Philadelphia University Regional Highlighted By Over 40 Former Big Five And Drexel Alums At July 17-19; Over 40 Players With NBA Experience In the National Field Including Nate Robinson, Jason Williams, Brian Scalabrine, and Hakim Warrick
BOSTON, MA – June 8, 2015 – The Basketball Tournament (TBT), a single-elimination, five-on-five winner-take-all, open-application tournament launched in 2014, today announced the 97 team field that will participate in the opening rounds of the 2015 event. The field will include no fewer than 125 players who have played in either the NBA or the NBA D-League, and over 500 with professional experience. Opening rounds begin July 10-12 in Atlanta and Los Angeles, and continue July 17-19 in Chicago and Philadelphia with the final 17 playing in Chicago again on July 23-25 before advancing on to New York to play for the Championship live on ESPN August 1 and 2. Many of the teams will be playing for a specific charity as well, with a portion of the winnings going to the cause of that team.
“To grow from 32 teams in 2014 to 97 teams in 2015 serves as a testament to the open tournament model,” said TBT Founder/CEO Jon Mugar. “There are an extraordinary amount of sports fanatics that want to step into the role of team owner or GM, build their own franchises from scratch, and compete in an event that pays off with live game coverage on ESPN.”
The event is stocked with a host of local talent:
NORTHEAST (Philadelphia: Philadelphia University July 17-19): This 24 team region will include alumni teams from Temple, La Salle, and Drexel. “The Bullies,” a Temple alumni team, will feature Ramone Moore, Dalton Pepper, Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson and T.J. DiLeo as well as 2013 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year Khalif Wyatt. LaSalle’s Sweet 16 stars from 2013, Ramon Galloway, Tyreek Duren and Tyrone Garland will team with recent graduates Jerrell Wright and Steve Zack, while a Drexel team of Chris Fouch, Frantz Massenat and Scott Rodgers will also look to compete for the title. "In addition to "The Bullies," former Temple Owls Dionte Christmas, Mardy Collins, and Mark Tyndale will compete for "TYGTAL." Former Villanova standouts James Bell, Antonio Pena, and Reggie Redding have teamed up on “Liberty Ballers” alongside former Temple Owl Ryan Brooks and St. Joe's Hawk Garrett Williamson.
In 2012, Lehigh upset Duke in the Round of 64 of the NCAA Tournament. Three starters from that team will be back together for TBT. While current Portland Trail Blazer C.J. McCollum won’t be in uniform, he’ll be supporting his former teammates as a booster. “The Wrecking Crew “name comes from the team’s attitude: blue-collar, hard-working and willing to do the dirty work.
In addition, former Syracuse players spanning 13 seasons will suit up for “Boeheim’s Army,” which includes Hakim Warrick, Donte Greene (himself a first round pick), and Eric Devendorf, who scored 1,680 career points with the Orange. Baltimore-based “City of Gods” will feature former New York Knicks Sweetney and Dermarr Johnson and will be coached by former Washington Wizards coach and Baltimore player development legend Joe Connelly, brother of Denver Nuggets GM Tim, and Pat, Asst GM of the Phoenix Suns. “Big Apple Basketball,” led by former Lakers guard Smush Parker, and “St. Anthony,” a team of alumni from the legendary Jersey City high school under Hall of Fame Coach Bob Hurley, will also be in the field.
“DMV’s Finest,” includes former Georgetown guards Austin Freeman and Chris Wright, with the addition of Jason Clark. Coaching "DMV’s Finest" will be Juan Dixon, who won the Most Outstanding Player in the 2002 Final Four at the University of Maryland and who played in the NBA for the Washington Wizards. The team will play in memory of Zach Lederer, the former Maryland manager, who used his battle against cancer to inspire the world with his strongman pose known as “Zaching.”
