You can't shake a stick without finding a summer basketball league featuring current or former Hawkeyes in action. Close to home, there's the good ol' Prime Time League featuring almost all of next year's key Hawkeyes. The NBA Summer League is set to feature recent former Hawkeyes in Peter Jok and Jarrod Uthoff. The Big3 includes two much older former Hawkeyes in Ricky Davis and Reggie Evans. And then there's The Basketball Tournament, aka TBT. TBT is back for its fourth year and two Fran Era Hawkeyes, Anthony Clemmons and Jarryd Cole, are suiting up in it again. TBT features 64 teams from around the country competing in a 5-on-5 single elimination basketball tournament for a $2 million prize. The details of how the TBT organizers winnow things down to 64 teams is available here.
Clemmons and Cole are suiting up on Team Sideline Cancer, the same team they played for last year. Joining Cole and Clemmons on that team are Aaron Brown, a shooting guard from St. Joseph's, and Maverick Morgan, a center from Illinois, among others. It's going to be a tall order for Team Sideline Cancer to make a deep run in TBT, let alone win it, given that they're a #12 seed. In the first round they're facing the Zoo Crew, a team featuring several Pitt alums, in the first round. The Zoo Crew features Ashton Gibbs, Levance Fields, Julius Page, Tyrell Biggs, Keith Benjamin, and John DeGroat, all of whom are former Panthers. If Sideline Cancer wins, they'll get the winner of the Team FOE-DC On Point game. There are several other alum-based teams in TBT, including ones for Iona (GaelNation), Syracuse (Boeheim's Army), Rider (Rebel Riders), Villanova (Supernova), Texas Tech (Matadors), USF (Tampa Bulls), Vanderbilt (Memorial Magic), Ole Miss (Ole Hotty Toddy), Middle Tennessee State (Blue Zoo), VCU (Ram Nation), Marquette (Golden Eagles), Saint Louis (Majerus SLU Crew), Kansas State (Purple and Black), Bradley (Always A Brave), UW-Milwaukee (Banner Boys), Colorado (Team Colorado), Weber State (The Wastach Front), Air Force (Air Force Bomb Squad), Gonzaga (Few Good Men), Ohio State* (Scarlet & Gray), and -- oh yeah -- Iowa State (Hilton Magic Legends). (We need to get a full Iowa team in this thing one of these years...)
* You're damn right that the OSU team has Aaron Craft *and* Jon Diebler, so if you're looking for a team to root against, well...
The full bracket is available here.
Team Sideline Cancer plays the Zoo Crew at 1:30 PM CT on Saturday, July 8 at Philadelphia University. If they win, they'll face the winner of Team FOE-DC ON Point on Sunday, July 9. The winner of that game will advance to the Super 16 in New York July 20-23. The games in the first two rounds are televised on WatchESPN/ESPN3. Games from the Super 16 on are televised on ESPN and ESPN2.
In case you need another reason to root for Team Sideline Cancer beyond the presence of Cole and Clemmons, there's this: the team plans to donate $700,000 of the $2 million dollar prize money to the Griffith Family Foundation for pancreatic cancer and advocacy efforts. Good luck to Cole, Clemmons, and the rest of Team Sideline Cancer in The Basketball Tournament this weekend.