Former National Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette and top 10 NBA draft picks Ausar and Amen Thompson headline the 2022 basketball tournament.
The 64-team TBT bracket, which was released Wednesday, includes a record 71 players with NBA experience as well as 29 alumni teams.
For the first time in the event’s history, the TBT will host away games, as one of its regionals is held in historic Rucker Park in New York City. The other seven regional cities are Omaha, Nebraska; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Wichita, Kansas; Syracuse, New York; Charleston, West Virginia; Cincinnati; and Dayton, Ohio.
“This year’s field is electrifying,” said TBT Founder and CEO Jon Mugar. “Nine years ago, we set out to be the home of high-stakes, open-ended basketball, pitting people from all walks of life against each other. This year’s court shows just how far we’ve come. It’s exceptionally diverse and I can’t wait to see which team wins six games in a row.
The teams will compete for the championship prize of $1 million, win-win.
Fredette, the former BYU guard who led the nation in scoring in 2011 and won national consensus Player of the Year honors before being selected 10th in the NBA draft, is headlining the The Money Team.
“I’m going to go out and play again and have fun,” Fredette told ESPN. “My brother [general manager TJ Fredette] is part of team cohesion. It should be a lot of fun to get back on the court and play competitive basketball.”
After playing for the Shanghai Sharks in China in 2021, Fredette has chosen to stay home this winter and spring as he and his wife welcome their third child. He joins a team that reached the quarter-finals last season and includes Trevor Booker, Jeremy Evans, Charles Jenkins and Jordon Crawford.
“I feel pretty good,” Fredette said. “I stayed training all the time. I’m still going to train, keep working on my game. I’ll be happy to play in front of fans, to play with guys I really like.”
Fredette played in the TBT in 2018, leading the tournament in scoring – including a 41-point effort to help Team Fredette progress.
“It’s always great,” he said. “At this point it’s just about trying to win. Just doing whatever it takes to move forward. I was lucky last time to have a really good tournament, to be the best marker. It’s cool, but it’s about surviving and moving forward. It’s about trying to win these games and move on. Get to that 1 million.”
Fredette’s The Money Team is the 1 seed in the Dayton area. The other 1 seeds are YGC (Rucker Park), Gutter Cats (Omaha), Heartfire (New Mexico), Florida TNT (Xavier), Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse), AfterShocks (Wichita State) and Best Virginia (West Virginia) .
The TBT began in 2014, when Notre Dame Fighting Alumni won the first championship. Overseas Elite won the next four titles before their streak ended in 2019 at the hands of Carmen’s Crew, an Ohio State alumni team. The Marquette-centric Golden Eagles alumni won in 2020, with Syracuse-focused Boeheim Army winning the title last season.
Boeheim Army will defend their title this summer adding new TBT players Tyler Ennis, Rakeem Christmas and Marek Dolezaj – all Syracuse alumni – to a roster that already included five-time TBT champion DJ Kennedy and DeAndre Kane, four-time champion. .
As ESPN reported earlier this month, slated 2023 lottery picks Amen and Ausar Thompson headline Team Overtime, a team put together by sports media company Overtime. The Thompson twins suited up for Overtime Elite last season, as did Jazian Gortman, another projected draft pick who will play for Team Overtime in the TBT. This will be the first time NBA draft-eligible prospects have competed in the TBT, though the team also has several veteran pros, including former San Diego State star Malcolm Thomas. Overtime are the 6 seeds in the Omaha area.
Sideline Cancer, the 2nd seed from the Xavier region, is looking for its third straight quarterfinal. They bring back scorer Marcus Keene and add former South Dakota State star Mike Daum and longtime NBA veteran CJ Miles.
Other players with NBA experience expected to play in this year’s TBT include Zhaire Smith (Air Raiders), Omari Spellman (Eberlein Drive), Antonio Blakeney (Florida TNT), Semaj Christon (Zip ‘Em Up) , Justin Patton (Omaha Blue Crew), Jacob Pullen (Purple & Black), Kosta Koufos (Red Scare), Xavier Munford (The Money Team), Jacob Evans (Nasty Nati) and Markel Brown (Stillwater Stars).
The championship team wins $1 million in a win-win title match that will be televised on ESPN. This summer’s championship game will be played at Dayton on August 2.