The Basketball Tournament is a crazy combination of Hoosiers, $1 million, ESPN and a ton of basketball dreams.
The tournament, which features some of the best basketball players not in the NBA, includes a bunch of former college stars. With the Super 17 this weekend in Chicago, I went through and found 17 former college stars who you should check out on ESPNU or on streaming this weekend. Four teams will make it out of the weekend and if you want to see them next weekend in the Bronx at Fordham’s Rose Hill you can get $5 off on $20 tickets through this link and entering the code TBTNYB. Who might you see?
17. Xavier Silas, Team City of Gods: A former All-MAC player at Northern Illinois, Silas scored 22.3 points per game during the 2010-11 season. During that season he scored 40 points in a game against UIC in the non-conference season. He hasn’t lost that scoring knack. After a slow start, Silas scored 31 points and 18 points in wins by Team City of Gods to advance out of Philadelphia.
16. Tre Bowman, Sideline Cancer: The Sideline Cancer team is fighting for a good cause and while they’re definitely underdogs, this former Iona star can help out. He’s been coming off the bench for Sideline Cancer and playing strong minutes, including score 16 points in one game.
15. Jordan Hulls, Armored Athlete: Hulls lit up the Big Ten for four seasons as a annoying, sharp-shooting pest and now he’s doing the same for Armored Athlete, which includes a number of his former Indiana teammates. Hulls shot 44% from three during his collegiate career and those have kept coming during The Tournament. Hulls shot 6-8 from three in Armored Athlete’s 12-point victory over Chicago Elite in the Round of 64. He followed that up with four more against Reach 1 Teach 1 in the Round of 32.
14. Luke Harangody, Notre Dame Fighting Alumni: I can’t guarantee that Harangody is going to appear for NDFA, but considering that they’re the defending champions there’s a good chance. During his entire collegiate career Harangody was one of the highest usage players in college basketball. He’s a bit undersized for the pro game at 6’8″, but he should be a bully inside during The Tournament.
13. Pooh Jeter, LAUNFD: Jeter is part of an excellent team from Los Angeles, CA. Before he went pro Jeter was an excellent player for Portland in the West Coast Conference. He scored more than 1,700 points during his collegiate career.
12. Todd O’Brien, Overseas Elite: You might remember O’Brien as the character in the Saint Joseph’s transfer saga. Now he’s hoping for a different type of drama as a key piece of Overseas Elite’s frontcourt. He had a double-double in his team’s victory over Underdogs and 10 rebounds in another game.
11. Hakim Warrick, Boeheim’s Army: Warrick is part of a group of Syracuse alumni that represent Notre Dame’s biggest challenge to the $1 million prize. Warrick played in the NBA from 2005 to 2013, but he’ll probably be best remembered by college basketball fans for this block in the national title game against Kansas.
10. Ben Hansbrough, Notre Dame Fighting Alumni: Hansbrough was a high-efficiency pest for Big East fans for two seasons at ND after transferring from Mississippi State. He was a unanimous All-Big East selection and was the 2010-11 Big East Player of the Year. Now he’ll be a linchpin in NDFA’s attempt to defend its title.
9. James Gist, Team City of Gods: A rangy 6’9″ forward, Gist is the type of player that it’s really hard to find in the basketball world outside of the pro game and one of the reasons Team City of Gods is still in the tournament. Gist had the ability in college to step out to the three-point line (shooting 33% from deep), but it’s been his dunks that have been the highlight of The Tournament thus far.
8. Rhamel Brown, Sean Bell All Stars: Any team that’s going to compete in The Tournament needs to be able to handle strong frontcourt players and that’s where Brown comes in. The former Manhattan star was always one of the best shot-blockers in the nation in college. He provides rim protection for the team, though he’s been a bit foul prone coming off the bench for a deep team during the tournament. Former St. John’s guard Malik Boothe is on the team too.
7. Myck Kabongo, Overseas Elite: A former McDonald’s All-American, Kabongo had an excellent freshman season for Rick Barnes at Texas, but his sophomore season was disrupted by a 23-game suspension. Since then he’s bounced around the D-League. Kabongo had 16 points (though he shot 3-14) and 11 rebounds in 38 minutes as Overseas Elite advanced to Chicago.
6. Osiris Eldridge, Illinois Hoopville Warriors: Eldridge carried Illinois State in the MVC for four seasons, scoring 1,838 career points in college. The Redbirds reached three NIT tournaments during his career. Now Eldridge is coming off the bench to help Illinois Hoopville Warriors in The Tournament.
5. Michael Sweetney, Team City of Gods: The former New York Knick and Chicago Bull has taken his 6’8″ into the paint for The Tournament. Teaming up with Gist he’s created an excellent one-two punch in the frontcourt. Sweetney was a Top 10 pick in the NBA Draft after a stellar career at Georgetown. He averaged 18.2 ppg during his final collegiate season.
4. David Dudzinski, Armored Athlete: Dudzinski was one of the best-kept secrets during his time at Holy Cross because the Crusaders never made any significant noise in the postseason while he was there. But people are going to learn about the 6’9″ forward with an inside-outside game quickly as Armored Athlete advanced in The Tournament. Surrounded by some former Indiana players, it’s been Dudzinski that has been the star of the team. He scored 15 points in the first game and a team-high 21 in the second for Armored Athlete.
3. Andrew Lavender, 7OUTZ: Lavender hit the shot of The Tournament thus far when the former Xavier star hit a three to eliminate the West Coast 1 seed Grantland. Lavender scored 24 points in that one, along with 19 points and 14 points in the two previous games. Lavender knows a thing or two about scoring points. He scored more than 1,400 career points between stops at Oklahoma and Xavier during his collegiate career.
2. Eric Devendorf, Boeheim’s Army: Devendorf is the pest that drives the Syracuse alumni team. He’s already been kicked out of a game during The Tournament! When he was in college he was feisty too. Though when he was on the court he was an excellent scorer. Can he keep his cool long enough to make a difference in The Tournament?
1. Ryan Rossiter, Liberty Ballers: Rossiter is part of a group of Siena players that is still playing in The Tournament. A key part of Fran McCaffery’s NCAA tournament teams in Albany, Rossiter was one of the best rebounders in the country during his time with the Saints. He was a sophomore on the team that upset Ohio State in double-overtime. Kenny Hasbrouck, the leader of that team, also plays with Rossiter on Liberty Ballers. Rossiter scored 1,457 points and grabbed 1,151 rebounds during his collegiate career and is exactly the type of player The Tournament rewards. Hopefully he and his teammates can keep making noise this weekend. Though they face a tough challenge on Saturday in Boeheim’s Army.
Who is your favorite player still in The Tournament?