Story by: Blake Sandlin, Assistant Sports Editor
The Murray State athletic department announced plans to hold the fourth annual Racer Hoopalooza in honor of Murray State Hall of Fame power forward Popeye Jones.
The event is set for Aug. 4-5 and will assemble past players, coaches and managers for a two-day reunion packed full of activities for both fans and alumni. The event will kick off Friday, Aug. 4 with a reception and dinner, followed by a golf scramble and pick-up basketball games on Saturday.
Hoopalooza will not only be a time for former Racers to reminisce on the past, but will also serve as a time to honor a player who put Murray State’s basketball team on the map.
“The 2017 Racer Hoopalooza event will mark the 25th year since Popeye Jones concluded his illustrious playing career at Murray State,” Head Coach Matt McMahon said. “This is the perfect time to celebrate and honor one of the all-time great Racers.”
Jones was born in Dresden, Tennessee, and led the Racers to the NCAA Tournament during the 1991 season. He currently ranks fourth on Murray State’s all-time scoring list with 2,057 points. In the 1990 season Jones led the NCAA in rebounds, and still holds the all-time rebounding record at the school today.
After Murray State, Jones went on to play professionally for 11 years, playing for the Mavericks, Raptors, Celtics, Nuggets, Wizards and Warriors. After his playing career, he joined the coaching ranks and has spent the last three seasons as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers.
Jones said the opportunity to be honored 25 years after playing at Murray State is an experience he is eagerly awaiting.
“It was a joy to catch up with not only the guys I played with [at the first Hoopalooza], but also the people that support Murray State,” Jones said. “I’m looking forward to coming back to Murray again and seeing them laughing and giggling talking about the old times. It’s always a joy.”
The first Racer Hoopalooza was held in 2013, a tradition started by then Head Coach Steve Prohm.
“Coach Steve Prohm deserves all the credit for creating and building the special Hoopalooza reunion event recognizing the championship tradition at Murray State, the elite players and coaches to come through here and the amazing fan base we call Racer Nation,”