By Stephen Baldwin, RealWV
Sean Hornbuckle, a delegate and financial planner from Huntington, began coaching his son’s basketball team when he was in third grade. Now, after seven years with the core of that same team still in place, Team Mayo went to South Carolina and won the top division in the Big Shots tournament last week against steep national competition.
“This was special,” says Coach Hornbuckle. “The kids will remember it for the rest of their lives.”
Big Shots is a national basketball circuit second only to the circuits run by the big shoe companies–Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour. The tournaments they host serve as breeding grounds higher competition where college coaches go to scout players.
“We won the platinum division, winning all four games in a week, beating an Adidas team and an Under Armour team,” Hornbuckle recounts. “It was pretty doggone cool.”
Team Mayo is named for O.J. Mayo, a Huntington native who played in the National Basketball Association for years and continue to play professionally overseas today. He supports the team as a way of supporting the community in his hometown.
Team members include: Tyson Lalonde (Ashland HS), Shaun Terry II (Ironton HS), Tristan Hornbuckle (Huntington High), Malichi Faulk 3 (Huntington High), Shalik Hampton (Hurricane High), Nick Wilson ( Huntington High), Cole Hicks (Boyd County), & Jaden Stewart ( Pike Central).
Coach Hornbuckle gushes when talking about what makes this team special. “I’ve got kids from all over the tri-state area representing West Virginia. When they won this tournament in double-overtime with a game-winning shot, they were screaming 304 to the top of their lungs. That’s everything.”
He anticipates at least half the team will go on to play at the collegiate level, with some playing other sports as well.
“Tyson Lalonde has already received college offers. Shaun Terry is freaky fast and will probably be an NFL receiver. Tristan Hornbuckle is a lights out shooter and wonderful teammate. Malichi Faulk 3 is a baseball prospect and defensive spark plug. Shalik Hampton is a Division 1 tight end and defensive end prospect. He’s a man child. Nick Wilson exemplifies toughness and is our PJ Tucker. Cole Hicks was the MVP of the platinum division and is a dog. Jaden Stewart hit the game winner and has been playing varsity since 7th grade.”
It’s not just about sports for Team Mayo, though. Hornbuckle institutes a serious GPA rule. If players don’t keep their grades up, he suspends them from basketball activities and requires them to receive tutoring in academics.
“These are the building blocks to have successful young men,” he says, “and I’m glad to be part of it.”