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Santos hoops it up at Swedish Days 3-on-3 before heading east

Annual tournament provides camaraderie, tune-up

Published: Saturday, June 21, 2014 6:35 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014 2:54 p.m. CDT
(Jeff Krage for Shaw Media)
An increased turnout from last June highlighted Saturday's Swedish Days 3-on-3 basketball tournament in downtown Geneva.

GENEVA – While most people flock to Swedish Days for food, outdoor shopping and enjoying the weather, others converge on the outdoor basketball courts to participate in the 3-on-3 basketball tournaments for kids and adults.

Some do it for the fun and competition, while others use it to keep in shape and start preparing for the basketball season. Others like Geneva resident K.J. Santos.

Santos, a 6-foot-7 combo guard, is preparing to begin his junior season at South Kent School in Connecticut after he has reclassified his graduation year to 2016. Santos spent last season at Vermont Academy after spending his first two years at Geneva, where older sisters Ashley and Sidney starred before heading to college careers at Marquette and Oakland (Michigan), respectively.

Santos cited getting his body ready for his own eventual college basketball career and improving his grades as the reasoning behind his transfer.

“The [New England Preparatory School Athletic Council] is the best prep basketball league in the country,” Santos said. “I thought it would be good for me to play the best competition.”

Santos spent the afternoon dazzling the crowd with his perimeter shooting, and smooth ballhandling skills, demonstrating why colleges such as Florida and Miami (Florida), among others, are showing interest in him.

Santos has offers from Iowa, Xavier, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Penn State, Georgia Tech and Wake Forest. According to his Yahoo! Sports recruiting page, Santos also has received offers from DePaul, Rhode Island, Tulsa and VCU, as well.

“It makes me feel good all my hard work is paying off,” he said.

Earlier in the afternoon, in the 13-to-15 year-old bracket, four incoming Batavia freshman – Quinlan Hagen, Will Freiburger, Riley Cooper and Andrew Heinz – took home first place honors. The team has played in the tournament together the last couple years, and is preparing for eventual freshman team tryouts.

“It was fun…. there was no pressure and it was easy,” the foursome all agreed.

Participation in the summer tournament had increased this year after a down year in 2013, as it gives former teammates the opportunity to play with one another again. Recent Geneva graduate Jason D'Amico, a thrower for the track team, fits the bill.

D'Amico has competed in the tournament for the past few years and is set to throw at Wisconsin-Whitewater. He uses the tournament to keep in shape and have fun with his friends, while competing against foes with a “wide range of people and [abilities].”

The tournament is a great way “to bring the community together, and promote basketball in the area,” tournament director Keith Schmerer said.

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