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Old Dominion University men's basketball squad will open the 2006-07 season, hosting the Cox Communications Classic in the Ted Constant Convocation Center, Nov. 10-12. The four team round-robin event will include Clemson, Monmouth, Arkansas State and host ODU. There will be two games each day.

"We are thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of the inaugural Cox Communications Classic Basketball Invitational at Old Dominion University," says Gary McCollum, Vice President and region manager, Cox Hampton Roads. "Our community Outreach focuses on youth and education and this basketball tournament embraces both of these community involvement priorities, making it a win-win for Cox, ODU and Hampton Roads."

The tournament, presented by Basketball Travelers, is an NCAA multiple team event, a new concept which replaces the previous exempt events and now allows teams to play in one MTE event per year, as opposed to the previous 2 in 4 rule. Last season, ODU opened its schedule at the Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands, another event hosted by Basketball Travelers.

"I am excited that Cox Communications will sponsor the men's basketball tournament opening the 2006-07 season at the Constant Center," said athletic director, Jim Jarrett. "The Cox Communications sponsorship will continue throughout the men's and women's basketball season with a strong corporate presence at the "Ted". Many thanks to Frank Bowers, Tom Prevette and Gary McCollum for their outstanding support of our partnership."

Clemson, coached by ODU alumnus Oliver Purnell ('75), a member of the ODU Sports Hall of Fame and captain of the 1975 NCAA Division II National championship squad was 19-13 and competed in the NIT tournament, losing to Louisville in the first round. This is Purnell's second trip to the Constant Center. He brought his Dayton Flyers squad to the Ted in 2002-03 season. Top returnees include Cliff Hammonds (6-3, Sr, guard 10.1 ppg/ 3.4 rpg) and James Mays (6-9, Sr, forward 9.2 ppg/ 7.6 rpg).

The Monmouth Hawks, coached by Dave Calloway were 14-13 last year, winning the Northeast Conference title with a 49-48 win over league top seed Fairleigh Dickinson. The Hawks then defeated Hampton, 71-49 in the NCAA play-in round at Dayton before losing to Villanova. Top returnees include Marques Alston (Sr, 6-4, F. 11.6 ppg/ 5.3 rpg ) John Bunch (Sr, C,7-2 , 8.0 ppg/ 5.2 rpg, 74 blocks)

The Arkansas State Indians, coached by two-time NABC District 9 Coach of the Year, Dickey Nutt were 12-18 last year, finishing third in the Sun Belt East Division at 7-7. They return Jim Jones (6-2, G, 12.4 ppg/ 4.4 rpg), and Isaac Wells (6-7, F, 14.4 ppg/ 6.8 rpg) who ranked ninth in the Sun Belt in scoring and seventh in rebounding.

"This is a tremendous statement that an entity such as Cox sees the opportunity that a partnership with Old Dominion Basketball presents, " said ODU head coach Blaine Taylor. "We are very proud of what we are building here at ODU, and want to be consistently identified with the kind of people that represent Cox Communications and the image they project in reaching out to the Hampton Roads Community. This tournament provides a great kickoff to the 2006-07 season with such a reputable title sponsor and having one of ODU's great's like Oliver Purnell bring his Clemson team. This makes for three fun fill days of basketball."

The Monarchs were 24-10 last year, reaching the NIT semi-finals.

ODU returns three starters in point guard Drew Williamson (Sr.7.3 ppg, 4.8 apg), forward Arnaud Dahi (Sr. 11.9 ppg/ 4.8 rpg) and guard Brian Henderson (Jr. 6.0 ppg/ 2.7 rpg) as well as part-time starter forward Valdas Vasylius (Sr, 8.8 ppg/ 4.5. rpg). ODU has compiled a 52-16 record the past two seasons.

The tournament falls under the guidelines for new certified events for men's basketball. Each team cannot play more than four games in an event and the tournament counts as only one game against your 29 possible games allowed.

Tournament adult ticket books are $45 for all three days ($40 for early orders). Discount ticket books are $35 ($30 for early orders) for military and senior citizens. Individual session tickets are $20 for adults, discount of $15 for senior citizens, military, faculty /staff and youth 17 and under. For ticket information please call the Constant Center box office at 757-683-4444.

This article was posted on: June 28, 2006

Old Dominion University
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Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.