Marcus Dilligard is coming home.
So are Jeremy Osborne and Nic Frericks. Mike Taylor has a history here. Brock Edris does, too.
The Quincy Shootout, the second-year event taking place this weekend at Blue Devil Gym, will bring together a collection of talent sure to awe the fans. It also will offer an opportunity for coaches to teach their players about the area in which they grew up or their ties to one of the nation's most celebrated programs.
It's why Dilligard jumped at the chance to bring his Victory Christian Central team from Charlotte, N.C., more than 800 miles to play two basketball games.
"Immediately, I was honored to come back and bring our team and compete in this," said Dilligard, an all-state forward at Highland High School in Ewing, Mo., before spending four seasons playing at Furman University. "It's a great event with great competition and great exposure.
"It is great to come back and see family and have family and friends come out to support our teams. It's a blessing."
Osborne won't have to travel quite as far, but the homecoming will be just as important.
A 2005 QHS graduate who played both football and basketball for the Blue Devils, Osborne will bring his Father Tolton squad from Columbia, Mo., to the shootout for the second straight year. The Trailblazers square off against Quincy Notre Dame on Saturday afternoon, with Osborne looking to stay perfect as a coach in Blue Devil Gym. The Trailblazers beat Brookfield Academy of Milwaukee 70-51 last year.
Osborne led the Blue Devils to a 19-9 record during his junior season when they won a Class AA regional championship. He averaged 7.5 points and 2.6 rebounds per game as a senior when the Blue Devils went 21-7 and won a Class AA regional championship in 2005.
One of his teammates was Frericks, a former Father Tolton assistant coach, now is the lead assistant at Hannibal and will be with the Pirates when they make their first appearance in the shootout at 9 a.m. Saturday against Victory Christian. It will put the spotlight on guard Dezi Jones, the Pirates' single-game, single-season and career scoring leader.
It also will be the first time Frericks will coach in the gym. He averaged 5.9 points and 5 rebounds per game in 2005.
Taylor is the older brother of former Quincy coach Sean Taylor, and he's brought his Marian Catholic team to Blue Devil Gym twice before. The Blue Devils earned a 65-61 victory in the 2005-06 season, but Mike got a revenge on his brother in 2013 when Marian Catholic won 60-39.
Edris is the head coach at Monroe City, Mo., and he has the Panthers ranked in the Class 3 state poll. He got his start as a two-sport standout at Carthage and went on to play basketball at John Wood Community College. This game affords him the opportunity to play in front of a few more friends and family than normal.
The goal for all of them is to see their teams compete and play at a high level.
"We're going to make sure we come there and play well," said Dilligard, a Class 2A all-state selection as a senior in 1997 and the Clarence Cannon Conference Player of the Year when he averaged 21.8 points and 12.8 rebounds per game as the Cougars reached the state quarterfinals.
"Anytime you get the chance to come back and play the game you love or coach the game you love, and the guys are playing hard in front of your family and friends, it's a blessing. You want to take advantage of every blessing in your life."