Chip Shots – The Basketball Tournament

The Basketball Tournament

by Jim Buzzerd

West Virginia University fans will likely be interested to know that The Basketball Tournament, or TBT, has begun. Games began last weekend, but WVU fans will be interested in the West Virginia Regional in Charleston that begins this coming Sunday. The top seed in the West Virginia bracket is Best Virginia, a team comprised primarily of former Mountaineers. I’ve found it compelling to watch the former players play in this event over the past several years.

Last year Best Virginia advanced to the regional final where it lost to Team 23, a team which advanced to the finals of the 64-team event last season. The eight teams in this year’s West Virginia Regional are top seed Best Virginia. Second seed The Bucketneers with a base of former East Tennessee State University players. WoCo Showtime, a Wofford Alumni based team is the third seed. Herd That, as you probably can assume is a team with a base of former Marshall players. Herd That will begin play at 5 p.m. Sunday against the aptly named fifth seed Founding Fathers, a group of former James Madison players. War Ready, former Auburn players, is seeded sixth. Fully Loaded is seeded seventh and its roster is based on a Virginia AAU team from Virginia.

Best Virginia draws eighth seeded Virginia Dream in Sunday’s 7 p.m. nightcap. The Dream is participating for the first time and draws its talent from the state of Virginia. Two of its players played at Radford and two played at Bluefield. That game will be shown on ESPN2. All other games in Charleston including rounds two and three are slated for ESPN3 which is a little more complicated to watch because you’ll need to stream it from the ESPN website or the ESPN app.

Eight of 10 players on the Best Virginia roster have suited up for the Mountaineers in the past. Two others played at West Virginia Wesleyan and Fairmont State. Mainstays on the Best Virginia roster are Kevin Jones, John Flowers, who also does a lot of the legwork putting the team together, and Juwan Staten. Jones has 32 appearances in NBA games in a short career.

Logging 63 NBA appearances with the Lakers over three seasons is first time Best Virginia participant, Devin Ebanks. D’Angelo Hunter joins the team this year. Hunter did not get much of an opportunity at WVU and transferred to Nicholls State. Hunter returned to Morgantown with Nicholls in December of 2019 and scored 14 points against his former team.

Former Big 12 Sixth Man of the Year, Jaysean Paige will be on hand as will 6’7 guard Jermaine Haley. Both have played professionally overseas and in Canada. Teyvon Myers was a late addition to the team on Monday and can provide instant offense, though when he played for head coach Bob Huggins at West Virginia, he was on a short leash. A missed shot or two from long range would often get Myers pulled.

Rounding out the roster is Jamel Morris from Fairmont. Morris has played in the NBA G League and in Europe. The final piece to the team is former West Virginia Wesleyan forward Tanner McGrew, a 6’8 forward, with experience in Australia and Europe completes the roster.

It would be nice to see Best Virginia from the West Virginia regional, but there are unforeseen problems that can occur. First, the team will have only a week to practice. Last season Staten suffered an injury that hampered him, and that left the team with no legitimate point guard.