June 24 , 2010
By Stephen Eckinger
Wooster Daily Record
When it comes to Dawg Days Summer League, Morgan Wenger does it all.
The Triway High School graduate and current Dalton resident manages the league, runs the website and even plays on one of the eight teams.
If that isn't enough, Wenger is also near the top of the league in scoring average.
Wenger began Dawg Days in 2006 as a three-on-three tournament, but opted to add a summer league this year.
"I always had a good response for the tournament, but it almost got to a point where the competition was so good that not that many people could participate," said Wenger, whose league wrapped up its regular season on Wednesday night. Dawg Days has typically been played outdoors at The Village Green Park in Dalton, but was moved inside to the Dalton YMCA because of rain last night.
"I wanted to do something where we could use our facilities and have a good tournament with more of a local flavor, so I came up with the idea of a summer league."
Wenger also trains two high school basketball players, Orrville's Zach Wasson and Dalton's Jordan Boak, and saw the summer league as a good opportunity for them.
"It is a chance for me to look at those kids in a 5-on-5 game situation," Wenger said. "I knew just because of the people I know in basketball that I would get enough good teams to make it beneficial for them."
Both Wasson and Boak's high school teams participate in Dawg Days, as does Massillon's prep squad. All three teams would be unable to play in Triway's Mark Kiper Summer League.
"I have respect for everybody at Triway, but the way they run their league is that the only high school kids allowed are Triway High School kids," Wenger said. "For me to get a look at the kids I work out with five, six days a week, I had to start my own thing."
Wenger anticipates Dawg Days will continue to expand in the future as word gets out about the league.
"We could hold more (teams)," he said. "I could hold 12 the way it is constructed now. I do have like three teams that have already contacted me about getting a team in next year."
Wenger wasn't sure what kind of response he would get for a summer league, but he has been satisfied with how things have gone in the inaugural season.
"We ended up having a great month because the mixture of the young guys keeping the old guys going with fresh legs, and the old guys keeping the young guys going by beating the tar out of them most of the time, has been a great mix," he said.
Josh Hendrix, a graduate of Waynedale High School who plays on the Bullfrogs, said he would be open to playing in Dawg Days next summer.
"Morgan's done a great job," Hendrix said. "He's got a lot of good talent out here. This is as good of talent as these high school kids are going to find."
Wenger's team, Wenger Tax Service, finished the regular season 5-2. He averaged 21 points per game, placing him second to only Daniel Zacour in scoring average, a stat Wenger wishes he could skew.
"I absolutely hate that I am near the scoring lead, but the worst case would be if we won the tournament," he said. "I'm glad Zacour is staying ahead of me. If I did get ahead of him I'd probably just lie and keep myself second."
Zacour plays on Taggart Law Firm, which features his three brothers, Paul, David, and Stephen, as well as former Orrville standout Brandon Short. They finished the regular season an undefeated 7-0 and look to be the team to beat in the postseason tournament on June 28-30.
"Coming out here two times a week is great," Zacour said. "It's the first year so the more the name gets out the better it will be."
After the Summer League ends, Wenger will turn to the fifth annual Dawg Days 3-on-3 Tournament, which will be played on August 7 and 8. The grand prize is $2,000 and Wenger will accept registrations until he has 32 teams signed up. For more details head to www.dawgdaysbasketball.com.
"So far with who I've talked to this might be the best year for that ever," Wenger said. "That is probably the most talent that is ever on a court in Wayne County in a year."
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