A (Very) Early Look at TBT 2018

 

By: Josh Brown | @Josh_brown31


#TBT2018 is off to a roaring start

What a first week it has been.

Just five days into the #TBT2018 registration period, we already have four teams officially accepted into the field, four more teams eligible, 27 teams with at least 100 supporters and one HUGE partnership with Spokane Hoopfest to kick off this summer's action.

Let’s break it all down.

This year, TBT is accepting four buy-in slots each in the Midwest and South regions. While all four slots still remain up for grabs in the South, The Region, Team Fredette and West Coast Ronin have snagged the first three spots in the Midwest. All three of these teams have TBT experience and will be looking to advance to their first Super 16 in team history.

Our first accepted team in the West is Team Challenge ALS. As a result of making the #TBT2017 Championship Game, the team has received an automatic bid into the round of 64. Led by TBT 2017 All-Tournament Team member Sean Marshall (18.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg), the Darren Collison-coached team returns familiar faces such as Ivan Aska, Larry Gordon, Marvelle Harris, Kevinn Pinkey, Jerry Smith and Deshawn Stephens. Casper Ware, who was also named a member of the TBT 2017 All-Tournament team after averaging 18.8 ppg last summer, is also expected to return. As if they needed any more firepower, Team Challenge ALS has added six-year NBA veteran Jeff Ayers and longtime overseas professional E.J. Rowland to the squad for its 2018 revenge tour. Like last year, the team is pledging $200,000 to the fight against ALS should they take home the $2 million prize.

 

Four of the teams joining Team Challenge ALS will be playing their first and second round games 1,200 miles north of Los Angeles at the annual Spokane Hoopfest. On Thursday, TBT announced that the largest 3-on-3 outdoor basketball tournament in the world will host a 4-team pod out of this year’s West Region. Over 6,000 teams, 3,000 volunteers and 225,000 fans participate in Spokane Hoopfest, with over 14,000 games taking place on 420 courts spanning 45 city blocks. The winner of this pod, which will take place June 29-30 and use traditional 5-on-5 rules, will advance to the Super 16 in Atlanta. The four teams participating will be announced at a later date.

Of the remaining 80+ teams who have also begun their #TBT2018 journey, several notable squads have received a great deal of support right off the bat. With over 900 supporters already in hand, newcomer Team Arkansas is starting to run away from the pack. Organized by former Golden Boot Dynasty booster Keith Kelley and former Razorback Nick Mason, the team is looking to bring together former Hogs in pursuit of $2 million.  Also garnering a lot of support this week was GaelNation (Iona Alumni), Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse Alumni), Sic Em Squad (Baylor Alumni) and Team Facing Addiction (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni).

 

Several other intriguing alumni teams have begun to form as well. In addition to the returning Hilton Magic Legends (Iowa State), uKnighted (Rutgers) and Team Colorado (Colorado), the Power Five is well represented with the likes of Forks Up (Arizona State), Wake The Nation (Wake Forest) and Sons of Westwood (UCLA). As always, plenty of mid-major teams are also trying to prove that they can compete at the highest level. Whether it be Monarch Nation (Old Dominion), Saints Alive (Sienna), Huntington Huskies (Northeastern), Highlander Nation (Radford) or The Founding Fathers (James Madison), there will be no shortage of scrappy underdogs to root for in TBT 2018.

Another interesting team that has formed out of the Northeast region is D3. Coached by Vassar College assistant coach Michael Rejniak and former Babson College captain Matthew Droney, the team is bringing together some of the best Division 3 players from across the nation to prove to the world that they can ball at the highest level. Although they have already put together a deep squad, D3 is actively recruiting a name that you might recognize. Michigan star Duncan Robinson is the first player in college basketball history to play in both a Division 3 Championship Game (Williams, 2014) and a Division 1 Championship Game (Michigan, 2018).  Will he add a TBT Championship Game to his resume?

 

 Team Rondo is also a squad that has attracted some eyeballs this week. Although only three players are currently on the roster, that name alone has some salivating at the thought of one of basketball’s smartest minds leading a team in TBT 2018. Keep your eyes peeled for more information.

With still eight weeks to go before the June 1st deadline, TBT 2018 is already looking like our biggest summer yet. Make sure to stay tuned, as we still have some major announcements coming your way soon.