Former National Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette and potential top 10 NBA draft picks Ausar and Amen Thompson headline the 2022 field for the Basketball Tournament.
The 64-team TBT bracket, which launched Wednesday, features a record 71 players with NBA experience, as well as 29 college alumni teams.
For the first time in the history of the event, the TBT will have outdoor games as one of its regionals will be held in historic Rucker Park in New York City. The other seven regional cities include 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 basketball, open to all, pitting people from all walks of life against each other. This year’s field shows how far we’ve come. It’s exceptionally diverse and talented. No I can’t wait to see which team wins six games in a row.”
Teams will compete for the $1 million championship prize, winner takes all.
Fredette, the former BYU guard who led the country in scoring in 2011 and won consensus National Player of the Year honors before being selected 10th overall in the NBA draft, heads The Money Team.
“I’m going to go out there and play again and have fun,” Fredette told ESPN. “My brother [general manager TJ Fredette] it’s part of bringing the team together. 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 opted to stay home this winter and spring as he and his wife welcomed their third child. He will join a team that reached the quarterfinals last season and features the likes of Trevor Booker, Jeremy Evans, Charles Jenkins and Jordon Crawford.
“I feel pretty good,” Fredette said. “I stayed in training all the time. I’m always going to work out, I’m going to keep working on my game. I’m going to be excited to play in front of some fans, play with some guys that I really like.”
Fredette played in TBT in 2018, leading the tournament in points, including a 41-point effort to help Team Fredette advance.
“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 big tournament, to be the top scorer. That’s fine, but it’s about surviving and moving forward. It’s about trying to win these games and keep going. Get to that million.”
Fredette’s The Money Team is the top seed in the Dayton region. Other 1 seeds include 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 the Notre Dame Fighting Alumni won the first championship. The 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. Marquette-centered Golden Eagles Alumni won in 2020, and Syracuse-centered Boeheim’s Army won the title last season.
The Boeheim Army will defend its title this summer by adding first-time TBT players Tyler Ennis, Rakeem Christmas and Marek Dolezaj, all Syracuse alumni, to a group that already included five-time TBT champion DJ Kennedy and four-time champion DeAndre Kane. .
As ESPN reported earlier this month, projected 2023 lottery picks Amen and Ausar Thompson head up Team Overtime, a team formed by sports media company Overtime. The Thompson twins suited up for the Overtime Elite last season, as did Jazian Gortman, another projected draft pick who will play for Team Overtime at TBT. It will be the first time NBA draft-eligible prospects have participated in the TBT, though the team also features several pro veterans, including former San Diego State star Malcolm Thomas. Overtime is the sixth seed in the Omaha region.
Sideline Cancer, the second seed in Xavier’s region, is looking for its third consecutive appearance in the quarterfinals. They bring back scorer Marcus Keene, but also add former South Dakota State star Mike Daum and NBA veteran CJ Miles.
Other players with NBA experience expected to play at 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), Markel Brown (Stillwater Stars), and others.
The champion team wins $1 million in a winner-takes-all title game televised on ESPN. This summer’s championship game will be played in Dayton on August 2.