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Battle of the South Basketball Tournament starts today

Photo by Daniel Kay

Photo by Daniel Kay

ALBANY -- As if a game against streetball legends wasn't enough, area basketball fans will get another dose of intense hoops action today and tomorrow at Darton College.

The best part? It's free.

The 14th annual Battle of the South Basketball Tournament runs from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today, followed by a championship game at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

"It's nothing more than an inspirational tournament," said Fred Pickett, the event's founder. "A lot of people in Albany love basketball and a lot of kids don't get to see this kind of talent for free."

The talent will definitely be there, as former NBA players Donnell Harvey and Chris Porter are expected to participate, as well as overseas stars Jameel Watkins and Leon Rodgers, among others.

Pickett said the tournament, which features 22 teams of 10-to-12 players, has grown since he started it with just nine teams over a decade ago.

"It's actually gotten bigger and bigger and we've had to turn teams away," Pickett said. "I know people that take off work just to come and see it. I only do it once a year because it's tiring, but I enjoy it."

Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch is also expected to make an appearance.