Eberlein Drive 2.0

 

Eberlein Drive, named after the street on which childhood friends Jacob Hirschmann and brothers Joey and Craigen Oster grew up, was an iconic, if not successful, 2014 participant in The Basketball Tournament. Built on hustle, a dream, and a long ride in a minivan driven by the Osters’ dad/coach (who had no help from the college students riding in the back), Eberlein Drive was famously profiled by Luke Winn in Sports Illustrated:

Prior to their appearance in TBT, no one had heard of their street name. Soon they would be making the long trip back [to Michigan], winless but with jerseys and T-shirts and box-score evidence and a ridiculous story to tell. Eberlein Drive, if you find it on a map, is actually a one-block dead-end -- or if you're being nice, a cul-de-sac. There's enough pavement in front of the Osters' house for a car to turn around. "When we come back next year…” [GM Jacob] Hirschmann said, undaunted, "I really think we'll have a shot."

Next year is now for Eberlein Drive. 

In a fascinating development, Matt Mitchell formerly the GM of TBT 2014 entrant Olivet Nazarene, has joined up with the boys from Fraser, Michigan, creating a new and improved Eberlein Drive. The combination of Midwestern social media mavens has led to 395 votes in just over two weeks, good for first in the Midwest region. (Mitchell hails from Indiana and is married to the most successful fan recruiter in TBT history, Lindsey Mitchell, pictured below.)  

 

Notre Dame Fighting Alumni win $500,000! #TBTopen

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Mitchell, a former shooting guard who played collegiately at Olivet Nazarene University, isn’t limiting his contributions to the team to securing votes. His connections in the basketball world landed Tyler Laser, who went for 30/10/7 in TBT’s first round last year while playing for Olivet against TYGTAL, a team that featured the likes of Hakim Warrick and Marshall Henderson. Mitchell has also recruited sharpshooting Russell Byrd, who averaged 20/5/4 at The Master's College this past season after transferring from Michigan State.

In perhaps the biggest coup of the tournament so far, however, it was the boys from the cul-de-sac who were responsible for landing former NBA guard Von Wafer, whom GM Jacob Hirschmann had been chasing since March of 2014. “I’m still in a state of shock,” Hirschmann said after signing Wafer. “We ain’t messin’ around no more!”

As key as the signings of top notch talent have been, the new Eberlein Drive hasn’t lost sight of what gives the team its identity and what, for all involved, is most important: the fans.

“While we feel this will provide us with the best opportunity to put the best talent on the floor, we more importantly are excited to leverage our fans bases and work together on  this” said Matt Mitchell in a joint press release.

“Having players is important, but every team’s number one priority should be getting fans,” Hirschmann echoed in the release. “With this partnership, we feel we’ll be a big step ahead of the rest of the field right off the bat.”

With the combined passion to compete and a shared priority on qualification first, it’s a safe bet that Eberlein Drive will be cruising to its second trip to TBT in 2015. And this time, they might even share driving duties with the Osters’ dad.

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