meet other people that like sports, too.”

Miller said he hopes events like the tournament will continue to increase support throughout the campus for the Renegades and help to decrease the stigma he senses toward the athletes at the college.  

“[The Renegades are] the same as some of the great clubs we have here like the Muggles [and the] Doctor Who club—the Whovians,” Miller said. “Maybe this isn’t a four-year state university school, but it is the same. It is stuff like that where they are widely accepted, tons of people, great support, and we would like to bring ourselves forward more. [If students] bring some of that energy for us, [that] would be great—school support and things of that nature.”