SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - For the seventh year running, dozens of western Massachusetts high school basketball players are competing in a two-day memorial tournament in Springfield.
The annual "Richard Cunningham Holiday Classic" tipped off Friday night at the High School of Commerce.
The "Classic" funds a scholarship at New Leadership Charter School, and is named for Richard Cunningham, a former New Leadership player who was murdered out of state in 2006.
"The money goes to a scholarship for a student at New Leadership, usually a senior, that does great community work, is a good student and a good samaritan overall," New Leadership Charter School Athletic Director Wesley Jackson told 22News.
Yusuf Abdul-Ali played ball with Cunningham, and is now head coach for the East Longmeadow High School boys basketball team. Abdul-Ali remembers Cunningham fondly.
"I played with Rich since the seventh grade. And one thing about Rich, he was a feisty dude who would do everything. He would sacrifice his body, and he was just a fun guy to be around."
The purpose of the tournament is to honor Rich Cunningham and fund the scholarship for a deserving New Leadership student. Money is raised through admission fees.
Nine teams are participating this year. Day Two of the Classic tips off Saturday afternoon at 3:00 at the High School of Commerce.