For the last three years some of the world’s best non-NBA players have gathered in Philly to take part in the annual Basketball Tournament (TBT). TBT allows these hoopers to compete for a $2 million cash prize, play with former teammates, and show out for their next potential contract.
One of the people involved with the TBT is former Colorado State point guard Britt Booker. Booker played at CSU for two seasons in the 90’s, mostly as a defensive specialist. Since a series of unfortunate circumstances while transferring effectively ended his college career, Booker has been building his basketball legacy through his basketball and life skills academy, under the Hoopville Warriors moniker.
Booker’s put together a team for every TBT so far, featuring players from mostly the Chicago area and different midwest colleges. Booker gets to build his brand while players like Stefhon Hannah, who played for Booker in 2015, get to fight for their basketball lives.
After the 2015 TBT Hannah earned three 10-day contracts with the Chicago bulls -at the age of 30-, he didn’t ever get a permanent roster spot, but the the money and exposure are still a payoff.
— Boeheim's Army (@BoeheimsArmy) July 3, 2017
Another former CSU point guard, John Gillon, is hoping for a similar payoff this year as he plays with a team of Syracuse alumni in this year’s TBT . Despite playing in some big moments with Syracuse last year, like hitting a game-winning 3-point shot to take down No. 10 Duke on the road, Gillon did not receive an invite to NBA summer league. Now he’s in the super sixteen and will be playing on ESPN 2 Thursday.
Part of what may really make this tournament special are the guys who have even less guaranteed to them. Guys like former division two player Ra’Shad James, who will likely defend Gillon for most of that game.
Guys like James and Gillom will try have so much more to prove even more in this tournament. His team has already shocked a group of Villanova alums. On Booker’s team, one lucky dreamer is moving his way up from community college.
“That’s the biggest motivation outside of the 2 million dollars,” said Booker in an interview by phone last week, “agents and scouts do come out and guys can continue to get jobs.”
Unfortunately for Booker, his team won’t be taking home the prize money this year as the Illinois Hoopville Warriors lost in the first round for a second straight year. The Warriors advanced to the quarterfinal (2015) and super sixteen (2016) finish in the two years prior. Despite never advancing past the quarterfinal, Booker still likes his chances in the future.
“Very good,” said Booker when asked about his chances of winning in the future. “We’ve never lost by more than 6,” said Booker.
While Booker’s team currently does not have any CSU connections, he would be open to making it a possibility and would love to reconnect with his former university.
“I just need to know who to contact,” Booker said.
The motivation is obvious for players, but fans? How about a multigenerational CSU-CU battle? Or Duke-UNC? Syracuse-Marquette? Those are dreams that will likely come to fruition if TBT keeps up its success. Not to mention the likes of Earl Boykins, Nate Robinson, Royce White and at least 19 other former first round picks playing and coaching.
The Basketball Tournament has something to offer anyone who loves basketball . A lot of what ifs and where are they now’s can and will be answered in these tournaments. The possibilities are endless and they’re exactly what makes this tournament great.
Collegian sports reporter Mack Beaulieu can be reached be email at firstname.lastname@example.org.