It was a picture perfect Saturday in El Paso as hopefuls took to the courts to battle it out in the Red Bull King of the Rock Ft. Bliss. This one-on-one basketball tournament is comprised of qualifiers all over the globe, with the top 64 players advancing to the finals held in The Yard on the island of Alcatraz on September 24. Red Bull King of the Rock is the only official sporting ever held on the Alcatraz and will be hosted by basketball superstar Rajon Rondo.
The event, which was the first Red Bull King of the Rock to be held on a military base, had enough hype to bring players out to secure a spot in the competition several hours before registration even opened.
Once shoes were laced up and whistles were blown, it was immediately apparent that this was serious business, and several hours of physical and aggressive one-on-one basketball followed. Some early games were blowouts, with a few “skunks,” where one player failed to score a single point. But as the day progressed, so did the remaining talent level, and the games became increasingly competitive. Evert Herriott, from the Charlie Company STB31AD, established himself as a major contender early in the competition battling deep in the post and out rebounding his competition. His constant pursuit to out hustle his competition showed as sweat poured off of his face at near 100 degree weather.
Anticipation started to build as the final four players took the courts. On the north court it was a shooting match as Ferron Sadiki and Brian Robinson traded a pair of shots in the opening minute. The even match play would not last long though as Sadiki would pull away with the tenacity of an Infantry Combat Soldier and secure a spot in the final.
On the South court it was the battle of the big men as Evert Herriott and Chauncey Mathis banged low in the post. In the end Evert Herriott out pivoted and out rebounded his opponent moving him into the title game.
Colonel Joseph A. Simonelli, Jr. the Garrison Commander made a special appearance to host the final coin toss. He thanked the players for participating and wished both players the best of luck in the final.
It was all Evert Herriott in the final game. Standing a good 5 inches taller than Sadiki he worked his way into the paint on each possession and converted 4 times until the clock sounded the final buzzer. Herriott shut his opponent out 8-0 and was crowned King of the Rock at Ft. Bliss. He will travel to Dallas on August 27th to compete for a spot to play on Alcatraz.
“This tournament was a chance of a lifetime ,” said Herriott. “I like how Red Bull gave us (the soldiers) a unique opportunity that we don’t get very often.” Sadiki said, “I was excited for the one on one format, I hope you do it again next year.”
First held in 2010, Red Bull King of the Rock is the only official sporting event ever held on Alcatraz and the first time basketball has been played on the hard concrete of The Rock since the inmates left the island more than 50 years ago. The tournament has grown from 6 qualifiers on the west coast in 2010 to qualifiers around the globe in 2011 (21 in the United States). Sixty-four contestants will emerge from the qualifiers and make their way to Alcatraz for the final showdown on September 24.
Red Bull King of the Rock is open to all ages, amateur and pro alike. Registration is first come first served at each qualifier, so players should arrive early to grab one of the coveted 64 spots. Players interested in competing should visit www.redbullusa.com/kingoftherock  for more information. Red Bull has teamed up with 24 Hour Fitness, Skull Candy, Dime Magazine and Reebok for this historic event.
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