ESTERO, Fla. – When the Gulf Coast Showcase tips off for the third time during Thanksgiving week at Germain Arena, the action on the court will support Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Tournament promoter bd Global announced the new partnership between the NCAA Division I men’s and women’s tournament and the hospital, which is a part of Lee Memorial Health System.
“In all of our events, we look to impact the local community and partner with a charitable cause that will be a good fit with our teams and one that resonates locally,” said bd Global President Brooks Downing. “We are proud to be able to support Golisano Children’s Hospital as it continues to serve all of Southwest Florida with new facilities and additional care.
Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the only children’s hospital between Tampa and Miami and provides vital health care for the region’s sick and injured children and their families. The hospital currently boasts a 98-bed inpatient facility located within HealthPark Medical Center in south Lee County. Construction is currently underway on a new facility set to open in early 2017. The new building will provide 300,000 square feet of space, 128 pediatric and NICU beds with space to expand to 160 beds, a 17-bay emergency department, a freestanding pediatric pharmacy and in-hospital school classroom. The final round of fundraising is on-going with the $100 million goal close to being met.
“We are very appreciative of this wonderful partnership between bd Global and Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida,” said Ken Shoriak, system director of operations for Lee Memorial Health System Foundation, primary fundraising entity for Golisano Children’s Hospital. “The Gulf Coast Showcase represents an opportunity for fans of elite college basketball to come out and enjoy some great action, all while helping a great cause – lifesaving hospital care for local kids.”
The Gulf Coast Showcase tips off on Monday, Nov. 23 with the men’s tournament to be followed by the women’s tournament starting on Friday, Nov. 27. The weeklong event showcases the very best men’s mid-major programs and the elite women’s teams in two eight-team tournament brackets. This year’s men’s field is led by Murray State, Western Kentucky and Central Michigan while the women’s tournament boasts Top-25 powers Louisville, Stanford, Dayton and LSU.
The tournament plans to donate funding from each ticket sold and participating teams plan to visit the hospital during Thanksgiving week. Organizers indicated that Golisano Children’s Hospital will have a major presence at the event. Last year, the tournament drew nearly 20,000 fans from around the country.
Central Michigan may well come to Southwest Florida as the favorite in the Gulf Coast Showcase men’s tournament. The Chippewas return all five starters from a squad that won a share of the Mid-American Conference last season and was recently picked as the pre-season favorite to win the MAC this season. Murray State is picked to once again win its division of the Ohio Valley Conference coming off last season’s 29-6 finish.
Two of the nation’s Top-25 teams will be in action in the women’s tournament. Louisville enters the season ranked No. 8 in the pre-season USA Today Coaches Poll with Stanford coming in at No. 14. Dayton narrowly missed the Top-25 coming in at No. 27 in the poll after last season’s Elite Eight finish. Missouri State enters the new season with high expectations as the Lady Bears are the pre-season favorite to capture the Missouri Valley crown.
NBA Scouts Requesting Credentials
Several NBA teams will be represented at the Gulf Coast Showcase men’s tournament with a number of franchises requesting scouting credentials for the tournament. One of the top players in the tournament drawing attention is Weber State big man Joe Bolomboy, a 6-9, 235 lbs. senior, who is already the school’s all-time leader in blocked shots.
Travel Package and Ticket Information
Tickets for the 2015 Gulf Coast Showcase are on-sale now at GermainArena.com or through Ticketmaster. Single session tickets are on-sale now and range from $10 General Admission to $45 Courtside for each two-game session. All-Tournament passes for either the men’s tournament or women’s tournament will be available on that date for $89 or $139 per tournament. Each day of the tournament will feature an afternoon session (starts at 12 p.m. for men’s and 11 a.m. for women’s) and evening session (starts at 6 p.m. for men’s and 5 p.m. for women’s) and tickets will be good for both games of a given session. All-session passes have been on-sale since April and will continue to be available to fans.
For complete information, visit www.gulfcoastshowcase.com or follow on Twitter at @GCShowcase.