WVU men’s basketball alumni to enter 2019 winner-take-all TBT

MORGANTOWN — While The Basketball Tournament (TBT) handed out $2 million in prize money late Friday Aug. 3, John Flowers already has his eyes toward the 2019 tournament.

“We all wanted to get in it this year, but we weren’t sure how to get it all organized,” the former WVU men’s basketball standout told The Dominion Post. “We’re definitely set for next year.”

Flowers confirmed through a TBT video press conference that a WVU alumni team will enter the 2019 winner-take-all tournament that has grown in popularity each summer since it was founded in 2014.

Simply put, TBT is a tournament set up much like the NCAA tournament with the winning team splitting up the prize money.

Teams earn their way into the bracket and then are seeded based on fans’ support through online votes or by past performances in the tournament. Game are televised on the ESPN networks.

Teams can’t consist of current NBA players, which opens the doors for teams to play with professionals playing with teams overseas. WVU currently has several former players signed with European clubs for this season, while Kevin Jones spent this summer playing for Team USA in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament.

A number of the teams playing in the TBT are college alumni teams, like Scarlet & Gray (Ohio State), Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse) and Hilton Magic Legends (Iowa State).

“I think the potential for a WVU alumni team would be pretty high,” said former WVU guard Alex Ruoff, who will be playing professionally in Germany this season and spent the summer working out with former teammates Da’Sean Butler, Truck Bryant, Devin Ebanks and Flowers at the WVU practice facility. “If you just think about the defensive style we all came from playing for coach [Bob] Huggins, that obviously would help. I think we would have pretty good chemistry and we could run offense and sets that we all ran at WVU.”

Flowers said many of the finer details still remain unsettled.

“We’re still working on who will be our coach,” Flowers said. “We’re thinking maybe Joe Mazzulla or Jarrod West or Daryl Prue. We don’t know for sure. We have to see who can be available.”

Mazzulla is the men’s coach at Fairmont State, while West is the boys’ coach at Notre Dame in Clarksburg. Prue was once part of the coaching staff at Georgetown, under former coach John Thomson III.

As for players, Flowers said the normal TBT roster is nine players, but teams can pay in order to add players to its roster.

“We might have to pay in order to add some guys,” Flowers said.

Ruoff said he was interested and Flowers said former players such as Kevin Jones, Joe Alexander, Daxter Miles Jr., Ebanks, Bryant and Butler have expressed an interest.

“In order to have a good shot at doing well, I think realistically we would have to have Joe [Alexander] and Kevin Jones on the roster and build from there,” Ruoff said.

Flowers, who puts together the annual WVU Alumni basketball game each summer, said he would like to put together some plans for Team WVU once the final details are put together.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” he said. “What I would really like to do is put together some kind of exhibition games before we even get to TBT.”

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