“The Basketball Tournament” is a nationwide, winner-take-all, basketball tournament starting in July that will be broadcasted on ESPN. The winner-take-all prize mentioned? $2 million dollars.
12 teams with the most votes by June 1st from each region of the United States will enter the tournament to put their basketball skills to the ultimate test.
One team currently in the running for the prize isn’t like most other teams. Instead of splitting the potential $2 million dollar prize money amongst its players, coaches, and managers, they will be playing for their community.
The DuBois Dream, a team based out of small-town DuBois Pennsylvania, have decided, as a whole, to donate the money to benefit local causes; they will be playing for the Dr. Albert Varacallo Foundation and the Miracle Field Project coming to their town soon.
“This team is dreaming big by taking a chance on a national stage, and who knows once we get in what could happen. Even if we win that money it is not just being kept for the team, because this is not about the money; it will be going toward some great causes that can really help the community.” Said Albert Varacallo III, the team’s Manager and Small Forward.
The Dr. Albert Varacallo Foundation was formed in memory of the late Dr. Albert Varacallo, who passed away during a bicycle accident nearly six years ago. The foundation awards scholarships as well as helps people and families deal with sudden loss. The Miracle Field Project will be a baseball field designed to give children and adults with any type of special needs or disabilities the opportunity to play baseball.
“It is important to play for my dad’s foundation, because my family is attempting to turn a negative into a positive after his passing.” Said Varacallo. “We want to impact the community and families who have lost a loved one in a sudden and tragic manner like we did, by providing more support to them.” Varacallo also spoke on the less thought of challenges that come after a sudden loss, “We were lucky enough to be financially stable when my dad passed, so we would like to start providing more support in that way too to families who may not have been so lucky in a similar situation as we were.”
Albert Varacallo, a standout basketball player at his Alma Matter, DuBois Central Catholic, has been effortlessly recruiting players and voters across the country that he has met through college and the semi-pro basketball circuit to give the Dream the best shot at winning.
“Although we are coming from a small town that doesn’t mean we are dreaming small.”
Currently, the DuBois Dream is in 4th of 12 qualifying places in the Northeast region. The deadline to vote is June 1st, and the Dream could use every vote they can get to ensure a spot to participate in the tournament. Every time you vote you earn one point, and every fan you recruit to vote earns you another point; the top 100 fans will share $200,000 of the winning prize if their team wins. Click HERE to vote for the DuBois Dream.
“The more people vote, the more word spreads about our team and our causes, and then more people hear about our community and what we are about!”
Varacallo ended by giving thanks for being given this opprotunity. “I can’t thank the community enough for their love and support and continued prayers! All glory and honor goes to God for all of this though, because without Him we wouldn’t even be close to being in this position to make the Tournament, and none of this would be possible!”
Let’s Briefly Meet the Team
Currently the team consists of these 8 players with a few major surprises to come once the team makes the tournament. More to come on the players in the following weeks. Here is the link to the official team page.
Albert Varacallo (@AVaracallo3) – Brother of Dom. Played basketball at Washington &Jefferson College where he reached the Division 3 Tournament. After college, Albert became an attorney and continued his love for basketball with the semi-pro Steel City Yellow Jackets in the American Basketball Association.
Dom Varacallo (@DomVaracallo) – Brother of Albert. Was a standout basketball player in high school at DuBois Central Catholic where he was named 2008 Tri-County Sunday Player of the Year. Dom played college baseball at John Carroll University, but found his way back to basketball as he has been coaching at his Alma Matter since 2012.
Josip Lucic-Jozak (@DuBoisDream)– The “Croatian Sensation” is a 6’8” Power Forward who played basketball at Washington and Jefferson College and participated in the NCAA Division 3 Tournament. His basketball career included all-conference honors (3x first team and 1x second team), an ECAC championship, as well as finishing 5th all-time in scoring and top 10 in rebounding at W&J.
Louie Conde (@Lou13v) – Played basketball at Penn State DuBois. Was named PSUAC honorable mention in 2015. Was named PSUAC Student Athlete of the Week after posting game-highs of 38 points and 15 rebounds against Penn State Beaver.
Corey Shontz (@Cschontzy) – Played basketball at John Carroll University where he appeared in all 30 games as a freshman where he shot 48.4% from three. As a sophomore, Corey averaged 14.4 points/pg as well as 3.96 assists per game. Shontz scored a game-high 30 points on the road at Mount Union in 2010 and finished that year at 37.3% from three.
Nick Novak (@Nicky_Nov1) – Novak played basketball at the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown where he was the only player in WVIAC history with 2,000+ points, 500+ assists and a 55% career field goal percentage. Nick last played overseas with Ovarense Dolce Vita in Portugal.
Andre Anthony (@DreAnthony_) – Played basketball at the Clarion University of Pennsylvania where he scored 1,846 points, dished out 517 assists, grabbed 435 rebounds, and swiped 252 steals. You can watch his senior highlight tape HERE.
Henry Pwono (@DuBoisDream) – Played his sophomore year of basketball at Southwest Christian College where he averaged 16 points and 9 rebounds per as a sophomore on his way to earning all-conference honorable mention honors. Pwono transferred to East Central University in 2012 and played in all 26 games where he was second on the team in blocks. In 2013 Pwono averaged 11.9 points and 6.6 Rebounds per game.