12-year Sam Holtz beat out more than 11.57 million contestants in the ESPN Bracket Challenge, finishing tied for the top spot as he missed just six games on the entire bracket. Unfortunately for Sam his age meant that he was ineligible for entry into random grand prize drawings for a trip to Maui and a $20,000 Best Buy gift card, but ESPN will be sending him a gift bag for his efforts.
The gift bag wasn’t the only prize Holtz received, as Best Buy decided to give him a $1,000 gift card which was a nice gesture on the company’s part. For anyone, receiving $1,000 to use in an electronics store can be an incredible thing given the number of available options. But Holtz didn’t think selfishly with his gift card.
In addition to getting himself an XBox One, Holtz also “purchased” one to donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation according to the Lake Zurich (Illinois) Courier.
“I decided to donate one of the XBox One systems to Make-A-Wish because of my cousin Alec,” Sam said. “When he was real little, he was in Make-A-Wish, and back then [23 years ago], people granted his wish of going to Disney World. I thought I’d kind of repay them for what they did for my cousin [who survived his illness and is now an adult].”
That’s an incredible gesture by Sam, as more than a few adults would focus solely on their desires when it comes to how they go about spending prize money. Instead of simply taking care of himself, Holtz made sure to look out for someone else as well. Well done, Sam.
Filling out a bracket in the aftermath of Selection Sunday is considered to be an annual tradition for many, doing it either for fun or to see how they match up against friends and experts alike. Of course there are also pools and contests, with major websites offering up a variety of prizes to winners that can include money and vacations.
12-year old Sam Holtz of Hawthorn Woods, Illinois managed to finish tied atop the ESPN Bracket Challenge, beating out more than 11.5 million people in the process. That’s quite the achievement for Holtz, who’s currently in sixth grade and missed just six games in the entire bracket.
Unfortunately for Holtz his age prevents him from being entered into the prize drawing, with there being a vacation to Maui and a $20,000 Best Buy gift card being the two prizes up for grabs in the random draw. ESPN rules state that entrants have to be 18 years of age or older in order to be eligible for the prizes.
Sam said ESPN officials told him he’s ineligible to be part of the drawing, but that they would send him a goody bag of ESPN items for coming in first.
The decision “irritated” him, Sam said, but he was “still proud of myself.”
With multiple media outlets looking to speak with him, Sam’s mother kept him home from school for a half-day Tuesday in order to handle the requests according to Lee Filas of the Daily-Herald. Congrats to Sam on his bracket, and hopefully he can duplicate this feat six years down the line when he’ll be eligible for the prizes offered.
Throughout this season many commenters, both here on the site and on other social mediums, have opined that they’ve got a better grasp on college basketball than the College Basketball Talk staff. Well, there’s one way to figure out whether or not that’s the truth: participating in our annual NCAA Tournament pool.
INSTANT ANALYSIS: East | West | South | Midwest
Once again we’ll be hosting a pool on the Yahoo Bracket Games site, and you can enter the pool here.
READ MORE: All of NBCSports.com’s NCAA tournament coverage
What does the winner receive? The satisfaction of knowing that they’re the best when it comes to picking games. And that’s worth something, right? And if you want to begin your own pool, that can be done here.
PRINTABLE BRACKET: Click here
Yahoo also has celebrity pools, in which you can test your knowledge against people such as New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul and actor Jeremy Piven.
At the conclusion of the Round of 64 just one perfect bracket remained on the Yahoo! website, with 23-year old Brad Binder picking all 32 games correctly. And through the first four games of the day Saturday Binder, who did not enter Warren Buffett’s Billion Dollar Bracket contest, was still in possession of a perfect bracket.
But the dream of going 63-0 in his selections came to an end with No. 11 Dayton’s 55-53 win over No. 3 Syracuse in Buffalo. While that’s probably disappointing for Binder, to start out 36-0 is nothing to scoff at given the nature of the NCAA tournament. What makes the achievement even more impressive is the fact that Binder told Yahoo! he spent no more than five minutes filling out the bracket.
The question now is how well Binder will fare throughout the remainder of the NCAA tournament, with his Final Four consisting of Florida, Oregon (who lost shortly after the Syracuse result), Michigan and Michigan State and the Spartans being his pick to win it all.
RELATED: East Region | South Region | Midwest Region | West Region
All season long, the commenters on this site and the folks that follow us on twitter have told us how much smarter they are and how much more they know about college basketball.
Well guess what?
Now you have a chance to prove it.
College Basketball Talk will be hosting an NCAA Tournament Pool over at Yahoo!’s Bracket Games, and you can join it right here.
There is no monetary prize, but there is plenty of pride on the line and, to be frank, pride is more valuable than dollars around these parts.
But hey, if you want to play your own game with your own friends, feel free. Just click here to start your own NCAA Tournament pool.
And don’t forget, you can win a billion dollars — yes, $1,000,000,000 — with a perfect bracket in Warren Buffett’s game here.