TV Spot Features Boys’ Hoopsters


Casey Miller, News Editor

Dick’s Sporting Goods will use footage of the boys’ basketball team for an upcoming television advertisement.  The footage was shot February 8-11.

The advertisement is set to air locally during March Madness, the annual NCAA mens’ hoops tournament.

According to Parent’s Club president and team parent Wendy Dunn, the squad found out about the commercial on Friday. “We were really kind of shocked, and we had to pull it together the next day. We rallied the boys, got the paperwork signed, and the school administration was really good about making sure we could get our facilities,” she said.

According to teacher Ken Ingersoll, the commercial was originally set to be filmed at a high school in Indiana. However, the superindendent kicked out the production company half way through the second day of filming. Under a deadline, director David Mercandante decided to go back to the school he graduated from: Campolindo.

“We had a lot of meetings with the guys who put everything together from the production company, as well as the athletic director Tom Renno, [vice principal] Scott Biezad, [principal] John Walker, and myself,” Dunn said.

The Dick’s Sporting Goods commercial, which will be airing on all major networks that broadcast March Madness games, will generate anywhere from $12,000 to $15,000 for Campolindo. According to Dunn, there will be no individual compensation. The money will go to “the  school in general.”

“I coordinate the boys, and now I’m the liaison between the production company and everyone else at Campo,” Dunn explained.

Junior Matt O’Reilly is the star. The commercial, which will likely be one minute long, will focus on the “Bobcats,” and  the struggles they face. As the ad progresses, the team overcomes obstacles and comes to appreciate how fortunate they are after serving in a soup kitchen and helping little boys. Eventually, the Bobcats understand that if they play as a team and help other people, they help themselves.

On Monday night, a crowd of nearly 50 Campolindo students and parents joined the camera crew, basketball team, and the “Williamson” team. Williamson, the Bobcats’ rivals, were composed of athletes from other DFAL teams.

Students wore all red, as the Bobcats’ jerseys were red like Campolindo’s actual uniforms.  Assistant director Paul Chabut instructed the crowd with every play, encouraging the cheerleaders to lead the famous “Cats Are Best” cheer, as it also applied to the Bobcats. Additionally, “I believe that we will win!” was chanted repeatedly.

Chabut said, “[Filming was] better than expected. The guys were great. The crowd was very helpful. It was nice for them to hang in there and help us out.”

Monday night’s filming took 2 and a half hours, and the boys’ team also spent hours at Tice Valley Gym filming earlier in the day. Over the weekend, players such as O’Reilly were filmed at the soup kitchen and later helping young boys learn to play basketball.

During Monday’s filming, each person in the crowd had to sign a release form and have their picture taken as part of the legalities of the commercial.

Varsity player Chris Hansen said, “There was a lot of goofing around among the players, but when it came time to be serious, we worked hard and everyone acted well. The crowd was great. It was just like a real game and was almost as fun as one.”

Director and cameraman, as well as Campolindo alumni, Mercandante said, “Everyone at Campo is really great, and the team is awesome. I loved working with Matt and his coach. [The crowd] was far more energetic than I thought they would be, considering that it was a fake game. I thought it was amazing that they were so into it.”

The crew consisted of Chabut, Mercandante, and Mercandante’s fiancee, co-director Katina Hubbard. “When they gave us directions, they seemed very friendly, and provided us with amazing lunches. They even played with us a little during breaks,” Hansen said.