In previous years, the basketball world has been gifted with four seasons: the NBA, D-League, NCAA, and the offseason. In 2014, a new season was added and spiced up the summer in the basketball world. That is through The Basketball Tournament (TBT), started in 2014 as a single-elimination tournament that featured the combination of former NBA players and your local pick-up ballers.
Since the first season, the Basketball Tournament has continued to. After the grand prize being $500,000 (split between players, coaches and fans), the total has gone up to a lofty $2 million this season. Another improvement The Basketball Tournament has made is allowing more teams. In 2014, the Tournament consisted of 32 teams and this year there will be 64 teams competing for that $2 million grand price.
Despite the wide selection of talent that has competed in the The Basketball Tournament, the one squad that stood above the rest is Overseas Elite. After winning the whole tournament in 2015, Overseas Elite are looking to win their second championship this year. Overseas Elite will trot out solid scorers in Travis Bader and Errick McCollum. Bader is the NCAA career leader in three-point field goals made. Meanwhile, Errick McCollum (big brother of Blazers stud CJ McCollum) has been an international stud where he put up 82 points during the 2014-15 season during his time with Zhejiang Chuzhou of the CBA (Chinese Basketball League)
This year, there will be numerous teams, 63 to be exact, that will be looking to take down Overeseas Elite. Many of teams that will be looking to dethrone last year's champions are made up of college or NBA alumni.
Some of those teams are The Bluegrass Boys (Kentucky), Boeheim's Army (Syracuse), Few Good Men (Gonzaga), Skinner's Frate Train (Boston College), Team Utah (Utah), Ram Nation (VCU), Golden Eagles (Marquette), Supernova (Villanova), North Broad Street Bullies (Temple), Team Colorado (Colorado), PA Roadwarriors (Bucknell), Cat Pack (Davidson), and Air Force Bomb Squad (Air Force).
Along with the college alumni that are participating in the Tournament, there are several former NBA players that will be participating. Some of those former players consist of Matt Bonner, Mike Bibby, Royal Ivey and Brian Scalabrine. Former first round pick and Oklahoma City Blue point guard Marquis Teague is apart of The Bluegrass Boys squad. In his sophomore season at Kentucky, he averaged 10 points and 4.9 assist per game and was apart of the program's eight National Championship.
Last season, former Sacramento Kings point guard Mike Bibby hit the hardwood for Grantland, alongside Scalabrine. Even though Grantland took down a Venice Basketball League team with ease last year, the team suffered a tough loss to 7outz. Bibby will return to the Tournament this year, as part of Pedro's Posse with former Kings Jason Williams, in hopes to win the Basketball Tournament championship. Williams was knowm for his astounding passes during his NBA career and there is a high chance he will be dishing out those passes to his teammates.
There are a few teams that made the Sweet 17 last season that will be returning this season. Our friends over at Liberty Ballers will field a team led by 2012 Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year CJ Aiken and former Philadelphia 76ers guard John Salmons.
Alongside those squads, there are several teams that are trying to take down the 2015 champions. The first team on that list is Team 23, the runner-up last year. Not only did the prize increase, but Team 23 came up short last year and feel like they have the potential to win it all this year. Boeheim's Army will be looking to rebound after coming up short last year in the Northeast Regional Championship Game. Boeheim's Army are adding CJ Fair to the team. Fair had consecutive productive seasons with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants where he 15.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, and shot 48% from the field during the 2015-16 D-League campaign.
The Basketball Tournament comes at a perfect time as it with share the month of July with the Summer League. While the Summer League concludes on July 18th, the TBT will be in full swing; the Super 16 starts three days later, the Semifinals will take place on July 30th and the Finals will be showcased on August 2nd. While the Basketball Tournament will never be the equivalent to the NBA or even the D-League, it should be a nice little summer distraction for die-hard basketball fans.