Philadelphia, PA and Boston, MA -- June 26, 2015 – The Basketball Tournament (TBT), the single-elimination, five-on-five, winner-take-all, open-application tournament launched in 2014, today unveiled a full digital streaming and highlights plan for all regional games from sites in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. In all, TBT will live stream 88 games, in addition to live ESPNU coverage of the Notre Dame Play-In Game and the quarterfinals from Chicago on July 25, and ESPN’s live coverage of the semifinals and championship from New York’s Fordham University on August 1 and 2. Talent for the ESPN telecasts will be announced the week of July 6.
“Every team competing in TBT started with a fan base who pledged their votes and who will win 5% of the $1 million prize if their team goes on to win,” said TBT Founder Jon Mugar. “Live streaming each of these games will be a great way for those fans to follow along live and route their favorite teams on, until their games appear on ESPN.”
Links to the live streams for all games from rounds 1-4 will be accessible from TheTournament.com Bracket page, which will launch on July 1, when the full schedule of matchups and game times for all 96 games will be announced. Nick Gryniewicz, a central Florida radio host, currently heard on ESPN Orlando, and Mike Ridaught, the voice of the University of North Florida Ospreys, will provide the calls for all the games, with special guests dropping in to provide added insight for a majority of the games. Highlights from all games will also be available through the TBT Facebook (Facebook.com/thetournament) and YouTube channels (YouTube.com/tbtbasketball).
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 (Clayton State University) and Los Angeles (Cal State Los Angeles), and continue July 17-19 in Chicago (DePaul University) and Philadelphia (Philadelphia University). The final 17 play in Chicago again from July 23-25 before advancing on to New York’s Fordham University to play for the Championship live on ESPN August 1 and 2.
Among the notable names and teams in the event in the L.A. region will be “Grantland,” comprised of former NBA Champions Jason Williams, Mike Bibby, 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 a 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.
In Atlanta, former NBA player Damien Wilkins, and a team of University of Mississippi alumni on “TMD” led by Marshall Henderson, while the key players from 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" in Atlanta.
In the Midwest, among the 24 teams, no fewer than six former Wisconsin Badgers including Mike Bruesewitz, Jordan Taylor, and Kammron Taylor teamed 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 All0Big 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.
In the Northeast, the 24 team region will include alumni teams from Temple, La Salle, and Drexel. 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, Assistant 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 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.
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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