The annual, open competition pays the winning team 1 million
Via WIL CREWS
Running for its third year, a group of Auburn Basketball alumni are coming together to compete for a grand prize of 1 million in the Basketball Tournament (TBT).
TBT is a winner-take-all, single-elimination basketball tournament featuring 64 teams from eight different regions, starting July 16 at New York City’s historic Rocker Park. The competition has been running since 2014.
The team in the tournament that has excited Auburn fans is “War Ready”. One version of the team had competed in the past two years, but both attempts came out smoothly in the first round. War Ready hopes to reverse that fate this year which still seems to be its strongest roster.
Former Auburn players in this year’s War Ready squad include: Danzel Purifoy (2015-20), Malik Dunbar (2017-19), Mustafa Heron (2016-18), Quantum Robinson (2005-09), TJ Dunans (2015). -17)) and – Headliner – Bryce Brown (2015-19). Other players on the team include: Chris Cockley (UAB), Isaiah Williams (Samford and Georgia State), Lewis Sullivan (UAB), Liam O’Reilly (Gardner-Webb) and Tim Quarterman (LSU).
With Williams and Brown having NBA experience on their resumes, the strength of this team lies in its backcourt. Heron (a former five-star recruit) and Dunes (second and third year standouts of the Bruce Pearl era at Auburn) reinforce the backcourt as former Auburn players. LSU’s Quartman, Robinson and O’Reilly give Team Warrior more guard depth to run teams on the floor with a shorter ball lineup. Purifoy, Dunbar, Kokle and Sullivan will provide shape and athleticism in the paint.
Honestly this is a make-or-break year for Team War Ready. By participating in TBT and generating a lot of discussion in years one and two, Auburn’s team of most alumni performed two ineffective performances. Enthusiasm began slowly when the team announced a comeback in 2022, but the addition of Heron and Brown to the team only increased it. Brown was announced as a player in 2021, but he was scratched from the playing roster just before the tournament.
Former Auburn player Frankie Sullivan returned as the team’s head coach and moved to the bench as last year’s player and former Tiger Laron Smith assistant coach. Jeremy Calzon is out of the coaching staff and Matt Moshela is the general manager for the third year.
This year, TBT includes recognizable names from the old days of college and the NBA. Zimmer Fredett, 33 – former BYU National Player of the Year and 10th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft – is the title of talent. Joining Freddie in the overtime elite team is also some of the new basketball talent – Auser and Amen Thompson brothers – are both predicted to pick lotteries in the 2023 NBA Draft. Former NBA players Omari Spellman and CJ Miles are two other notable names that include 71 players with NBA experience.
War Ready enters this year’s TBT as the No. 6 seed in the Charleston, West Virginia, regional. His first game will be against the Woko showtime, Wofford University alumni team. 2021 Team War Ready player Fletcher Maggie – one of the best 3-point shooters in college basketball of the last decade – is the team title. War Ready will begin its TBT journey on July 24 at 2 p.m.
Last year’s champion Bohem’s Army – the Syracuse University alumni team – returned to the field with an early favorite, along with Fredett’s overtime elite.
TBT is appealing to all basketball fans – especially those who have a soft spot for nostalgia in their hearts and can relive the ‘good-wet days’ – informal spectators will probably be confused if they tune in and watch the end of the game.
A game like TBT does not complete a traditional basketball game. In fact, the rules of the competition determine an end that completely shuts off the current clock. TBT is called “Ilam Ending”. Instead of saying the game is complete when the game clock strikes 0:00, TBT pauses the game when the game clock expires, adds eight points to the lead team’s score, and then the first team to reach the target score (game clock without A’s pressure) is declared the winner.
The point of the game’s finishing style is to minimize time-wasting plans and force teams to focus on getting stops. The result is a high level of end-game intensity and Annan’s emphasis on making shots. The modified way of finishing the game has gained so much popularity that the NBA implemented an alum ending in its all-star game in 2020.
TBT will end on August 2, 2022 at 8pm in Dayton, Ohio. All games will be shown on ESPN.