What is better than a high-profile tournament in Phoenix featuring all four Arizona and Arizona State basketball teams? That opportunity to get more eyes on basketball in the Grand Canyon State is on the schedule this December according to Wednesday’s announcement by Position Sports and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The Wildcats men’s and women’s teams will join the Sun Devils men’s and women’s teams in facing off against national competition in the Jerry Colangelo Hall of Fame Series.
Reports in March indicated that the Arizona men’s team would play Alabama in Phoenix this year, but the details weren’t known then. Since then, former Alabama guard Jaden Bradley transferred to Arizona, allowing him to face his former school early in his sophomore season.
The women’s involvement in the event was unknown until Wednesday, but it includes a game that Arizona head coach Adia Barnes has been trying to get on the schedule for the past few years. The Wildcats face Gonzaga, a team they were reportedly going to play during the 2020-21 season. The disruption caused by the pandemic kept pushing the game back. It will finally go forward in 2023 when the two teams meet on Dec. 20 in the Footprint Center.
“I feel like there are not enough tournaments and recognition on the West Coast, so we want these tournaments with marquee games,” Barnes said in Arizona’s press release. “For us, it’s a big game against Gonzaga, and people are going to see some really good basketball. I love being part of anything the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame does, and it’s a great weekend to do it because there’s a great tournament in Phoenix with the TOC. We moved some things around to play in the tournament and are so excited to play in it!”
The Hall of Fame Series consists of five tournaments across the U.S. and Canada in November and December. It includes tournaments in Las Vegas on Nov. 6, Charlotte, NC on Nov. 10, San Antonio on Dec. 16, Toronto on Dec. 9, and Phoenix on Dec. 20. A total of 10 women’s and 20 men’s teams will participate.
In addition to the Arizona women playing Gonzaga and the Arizona men facing Alabama, the tournament in Phoenix features the ASU women against Fresno State and the ASU men against Northwestern.