Who Are: Silver Spring's Willows Runners TBT 2018



Quick Hits

Bid: Jamboree (2017)

Notable Players: Zaid Hearst, Jamal Olasewere, Deshaunt Walker

Number of Active Pros: 7

TBT History: Beat uKnighted in the first round of the Jamboree, lost to Champions the following day.

Nutshell: Group of overseas professionals from the Silver Spring, Maryland area. These guys have played together for years.


What to Know

  • Olasewere, a 6-foot-7 forward who played his college ball at LIU Brooklyn and was the 2013 Northeast Conference Player of the Year, averaged 19 ppg and 10.5 rpg last summer.
  • Quinnipiac product Zaid Hearst averaged 15 ppg and 5.5 rpg in TBT 2017.
  • Up 13 when the Elam Ending started, the Willows Runners found themselves trailing by one after a 13-0 run by uKnighted. After trading 3-point shots, Silver Spring's went on a 4-0 run to reach the target score of 74.


How They Fared in TBT 2017

Jamboree Round 2: Champions Fill 64th and Final Spot in TBT 2017

After 11 Jamboree games this weekend, the 64-team field for TBT2017 is finally set. Silver Spring’s Willows Runners and Champions played for the final spot in the Northeast.

Champions took advantage of a cold-shooting first half from SSWR (11-37; 29.7%) to head in to the locker room with a 39-33 halftime lead. Their shooting didn’t improve too much in the second half, but they slowly chipped away at Champions lead – thanks in part to 20 second chance points – to pull even late in the second half.

But four straight points from 7’6” center Mamadou Ndiaye put Champions back ahead and a free throw from Earl Boykins sealed the deal on a 71-67 win.

Boykins scored 21 points for Champions, but it was Rashad Bell who led the way offensively with 25 points (7-14 FG) and four rebounds. Freeman Taylor went for a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards in 23 minutes.

The trio of Jeremy Williams, Zaid Hearst and Jamal Olasewere combined for 42 points for SSWR, with Olasewere adding 10 rebounds for his second straight double-double.

Champions adavcnes to play back in Philadelphia on July 8 in the Northeast regional of TBT 2017. Don’t miss any of the TBT 2017 action this summer. The Northeast/South regionals will get going July 8 and the Midwest/West regionals get under way July 15. 


Jamboree Round 1: uKnighted's Epic Comeback Falls Just Short

If you haven’t bought into the Elam Ending already, crawl out from underneath your rock.

This thing is absolutely nuts. For the second straight game, the Elam Ending reeked havoc on crunch time. When the target score of 74 was established, Silver Spring’s Willows Runners led uKnighted 67-54. 

With normal clock rules, a 13-point lead with less than three minutes to play almost always means four corners and fouling until the clock runs out. Not too entertaining.

But with no clock winding down, uKnighted was able to focus on getting stops and quality shots – and that’s exactly what they were able to do. An unreal 14-0 uKnighted run took them from down 13 when the Elam Ending started, to up 68-67.

After the teams traded threes, uKnighted led 71-70 with a target score of 74. Then SSWR snapped out of their funk and rattled off a quick four points to avoid making serious headlines for the wrong reason.

Jamal Olasewere was a force for SSWR – going for 25 points (9-20 FG) and 10 rebounds. In one of those “only in sports” scenarios, former Rutgers player Jerome Seagears was a thorn in the Rutgers alumni’s side, going for 13 points and adding six rebounds. Seagears played three years at Rutgers before transferring amid the Mike Rice coaching scandal.

Three-point shooting was bad all around, with both teams shooting under 30% from behind the arc. SSWR outrebounded uKnighted 45-35 and won the points in the paint battle 30-18.

Tune into WatchESPN tomorrow at 4:15 p.m. to watch Silver Spring’s play the winner of Champions and Stars & Stripes for the 64th and final spot in TBT 2017. 



In Their Own Words