Sunday, January 17, 2010

Dayton Airman Tournament Alive and Well

For 13 years, Al Powell (Pictured), a fixture in Dayton-area basketball and the founder of the Dayton Airman Basketball Program, has held his annual Dayton Airman Tournament during the Martin Luther King Holiday weekend. Powell's motivation for holding the tournament is two fold. First, Powell wants to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King by holding the tournament on his birthday, he also hopes the tournament "bridges the gap between the local basketball community and leagues. The Dayton basketball community is so divided," Powell said. This sentiment was echoed by Mark Landers, a long-time coach in the storied program. With the tournament, "kids from different parts of the Miami Valley get the opportunity to compete against each other," Landers said.

On Saturday I had the chance to take in some of the tournament action in the 6th grade division. This year, eighteen 4th, 5th and 6th grade teams participated in the 3-day tournament. Some of the programs participating in the event included: the Dayton Airmen, Beavercreek Stars, Centerville Hustle, Trotwood, New Birth Warriors, and the Dakota Swish. At the end of day-two, three teams stood at 2-0. The New Birth Warriors defeated the Beavercreek Stars White (33-17) and the Centerville Hustle (36-28) heading into bracket play. Beavercreek Stars Red defeated Game Faith (35-21) and Mad River to remain undefeated. Dayton White defeated the Dayton Airmen and the Beavercreek Stars White heading into Monday.

I also had the chance to check out a few of the state's top 6th graders. Let me start with Rodrick Caldwell, a 5'1 PG from Dayton (Westwood MS). This kid can play! Caldwell is a consummate floor general, as he has great vision and the ability and willingness to pass the ball to open teammates. Caldwell was unselfish, poised and played the game with great instincts. I thought Caldwell had an advanced skill set, including a tight handle, great one-on-one moves which he used to penetrate. Once he gets into the lane, often with a hesitation dribble, crossover or an in-and-out dribble, Caldwell has a nice looking floater. Other top players included Jelani Rogers, a 4'8 PG from Westerville (Blendon MS) and DJ Tyree, a 5'2 PG from Columbus (Galloway Ridge Elm), both of whom had standout performances. I did not get a chance to see Dayton White, the 3rd undefeated team, but I hope to get back down to the tournament on Monday to catch the championship game.


  1. Coach Powell and his Dayton Airmen tournament is a well run event that brings in some of the top talent in the state. I've often tried to get some of the top teams from Columbus area to come to Dayton every Martin Luther King weekend to play against some of the top teams from Dayton, Cincinnati, Springfield and Indiana. Keep up the good work Coach Powell and Coach Landers, you know me and my team will be there every year.

  2. Great 6th grade championship game yesterday. Great team play but even better individual performances. Look for my recap soon. Also, look for a feature on the the tournament MVP.