The Basketball Tournament, Atlanta, Georgia, where sixteen teams faced off to continue their run at the two million dollar prize. If you’re still unfamiliar with TBT and the Elam Ending, make sure to check out part one of our coverage here.
After a heated weekend in the ATL, only four teams remain. The Overseas Elite, Team Fredette, Eberlein Drive, and The Golden Eagles (Marquette Alumni) have all advanced to the National Semifinal, with action tipping off in Baltimore, this Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
The major headlines going into the Super 16 and Quarterfinal games, was the fanaticism that is the Jimmer Fredette show, the return of Greg Oden to competitive hoops, Jared Sullinger’s audition to NBA clubs, and the continued domination by the back-to-back-to-back champs, the Overseas Elite. But as the weekend continued other storylines began to emerge, as more unknown players put their stamp on the tournament, and perennial contenders found themselves bounced off the bracket.
To give you a taste of what went down last weekend, and what’s to come this week, meet the names and faces of those competing in the Semifinals. Two will move on for their shot at two million bucks.
Jimmer Fredette is by far the most marquee player in TBT. The former #10 overall pick brought out the largest crowds, all of which wanted to see the Jimmer Show that they remembered from his days at BYU. He did not disappoint.
In Team Fredette’s Super 16 game, he dropped a casual 41 points while shooting 6/11 from three. He was the coolest kid on court and acted as if that gym was his personal playground. He spent a good amount of in-game time, laughing with the broadcasters, chatting it up with the officials, and joking with the players waiting to get on-court.
He followed up this performance by dismantling the top seed Scarlet and Gray (Ohio State Alumni) in the Quarterfinals, finishing the game with 28 points on 57 percent shooting. As noted, S&G boasted a roster that included Greg Oden and Jared Sullinger, who flew the day of the game following his wedding the night before. But this duo could not withstand Fredette’s firepower, that, and the play of Brandon Davies (formerly of the Nets and Sixers) who finished with 15 points, and Jack Cooley (Jazz) who dropped 16 points and 7 boards.
Over the course of the weekend, Fredette displayed some of the shot-making ability and three point range that made him a lottery pick a few years ago, some examples below.
But he wasn’t just having fun out there; he was ultra-competitive and continually made big shot after big shot when his team needed him most. He put on a show, and the fans loved it. Below you’ll see a clip of the hoards of people waiting to get a chance for a picture with the Jimmer. The. People. Love. Jimmer.
Team Fredette next plays the Eberlein Drive on Thursday at 9:00PM EST on ESPN.
Eberlein Drive (based out of Fraser, MI)
Speaking of Eberlein Drive, this already loaded roster will be adding former NBA Champ, James Michael McAdoo, who was absent for their Quarterfinal win over last year’s runner-up, Team Challenge ALS. Eberlien Drive already boast five players with NBA experience, including Donald Sloan, Jeremy Evans (2012 NBA Dunk Champ), Lou Admondson, Alex Kirk, and former Piston Willie Reed.
And while this team has plenty of talent, their number one option is Jerome Randle, who has yet to suit up for an NBA team. The former Pac 10 player of the year has been one of the best players in TBT. He averaged 31.5 points per game this past weekend in Atlanta, and had ESPN’s main broadcasters, Seth Greenberg and Dan Dakich, clamoring for an NBA team to sign him to a training camp deal.
An example of Randle’s shotmaking ability below.
Eberlein Drive will have their hands full with Team Fredette, but they possess the firepower and athleticism to take this thing all the way.
The Overseas Elite do not boast a roster filled with multiple ex-NBA players, but that hasn’t stopped this group from winning the last three TBT championships and accumulating $5 million dollars in the process. They’re a well-balanced bunch that has a lot of guys that are able to get buckets on a nightly basis.
Some of their more premier players include Errick McCollum (brother of CJ McCollum), who was the leading scorer in the world last season while playing in China. They also have DJ Kennedy, who had a cup of coffee with the Cleveland Cavaliers six years ago, but has primarily made his money overseas. Jeremy Pargo also has some NBA run, but has since made his home in Euroleague, playing most recently for the historic Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball Club in Israel.
This team does not have a go-to guy like Jimmer Fredette or Jerome Randle, but they’re deep, hungry, and have yet to lose a game in this tournament. Over the past four years they’ve gone 22-0. They’ll be the favorites heading into Baltimore, but have an extremely difficult match-up on Thursday night with The Golden Eagles.
The Golden Eagles
This Marquette University Alumni Team may be seen as the underdog going into their Semifinal matchup, but they’ve already taken down a #1 seed in Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse Alumni), and have that special bond that’s only seen with the alumni squads.
Most of these guys have played under either Buzz Williams or Tom Crean, they have an understanding of similar systems, and have displayed a gritty on-court identity that’s made the Marquette program one of the premier basketball schools in the country over the past 20 years, and for most of their history for that matter.
This group will be without one of their go-to guys from last year’s tournament, Dwight Buycks, who (as you know) went on to suit up for the Pistons for 29 games. The Golden Eagles’ head coach, Joe Chapman explained how they’ve been able to move on from that loss.
Their standout player has been Jamil Wilson, who’s one of the most talented players in the entire tournament. Wilson averaged 7 points in 18 minutes, while shooting 43% from three and 47% from the floor last season for the LA Clippers, and seems prime to get back to the league next year. He’s averaging 21.5 points per game over the course of TBT 2018, and has the frame and athleticism that screams NBA. Make sure to also keep an eye out for Maurice Acker, the 5’8 point guard who’s averaging 17 points and 8 assists per game.
Semifinal Game 1
ESPN - Thursday, 7:00 p.m.EST - Overseas Elite (1) vs. Golden Eagles (3)
Semifinal Game 2
ESPN - Thursday, 9:00 p.m. EST - Team Fredette (2) vs. Eberlein Drive (7)
ESPN - Friday, 9:00 p.m. EST - TBD
Have you been watching TBT? If so, who do you have winning it all, and why? Thoughts on the Elam Ending?