Tournament Memories: Former High School Athletes Robert Gill and Sharrief Metoyer
Through the years, the Whataburger Basketball Tournament has hosted some amazing talent. In honor of the 60th anniversary, we caught up with two athletes who spent time on the court: Robert Gill and Sharrief Metoyer.
A look inside the Wilkerson Greines Activity Center where the Whataburger Basketball Tournament was once held.
Robert Gill is the only person in 60 years who has played, coached and officiated the Whataburger Basketball Tournament.
It all began on a December morning in 1964. A sixth-grader named Robert Gill and his cousin were dropped off at the entrance to the Westside Lions Club Basketball Tournament arena in Fort Worth, $5 in hand and excitement on their faces. They weren’t there to play, but to watch the tournament.
“We’d watch every game. I knew the players, they’d come by and talk to us and we’d freak out. It kind of makes me emotional because it meant that much to me,” says Gill.
And while he loved the excitement of being a spectator, Gil dreamed of the day he could play in the then Westside Lions Tournament. The dream was soon to come true.
“It really had a huge influence on me, watching that tournament at a young age,” says Gill. “I wanted to be like those guys that were playing in the tournament.”
A few years later, when Gill starred at Carter Riverside High School, he fulfilled his dream of playing in the Westside Lions Tournament, even earning all-tournament honors his senior year.
Gill remained connected with the Whataburger Basketball Tournament, coaching and eventually officiating games.
“This tournament wouldn’t be where it is today without the tournament of the 60s and 70s when it was the Westside Lions Tournament; it just couldn’t,” says Gill.
Sharrief Metoyer played in the tournament as a high school athlete and went on to coach Long Beach Poly where he returned with his team in 2009 and 2012. He also became a full-time teacher for two decades while running an inner-city baskeball program for Nike.
Sharrief Metoyer first played in the Whataburger Basketball Tournament in 1989 as a sophomore. Twenty years later, Metoyer had the privilege to coach the Long Beach Poly High School team to the very same tournament.
Metoyer’s Poly team advanced to the championship game in 2009 but lost in the final round. Three years later, in 2012 Long Beach Poly returned and won the title.
“I think it’s amazing to see the maturation process of 14,15,16-year-old kids using basketball as a tool to help them in other areas of life in terms of discipline and responsibility,” said Metoyer. “The tournament is first class, and getting that Whataburger at the end of games, well that’s an added plus.”