KC Keys

  Community Council, Inc. founded 1976Jan 2012


Keys National Tournament 5-8th - February 17-19, 2012

Arkansas HawksFebruary 2012 marks the19th Annual Best Invitational Tournament. Arkansas Hawks Coach, Kevin Howard says good competition and an exciting basketball atmosphere are some of the reasons the Keys tournament is their start up tournament for the year. Harrel Johnson puts some of the better teams together by super seeding the pools. That way its not watered down and you do not get anything out of the tournament. Its not only former Keys players who have grasp the idea of how basketball can open doors for higher education, teams that participate in the tournament do as well. The Arkansas Hawks are a great team who have won the Keys Best Basketball Invitational Tournament 3 years in a row, as well as Last Summers Las Vegas Fab 48, Reverend Rogers 5th Grade Tournament, and finished 4th in the country in 3rd grade and 8th in the country.

Of course the Hawks have a winning program Coach Howard has been coaching for 15 years and has been with the Hawks for 5 years. The previous 10 years he coached and ran the Arkansas Lakers Organization, that he played for and his step father founded. With the Lakers he won the 16 U National Championship and lost the semi-final game against Allen Iverson and Joe Smith's team at the 17 U Nationals in Winston Salem, NC. “My goal as a coach is to teach kids not only about basketball but about life and to help them receive a scholarship to college.” Says Howard “I have helped many kids that have come through both programs receive college scholarships. With the Lakers I helped 25 kids received scholarships. I have coached kids that are playing professionally right now.”

Calvin Wainwright KC Basketball Matriach for 30 years Speaks about Keys Tournament

Mr. Wainright slates the Keys Tournament as being, “the best home town tournament due to the Best Basketball Tournamentquality of the teams that come from out of town. Your team could be great but when tested by equal size and ability that changes your whole mind-set of your team. My son and his teams have always been challenged by playing in this tournament due to the caliber of teams that participate from Texas, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Arkansas.” Calvin Wainright explains his standards for basketball tournaments as a parent. “Regardless of where my sons or teams play I look for things to be right. “The Gym locations have clean floors, bathrooms, and a sense of security. The people at the door being family friendly and not just a bunch of people out to get paid or to be the new police in town. I look for the prices to be right, some of us just come to see our team play and then be gone or you may have a family of six or more, that could become to much money. I want to see officials that will not play favoritism towards the host team. I want everyone there to feel safe from rowdy fans, coaches, and players.”
Wainright sent his oldest son Ishmal, who has played in numerous Keys tournaments, to Montrost Prep School for the academics, spiritual, and national spotlight on basketball recruitment. “Right now Ish is working hard on his studies and sometimes when I call him he says dad can you call me back cause I'm still in tutoring or studying. While here at home at 9:00pm he would just be coming home from the gym texting or Facebook. Right now it is hard on all of us him there, but God has a plan for him.”

Michael Watson Keynote Speaker at Keys Tournament …… Leadership, Responsibility

Best Basketball TournamentNumerous Keys players have received college scholarships and went on to play basketball professionally an example is the Keynote Speaker for Saturdays Education Workshop Michael Watson.“My mother heard about the Keys Organization and wanted me to participate in as many sports as my heart desired. At the time baseball was my first love, I wanted nothing more than to be the next Frank White.” Recalls Michael Watson a former Keys Player. “I was seven years old when I began playing basketball competitively, basketball was my third favorite sport. The things I learned as a KC Key became invaluable life-long lessons as a professional basketball player. The KC Keys organization was life changing for a kid like myself; coming from the environment I grew up in, tough neighborhoods with trouble around every corner. Coach Harrel Johnson became a positive male role Michael Watsonmodel who showed me above all else, that he cared. I learned the fundamentals of each sport I participated in, as well as how to deal with anger, loss, frustration and eventually success.” Watson attend University of Missouri-Kansas City on a basketball scholarship. “I picked UMKC over nearly 60 other Division I offers from various colleges and universities across the United States. I left the school and Mid-Continent Conference's history as the All time leading scorer with 2488 points.” explains Watson, who went on to sign with the Boston Celtics of the NBA playing briefly before going to play in Poland, Italy, France, Turkey, and Puerto Rico. “I enjoyed a professional basketball career of over 7 years and got to travel the world playing the game I loved. Hard work, loyalty and dedication took me to places in the world I only read about in textbooks and saw on the television as kid.”

Michael has taken more than basketball away from his experience with the Keys, he has become a positive male role model in his community. He now speaks to youth all over the Kansas City metro area about the importance of their education and how valuable the game of basketball can be for their future. Watson has also formed a nonprofit organization called PaintTheCITY, which uses dunksports as an avenue to reach inner-city kids through a multi-sports summer camp enrichment series. “We teach them the tools necessary to compete on the field of play but more important than that, is the holistic approach we take with each youth. I care about their Spiritual, physical, and emotional states as I know I would not be the man I am today without the Grace of God on my life.”

The Best Invitational Tournament is a tool used by the Keys to elevate the basketball competition and bring national attention to the great basketball players in Kansas City Metro Area. For the last 18 years this tournament has “Shown our City that things of quality can happen within the Black Community. Encourages Calvin Wainright.

Join us at this years 19th Annual Best Invitational Tournament, February 3-5, 10-12, and 17-20 of 2012. Please register online at www.kckeys.org.



Click here for a retrospective of last year's tournament