By Brandon Speck
CORINTH – The late Gerald Caveness made his mark on Mississippi basketball – and on his son, Gary.
Gary is now making his mark on the state – if not the South – with the Lighthouse Thanksgiving Classic, starting today at Corinth High School.
“With the contacts that we’ve had over the years through my dad and college basketball and all the people, we just felt like we could pull this off,” Caveness said.
Caveness, the executive director of Corinth’s Lighthouse Foundation and board VP Vince Overholt put together the 13-team, two-day event.
MaxPreps named the event one of the five best tournaments of the holiday weekend.
That includes four players in the ESPN 100 – Moss Point’s Devin Booker, a Kentucky commit and White Station, Tenn.’s Leron Black (Illinois) and Chris Chiozza (Florida) and Wenonah, Ala.’s Justin Coleman (Alabama). White Station is No. 12 in America. Its matchup with DeSoto, Texas, holds national ranking implications. There is local flair, too, led by the tournament opener at 12:30 p.m. with Tupelo taking on Biggersville.
It’s hereditary for Caveness, who played at Mississippi State and coaches AAU. His dad won five straight state titles at New Site from 1965-69. His team won the 1969 Grand Slam, despite the 1A school comprised of only 97 kids from kindergarten up.
“I don’t know too many people that love the game as much as I do and I’ve been around it all my life,” Caveness said. “It’s a beautiful way to raise money for the Lighthouse.”
More than a year in the making and through family and playing connections and research on major national tournaments like the Arby’s Classic and Penny Hardaway, it brings some of the best teams and players in America.
It’s a win-win for the teams, fans and the city. And it’s just getting started.
“Even though this is I think the best that’s ever been in North Mississippi as far as the lineup, I think next year will be even much better, “Caveness said. “We’ve made up our minds that we’re going to run the best tournament in the South.”