Men’s teams from 11 communities and women’s squads from eight open play Friday in the four-day Martin Luther King Jr. basketball tournament at Patton Barracks gym in Heidelberg.

“This is the largest tournament we’ll have before the U.S. Forces tournament in March,” said Bobby Seaberry, who’ll be coaching Kaiserslautern’s women.

“It’s the only tournament before the finals where people can see teams from Holland, Turkey and England as well as Germany.”

The number of teams involved is the same as in past years, tournament director Thomas Benson said Tuesday, but the field’s reach has widened.

“This is a very popular tourney,” Benson said. “We have a broader field this year. Teams from across Europe are substituting for Army teams we’ve lost.”

The event begins with a women’s pool-play game pitting USAREUR Basketball League foes Heidelberg and Wiesbaden at 12:30 p.m. Friday, with opening ceremonies to follow at 2. The men get started at 2:30, when Heidelberg takes on Schweinfurt in a rematch of Sunday’s league game, won by Heidelberg 66-62 in overtime.

Play continues thereafter, with Friday’s final tip-off, Kaiserslautern vs. Schinnen, scheduled for 10 p.m.

Pool play resumes at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with final tip-offs on both days scheduled for 10:15 p.m.

Semifinal games are scheduled to begin at 12:45 p.m. Monday for the women and at 3:15 p.m. for the men. Championship games are to start at 5:45 p.m. for the women and 7 p.m. for the men. Admission to all games is free.

“It’s a lot of games,” Benson said about the 16-hour days he’s scheduled, “but if the teams want to play, we’re glad to have them. We enjoy what we’re doing.”

Diamond officials soughtLong-time European sports official Tomas Villegas is looking for umpires for this spring’s DODDS high school baseball and softball seasons throughout Europe.

Although play is not scheduled to begin until March 25, Villegas would like to line up as many potential umps as possible so that they can be trained before opening day.

Those interested should contact Villegas by phone at (+49) (0)6575-8495 or (+49) (0)170-205-9462, by e-mail at or, or by fax number at (+49) (0)6575-959969.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now