Back in February when The Basketball Tournament was just a plan, I wondered what type of talent it might attract. Turns out the answer is quite a bit. Now you need to pick a favorite before rosters lock at noon EST on May 1.
I personally decided to go with nostalgia and put my bets behind Cornell’s Sweet 16 team. But here’s a quick rundown of some teams currently in the Top 24 – which automatically get in – of fans and players you might be interested in backing.
Team Barstool – #1 in Fans: Backing this team is like backing the house in Vegas. It includes former Rutgers guard Quincy Douby, former Providence and NBA player Ryan Gomes, former UConn forward Josh Boone, plus Dahntay Jones, Andre Barrett and Shavlik Randolph. They’re absolutely loaded with former NBA and Division I talent. Which is probably why they have so many backers.
Philly Patriots – #2 in Fans: Of note for NCAA basketball fans. Former Penn forward Fran Dougherty is playing (there are a lot of Philly guys since the tourney is Philly based) and he’s teaming up with former Virginia guard Sean Singletary. I have a tabletop basketball simulation of the ACC for one of the seasons Singletary was there. Trust me. He was awesome. There’s a bunch of other former UVA players on this squad too.
Barstool Sports Philly – #3 in Fans: You’ll find a bunch of former Saint Joseph’s players, including Langston Galloway, C.J. Aiken, and Halil Kanacevic on this roster. Could be a fun team to root for.
Olivet Nazarene University Tigers – #6 in Fans: This is just fun that an NAIA team is coming together to try and prove that they can play against teams with a ton of talent from “more traditional” sources. The team includes two 1,000-point scorers at ONU. Also, ONU has given Northwestern and Loyola (IL) trouble during exhibition games before. Now they get a chance to go out and prove it. I bet they’ll be hungry.
NYCSuperStars – #8 in Fans: John Holland and Patrick Hazel, both former Boston University forwards, are slated to play for the NYCSuperStars. Holland has been playing in Europe since his prolific America East career ended and they’ll have some legit size. So I wouldn’t count this team out.
SHOWTIME – #9 in Fans: For NEC fans former Mount St. Mary’s forward Raven Barber is a power forward on this team. The team contains some other former Division I players as well. They got a shout out in this article from Mashable.
Notre Dame Fighting Alumni – #10 in Fans: While there isn’t much of a connection to the Big Apple Buckets community, if you like Notre Dame basketball I suggest you cast your lot with these guys. Chris Thomas, who scored more than 2,000 points at ND, leads the way but they’ve got a bunch of former Irish that can play.
PeacePlayers International – #11 in Fans: This is why you should wait and look at all the teams before choosing your fandom. You might fight a random assortment like this one. It includes former Northwestern guards Michael “Juice” Thompson and Craig Moore, plus former Yale forward Greg Mangano. Since I don’t think Thompson will have to play the bottom of a 1-3-1 defense during this tournament there’s definite potential for this team, especially since they’ve got Terence Morris and former George Mason forward Darryl Monroe to pair with Mangano.
Eberlein Drive – #12 in Fans: NEC alert! This team, which is based on players from the Detroit area, includes former Robert Morris guard Velton Jones. Also, former Detroit guard Chase Simon is one of their key players. The problem with Eberlein? They’re short. Unless they find some size it’s hard to imagine them advancing too far in the tourney despite have some really talented guards.
Illinois Hoopville Warriors – #14 in Fans: Osiris Eldridge! For any fan of the Missouri Valley Conference that’s probably enough to get you excited.
Big Apple Basketball – #15 in Fans: I have no idea how this team doesn’t have more fan support. It includes Rashad McCants, Smuch Parker, Ater Majok and Luke Bonner. If there’s a team from further down the rankings that might shoot up later it’s this team.
Rep Your City – #16 in Fans: This team includes Kenny Kadji, Aquille Carr and former UMass-Lowell player Akeem Williams. It’s a fun team.
Sideline Cancer – #17 in Fans: For the St. John’s and Rider fans that want to see Nurideen Lindsey play basketball again here’s your chance. This is another team though with a lot of guards that might find life difficult against some of the taller teams in the tournament.
PUBB Champions Tour – #19 in Fans: Princeton University is getting the band back together! This team includes T.J. Bray, Ian Hummer, Douglas Davis, Brendan Connolly, Will Barrett and more. They’re going to be one of the hardest teams to scout in the tourney because they could legitimately run the Princeton Offense. Can they get Bill Carmody to coach the team? That’s the only thing that would make me want to watch them more.
Broad Street Bullies – #20 in Fans: Aaric Murray, Jake O’Brien and Dalton Pepper, plus a host of other talented Philadelphia players. This is another team that has a real shot in the tournament I think. Though there might not be enough shots to go around!
International All-Stars – #21 in Fans: This team has real talent. Notables include former Louisville point guard Edgar Sosa.
Team ROBY – #22 in Fans: This is the Villanova Final Four team from 2009 reconstituted for this tournament. Scottie Reynolds, Dante Cunningham, Corey Fisher, Maalik Wayns, Mouphtaou Yarou and more. Obviously there’s a ton of talent there.
DMV’s Finest – #24 in Fans: Want to know how much talent Maryland has? This team includes former Mount St. Mary’s guard Rashad Whack, former Loyola (MD) forward Erik Etherly, and former Vermont and Maryland guard Logan Aronhalt and it’s completely conceivable they’ll all come off the bench. Other notables include former Georgetown players Chris Wright and Austin Freeman. They’ll get in and they’re going to be dangerous.
Other Notable Teams Trying To Get In:
Cornell Sweet Sixteen: They’re so close. Support the Big Red’s Sweet 16 team because it includes guys like Jeff Foote, Ryan Wittman, Louis Dale and Jon Jacques. If they can make the Sweet 16 then maybe they can do some damage in this tournament.
Air Force Bomb Squad: This is just fun because it’s a group of former Air Force players.
Sean Bell All-Stars: If you follow summer basketball around NYC you know of this team. Well they’ve entered and include players such as former Seton Hall guard Jeremy Hazell, Erving Walker, Rashad Bell and Ryan Pearson. The roster looks like a summer ball team though. There’s probably not enough size to compete with some of the top teams. Though I bet they’d be competitive with almost everyone besides the top few teams.
St. Anthony: This team is competing to raise money for St. Anthony High School in Jersey City. For that reason alone they should be allowed into the tournament. There’s some talent here too including a number of former Division I players such as Derrick Mercer (American), Alberto Estwick (Fordham), Jamee Jackson (Quinnipiac), Dominic Cheek (Villanova) and Dwayne Lee (Saint Joseph’s). If you don’t have another horse in the race we’ve already had a guest post about St. Anthony 2020 and I’d definitely urge you to consider backing this team.
Vin Baker’s All-Stars: This team is a little older than some of the others competing in the tournament, but it has some big names (and only 43 fans as of this writing). One of those players? Four-time NBA all-star Vin Baker! It also includes former Michigan player Jimmy King. Can they hang with the young guns that form the core of most of the other rosters?