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BUZZKILL tourney is becoming a Davidson tradition

These Bailey Middle School girls snagged a photo with Steph Curry. That's Bella Shea of Davidson (left) and Caroline Swanner of Huntersville (right). Mom Tricia Swanner took their photo. (David Boraks/

This weekend’s event at Belk Arena raised about $47,000 for Africa charities, including one that sends mosquito nets to fight malaria.

fund-raisers bugA pair of red and black Stephen Curry basketball shoes auctioned for $1,200, four teams of young basketball players raised more than $1,000 each, and one individual donor forked over $10,000 at a Saturday night dinner to help this weekend’s 3rd annual BUZZKILL 3-on-3 basketball tournament raise more than $40,000 to help fight malaria in Africa.

Twenty-three teams and about 75 kids in grades 3-8 were at Davidson College’s Belk Arena Sunday afternoon to play in a double-elimination tournament.

The tourney followed the first-ever BUZZKILL benefit dinner on Saturday night, which attracted 167 guests and featured Davidson men’s basketball coach Bob McKillop as auctioneer. At the auction, one lucky bidder snagged a pair of shoes that Curry, a former Wildcat and now NBA basketball star, wore at this year’s NBA All-Star weekend Taco Bell Skills Challenge. Also up for auction were a round of golf with Curry

The tournament was founded in 2009 by Davidson basketball player Bryant Barr, and for some young local basketball players and their families, it’s becoming an annual tradition. And that’s a good thing for the tournament’s charities.

“We get a lot of people coming back year after year now,” Barr said amid the sound of bouncing basketballs and buzzers Sunday afternoon. Some kids who played in the first tourney three years ago were back again, with young siblings now old enough to play, he said.

Grayson Hickert, 11, and his teammates from Lake Norman Charter School were on the No. 2 fund-raising team that picked Barr as their coach. Some of the players also had Barr coach them the year before.

“It was really fun and for a good cause,” Grayson said after his team was knocked out of the tourney.

Altogether, this year’s BUZZKILL tournament raised at least $47,000, Barr said Sunday. The first $10,000 of that has been pledged to Freedom From Hunger, a California-based nonprofit providing health education and microfinancing for women in Africa. The remainder will go again this year to Nothing But Nets, a charity that provides mosquito nets to prevent malaria in Africa.

Mr. Barr is now living in Chicago, where he is a retirement actuary for Mercer, a global human resources company. On the side, he’s also the president of the BUZZKILL Foundation, which gained nonprofit status last summer.

Mr. Barr says one $10 bed net can protect a family of four for three years. “The statistics are pretty amazing,” Barr said a few weeks ago as he began promoting the event. “On average, every 30 seconds there’s a child dying due to a Malaria-related illness. And it’s 100 percent preventable.”


It helped that the tournament had some real star power. Barr, a 2010 Davidson grad whose nickname as a Wildcat was the White Lobster, drafted a variety of former teammates to join him again this year. They also had help coaching the young teams from current Davidson College men and women players.

Teams were asked to raise extra money before the tournament from donors and sponsors. The biggest fund-raisers got to pick their coaches first. went first. A team that raised $1,600 went first, and picked Curry. Barr was the No. 2 coach drafted, while their former teammate Andrew Lovedale was drafted third.


Info about the fund-raiser can be found at



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David Boraks is the founder and editor of Davidson News LLC, which started in 2006 as a neighborhood blog and evolved into a regional community news network. He is a print, magazine, web and radio journalist, with experience in every nook and cranny of the news world, covering everything from local news to Fortune 100 companies to technology to Asia. He lives on South Street in Davidson, in a house that was at the center of a 1914 murder case. Ask him and he'll tell you that story.

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