By David Cordova
Summer basketball brings a lot of excitement to many people, especially to those in big cities such as New York. The Big Apple is home to many of the most famous tournaments such as the Entertainers Basketball Classic, Dyckman, West 4th Street, and Nike Pro City. However, there is a new pro-am that is giving fans a chance to witness some great basketball.
The Basketball Tournament, a single-elimination pro-am tournament, which is televised on ESPN during the summer, has an NCAA-style format with 64 teams and has been inception since 2014. The main objective for all of the teams in this event is to win the championship and to be last team standing to win the grand prize of $1 million. This year, the incentive has been raised to $2 million.
Another great feature of TBT, as it is commonly called is the chance at seeing former college and NBA stars once again. For some, it is not only a chance at winning a title or their share of cash, it is also a chance at getting an opportunity at playing professional basketball in either a different country or the NBA’s Development League.
This year’s semifinals brought out four teams, Always A Brave (alums from Bradley University), Team Colorado (alums from the University of Colorado), City of Gods and Overseas Elite, the defending champions of last year’s event. This would be an exciting matchup between all four teams, which took place at Fordham University in The Bronx. The question was which two teams would make it to the championship on Tuesday, August 2nd, at 7 PM?
Here’s how everything turned out:
Team Colorado 78, Always A Brave 70
In the beginning of the game, both teams battled it out and matched basket for basket. In the first half, Team Colorado surged ahead behind 9 points by guard Marcus Hall as they led, 20-12, with 7:09 left in the half. But then Always A Brave came back, behind Tony Bennett & Jeremy Crouch, cutting the deficit to 31-27 at the half.
In the second half, Team Colorado continued to hold down the lead with scoring from Hall & Marcus Relphode, as they combined for 32 points, with Colorado leading 45-41 with 11:04 left. Always A Brave tried to make a comeback throughout the second half behind Bennett & O’Bryant, but the combo of Hall and Relphode, proved to be too much for the opposition as Team Colorado made it to the finals.
Hall led Team Colorado with 25 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists and Relphode added 20 points. For Always A Brave, Crouch led with 16 points and Bennett added 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Overseas Elite 103, City of Gods 92
In the second game, which was also the rematch of last year’s semifinal, both teams came out swinging in the beginning, as both teams kept it close. Lasan Kromah of City of Gods took over with 14 points in the first half, leading them to a 29-20 lead with 7:49 to go in the half. Former NBA player DerMarr Johnson also helped out with 12 first-half points, raising their lead to 15 points, 46-32 with over four minutes left in the half.
Then Overseas Elite came back from a double-digit deficit with the help of scoring from Kyle Fogg and DJ Kennedy, tying the game at 48-48, with 2.6 seconds to go in the half, after Fogg was fouled and made two out of three free throws, sending the game into the half.
In the start of the second half, Overseas Elite took over the game, leading 62-55, with 14:09 left. Four minutes later, Overseas Elite was up 81-60 with 10:06 left, due in part to the scoring of Fogg & Kennedy & the team’s tremendous pressure defense. Many thought that the game was over that soon, but City of Gods fought back, cutting the deficit to 95-87, with 1:46 left in the game. However, the defending champions would hold on to make their second straight appearance in the title game.
Fogg led Overseas Elite with 42 points, while Kennedy added 21 points and 11 rebounds and Errick McCollum II added 19 points. For City of Gods, Kromah added 22 points and Johnson added 16 points and Chris Wright added 12 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds.
The stage is set for this Tuesday at Fordham U. Now, the question is who will be the last man standing after 36 minutes of battle? Will Team Colorado walk away with the gold and the millions or will Overseas Elite repeat? That question will be answered in 48 hours.