TBT Spotlight: Paul Champions


By: Patrick Ronan | @pk_ronan

13-Season NBA Point Guard Earl Boykins Leads Paul Champions in the Northeast

When the very first Jamboree slot was purchased back in April, all we knew about the team was that a basketball-loving, New York attorney named Wesley Paul decided to buy a spot and build a team.

No team name. No potential roster. No coach.

Paul decided to keep things simple with his team name, but the roster he put together is anything but that. The Paul Champions roster features what could be the coolest two-player combo in TBT history.

Running the point for Champions will be Earl Boykins – yes, the 13 seasons, 652 career NBA games Earl Boykins. Currently the head coach of the Douglas County High School varsity basketball team, Boykins will bring unrivaled experience to the team and his knack for coaching will only compliment his experience.

In Champions' two Jamboree games, Boykins showed that there's still plenty left in the tank. He averaged 24.5 points on 17-35 shooting and was able to get a number of guys involved on offense. 

At 5’5”, Boykins is the second shortest player in NBA history -- and at 7’6”, Champions center Mamadou Ndiaye is the tallest player in TBT history. 

You probably remember seeing Ndiaye on TV in the past few years. He was a three-year player at UC Irvine from 2013-2016, earning First-Tem All-Big West as a senior and twice being named Big West Defensive Player of the Year.

Ndiaye was efficiently effective in the Jamboree. He went for 10 points (5-5 FG) and six rebounds in just 10 minutes in the Champions' first Jamboree win over Stars and Stripes and chipped in six points (3-5 FG) and eight rebounds in 19 minutes against Silver Spring's Willows Runners. It'll be interesting to see if Champions deploy a similar strategy of limiting Ndiaye's minutes on Saturday's game to keep him fresh for a potential game to go to the Super 16 on Sunday. 

Boykins and Ndiaye will undoubtedly get most of the media attention, but they're far from the only impact players on the roster. 6'7" small forward Rashad Bell had a standout Jamboree -- putting up 12 points (5-7 FG), four rebounds and three assists versus Stars and Stripes, and leading Champions in scoring against SSWR with 25 points (7-14 FG). Bell played his college ball at Boston University, where he was twice named first-team all conference and averaged 15.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game as a senior. 

Joining Ndiaye in the post is 6'10" Chukwudiebere Maduabum, but we'll just call him "Chu". A Nigerian professional basketball player, Chu also boasts nicknames like "Chuk", "Chuck", or "Chu Chu". He was drafted 56th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2011 NBA Draft before his rights were traded to the Denver Nuggets. He's played extensively in the NBA D-League and professionally overseas. 

Paul Champions first round matchup against Talladega Knights should be one of the best first round games of the two opening weekends. Talladega's tallest players measure in at 6'8", giving Champions a solid height advantage, but as we've seen plenty of times in TBT, that can be neutralized in a handful of possessions. Paul Champions will tip off Saturday July 8 at 9:15 AM on WatchESPN