The Basketball Tournament opens play today, and if you haven’t heard of it before and consider yourself a sports fan you should check it out.
Here’s how it works: Teams organize around the country and apply to play, if they get in they are slotted into a bracket — pretty standard tournament stuff. The catch is the winning team gets *$2 million* to split. Teams are made up of mostly former college players, and this year a group of West Virginia basketball alumni decided to get involved.
John Flowers did the heavy lifting and is listed on the team’s roster as a player/general manager. The rest of the roster, including the coaching staff, is a list of names sure to bring back fond memories for Mountaineer fans. Let’s take a look at the roster according to the TBT website:
Jarrod West – head coach
Billy Hahn – assistant coach
Dave Tallman – assistant coach
Greg Richardson – assistant coach
Pretty good team, no? When we got to speak with Bob Huggins a few weeks ago, I asked him what he thought of Best Virginia’s chances in TBT this year. The veteran WVU coach seems to think they have as good a shot as anyone.
“I really like it because they basically have a point guard and then four guys who can play multiple positions,” Huggins said. “It’s very similar. I just did a deal for John Flowers and I think it’s very similar to our Final Four team. Wellington Smith was our big at 6-foot-7. [Devin] Ebanks was 6-8 I guess. They were all interchangeable. You could switch everything because they could all guard. We just had Truck [Bryant] and [current Boston Celtics assistant coach Joe] Mazzulla alternate at point guard, and those were the only two worried about a switch happening. Joe Alexander, I was down there two days ago and Joe’s talking about how to guard ball screens — all the calls they’re going to make and that stuff. It’s fun watching and it’s fun having them around. A lot of them come around anyway, but one of them said, ‘Man coach, I should have came back here every summer.’ They have their own locker room, training room. They’ve got a guy who has worked for two NBA teams that knows what he’s doing working in the weight room. It’s perfect for them. They’ve got a hot tub, a cold tub, we’re going to put a sauna in for them — not just for them but for our other guys too. They’ve got everything they need [in Morgantown]. They can come here and rehab, they can come here and lift, they can come here to be in the gym and work out. It’s great for our guys to go in and see them working.”
Best Virginia will play in the Richmond Regional, with play there opening next Friday. BV’s first-round game is against a team of Old Dominion alumni called “Seven City Royalty” and will stream on ESPN3. The former Mountaineers have a pretty tough draw in the bracket. If they can get past the team of former ODU players, there is a likely clash with Overseas Elite in the second round. For those unaware, Overseas Elite has won TBT and it’s $2 million prize four consecutive years and features at least one familiar face — former Marshall and Iowa State standout DeAndre Kane.