Intramurals are in full swing with nonstop competition

By Bryan Kennedy

If you thought the men’s basketball team’s recent wins against South Carolina and Tennessee were the only serious and competitive basketball games going on around campus, you would be wrong.

The UK Intramural Basketball League kicked off last week with the first games of 2008. The league annually offers an outlet for people to live hoop dreams without the eye of Head Coach Billy Gillispie hovering.

Over 181 teams will take to the courts at the Seaton Center over the next five weeks. Teams are divided into three different sections. The A-Division attracts a better grade of basketball players; those who chose to not play in the intramural-elite division have enlisted in the B-Division; and there is the fraternity league, which features teams consisting of players from the Greek community.

Most teams, especially in the A-Division, consist of players who have a history in basketball. Some were high school stars that aren’t tall or thick enough to play college ball but still have the skills to perform at a high level on the court. Even though there are all different skill levels of players, there is no doubt that there is at least one team that plays to win.

The most dominant team last year, and defending champion, is Team Owt of Control, which is sponsored by Owt of Control Entertainment. The team is led by its two captains, Josh Artis and B.J. Hazelwood. Together they led the team in a sweep for the intramural championship by winning the A-Division, defeating the fraternity league champion and defeating the Bluegrass Community and Technical College All-Star Team.

“We had it pretty easy last year and we ended up going undefeated overall,” said Hazelwood, a kinesiology senior. “We really only had one close game, and this year we’re looking to do the same.”

The team has several players who take the games very seriously, but still save room to enjoy the game.

“We have a good time,” said Artis, a communications senior. “But no one is playing like their life depends on it.”

Organizing the entire program takes a lot of work, but Charlie Burke, the intramural director, and his team of assistants have been successful in past years with running the league.

“With over 181 teams competing along with the fraternity league, it gets hard to organize,” Burke said, “but now since the teams pick their own time slots it’s a lot easier.”

The A-Division, which is made up of 30 teams, will compete in a five-week season concluding with a sudden death playoff. The tournament concludes with a championship game that usually draws a crowd.

“The championship game always attracts a crowd,” Burke said. “We clear off the courts and let the students file in and watch from the baselines.”

The champion goes on to play the winner of the fraternity league and then to play the all-star team from BCTC.

Although sign-ups are closed, students can still come to the Seaton Center free of charge to watch the games that begin at 5:30 p.m. and usually run until 11 p.m.

Team Owt of Control plays every Thursday at 8:30 p.m. Even though the team doesn’t take the game too seriously, the members are focused on winning.

“We come to have fun,” Artis said. “But of course it’s much more fun when you win.”