The other region-by-region breakdown is as follows:
SOUTH (Atlanta, Clayton State’s Athletics & Fitness Center, July 10-12): The region will have 24 teams, including former NBA player Damien Wilkins, and a team of University of Mississippi alumni on “TMD” led by Marshall Henderson, while the ESPY award winning teams from Mercer and FGCU that beat Duke and Georgetown respectively in the NCAA Tournament combined to form a team called "Bracket Busters" with the key players from each squad. A team of University of Oklahoma alumni organized by James Fraschilla with Willie Warren, Tony Crocker, and Ryan Wright will also be on hand, along with a University of Virginia alumni team with Darion Atkins, Akil Mitchell, and Mamadi Diane.
MIDWEST (Chicago, DePaul University’s McGrath-Phillips Arena, Midwest Regional July 17-19 and Super 17 July 23-25): Among the 24 teams, no fewer than six former Wisconsin Badgers including Mike Bruesewitz, Jordan Taylor, and Kammron Taylor team up with former Sacramento Kings swingman Royce White to form the "Bad Boys," with projected lottery pick and National POY Frank Kaminsky providing non-playing support. Former Indiana Hoosiers Christian Watford, Jordan Hulls, and Will Sheehey have teamed up on “Armored Athlete” alongside former Cleveland Cavalier big man, Alex Kirk. Under the late Rick Majerus, the Saint Louis Billikens reached unprecedented heights and six players recruited by Majerus have come together in TBT to honor their coach and celebrate their collegiate accomplishments. At the heart of that success was Dwayne Evans, Jordair Jett, and Mike McCall Jr., a group that contributed to 92 wins and three NCAA Tournaments. All three will return to the floor for the “Majerus SLU Crew,”' while former Knicks and Denver Nuggets forward Renaldo Balkman will lead the “Eberlein Drive” team.
The defending champion Notre Dame Fighting Alumni, led by former All BIG EAST players Tim Abromaitis, Luke Harangody, Ben Hansbrough, and Torin Francis, among others, have a bye and will participate automatically in the July 23-25 Super 17 as well.
WEST (Los Angeles, Cal State LA, July 10-12): The LA region will have 24 teams including “Grantland,” comprised of former NBA Champions Jason Williams, Brian Scalabrine, and Matt Bonner (serving as the GM) and coached by actor Michael Rappaport. Also in LA, three-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion Nate Robinson will be playing on "Seattle Pro Am" with Jamal Crawford serving as the booster for their team made up of Seattle area legends. The Los Angeles Lakers’ Nick Young will coach “LAUNFD,” the three-peat Drew League Champions, with former NBA players Dijon Thompson, Ike Diogu and Bobby Brown.
Amongst NCAA institutions, in addition to the groups of Wisconsin Virginia and Syracuse players, six Florida Gators (Erik Murphy, Matt Walsh, Matt Bonner (GM), Alex Tyus, Lee Humphrey, Jason Williams), three UConn Huskies (Josh Boone, Jerome Dyson, Ater Majok), and five Georgetown Hoyas (Clark, Freeman, Chris Wright, Brandon Bowman, and Sweetney), are also in the field.
317 teams applied to make the 97-team field, with each team consisting of a General Manager (GM), at least seven players, and 100+ fan votes. All players must be 18 or older and all games will be played under college rules with two 18-minute halves.
ABOUT THE BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Conceived by CEO Jonathan Mugar as the ultimate opportunity for fans, athletes and social media mavens to create teams and then participate in a high-stakes, professionally run and organized sporting event, The Basketball Tournament is a winner-take-all, single elimination, open competition for players 18 years of age or older. In its first season, The Basketball Tournament drew over 100 team entries from around the country with 32 teams ultimately making the field. Participants ranged from professional players and recent college talent to local legends and pickup basketball stars. An overwhelming success in its launch year, the event is expanding nationwide in 2015, and doubling its prize. Among the advisors for the event are sports industry veterans Tony Ponturo of Ponturo Management Group, Andy Dolich of Dolich Consulting, and Len DeLuca of Len DeLuca & Associates, LLC. For more details visit http://www.thetournament.com/
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