Bluff City Classic returns from forced hiatus - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Bluff City Classic returns from forced hiatus

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

It's hard to keep a summer staple of the Mid-South down for so long.

The Bluff City Classic ( summer basketball tournament returned Tuesday after gun violence  forced its hiatus in 2012.

The fatal shooting happened just blocks away from the gym at LeMoyne-Owen College.

"I know The Bluff is a pretty big deal here in Memphis," said former U of Memphis Tiger Will Coleman. "I am sure the people that do attend it on a yearly basis are glad to have it back."

The Bluff City Classic has been around for decades and has now relocated to Southwest Tennessee Community College  in the city, with dunks in the air and plenty of security on the ground.

Bluff City Classic faces cloudy future following shooting

"I come to see some of the players," said James Muhammad, basketball fan. "I watched from Sheffield, Melrose, watched them come home in the summer and play."

The caliber of athletic talent from college stars and NBA hopefuls is as impressive as ever.

NBA Draft hopeful D.J. Stephens said the crowd excitement at The Bluff has been the most memorable.

"All the excitement the crowd got from my dunks," he said.

In 2012 play came to an abrupt end. A fatal shooting in the community surrounding LeMoyne-Owen College, where the tournament took place, prompted organizers to cancel the summer sport staple.

"I don't minimize the fact that someone lost their life, but you can't discount the fact a lot of young people depend on this league for their employment," said Stanley Blue of Bluff City Classic.

This tournament switched neighborhoods from LeMoyne-Owen to STCC, where the security is tighter.

"It's a little more strict, enforced," Coleman said. "The police are more enforced."

The classic is back and so is the talent.

"I am thinking it is going to be a pretty good year this year," said The Classic's DeRay Bone. "I hope it will be a good year."

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