In the championship game of the first annual George Floyd Jr. Holiday Classic last week at North Central University, senior guard Braeden Carrington scored 35 points and senior backcourt mate Leo Torbor added 14, leading Park Center to a 67-65 victory over Minneapolis North, No.1 in Class 3A with Head Coach Larry McKenzie at the helm.
Park Center, coached by former Hopkins High School standout James Ware, is the No.1-ranked 4A boys’ basketball team. Senior guard Willie Wilson led the North with 22 points while fellow guard and classmate Jacob Butler added 14.
The classic was created by the Minnesota Black Basketball Coaches Association to honor Floyd, murdered by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was found guilty on May 25, 2020 of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter.
Floyd’s funeral was held at North Central, which answers the question of why the classic was held at the small university in Minneapolis.
Jack Yates High School’s team (Houston, TX), currently led by Head Coach Eddy Barlow, where Floyd starred in football and basketball during the early 1990s, and Orr Academy (Chicago, IL), led by Head Coach Louis Adams, also participated in the four-team tournament classic.
Carrington, who stands 6’3” and is a University of Minnesota men’s basketball signee, was named the George Floyd Jr. Holiday Classic MVP.
The classic, which will become an annual event, is a testament to the community honoring one of its own while creating and cultivating the legacy.
Adding to the authenticity of the classic, former Minneapolis North boys’ basketball standout PJ Hill, who went on to an outstanding collegiate career at Ohio State University, presented the championship trophy while showing his appreciation for being part of such an event.
“It was an honor to represent the city and give away the championship trophy at the 1st Annual George Floyd classic,” Hill posted on his Facebook page. “The turnout was amazing.”