After weeks of training at Fort Hood, the All-Army men’s basketball team traveled to Naval Station Mayport, Florida, June 1 for the 2019 Armed Forces Championship.
Over the week-long tournament, the All-Army team played a series of games against the All-Air Force, All-Navy and All-Marines teams before earning the No. 2 seed for the championship title game on Saturday against All-Navy.
The All-Army team went 3-3 in the round-robin games, sweeping both games against All-Air Force and winning the second game against All-Marines.
After winning the championship in 2016 and 2017, and with 2018 not having a tournament, the All-Army team was looking for a “three-peat” win this year.
Saturday’s championship game against All-Navy was a tight game. The two teams traded leads in the final seconds before All-Navy took the championship with a 75-73 win over All-Army.
“It was a very tough tournament,” All-Army head coach Capt. Carl Little, said. “Probably one of the toughest, if not the toughest, tournament I’ve been a part of since I’ve been coaching. Everybody was loaded with talent, played real hard. The tournament was even across the board.”
To spend all that time training and practicing with the goal of winning gold and falling short, was tough, Little said.
“It hurt for a little bit, but then in our perspective, there are teams that are leaving here with nothing,” he said. “So these guys worked really, really hard through adversity and they came out, we just didn’t come out on top. The Navy is a great team, they were the best team there this time, they beat us. I give them credit as well.”
At the end of the tournament, the tournament’s best players were selected to play on the USA team for the CISM World Games in Wuhan, China, in October. Two All-Army players were selected for the primary team — Spc. Derell Henderson and 1st Lt. Mamadou Seck. A few other players were selected as alternates for the team, Little added.
As Little readies for his retirement from the Army, this was his last year coaching the All-Army team. But that does not mean he is done with basketball. He is accepted a position as director of player development at North Carolina Central University men’s basketball.
“It’s been a great six-year run,” Little said of his time as head coach. “We’ve been fortunate to be in the championship game for every tournament. That’s always great, to have a chance to come out on top. I’m very appreciative of what All-Army Sports has done for me and the guys that I’ve coached and I look forward to them doing great things in the future.”