Overseas Elite: Pro-Am Squad Attempts to Go For A Three-Peat at The Basketball Tournament

Photo courtesy of The Basketball Tournament

By David Cordova

A lot of dynasties always go down in sports, but then again there is one unique dynasty that is different than others, for a couple million reasons, and on one big stage that is televised every year on ESPN.

Overseas Elite, a pro-am squad, comprised of former college stars, play in The Basketball Tournament, an event in which the team that wins the entire tournament earns the grand prize of $2 million.

In 2015 and 2016, Overseas Elite emerged as champions of The Basketball Tournament and have collected a total of $3 million in the last two years. The year of the first title, they earned $1 million. The following year, the ante was upped by the tournament, and they emerged victorious again, and this time, they won $2 million.

Kyle Fogg shoots a three. (Photo courtesy of The Basketball Tournament)

This year, they are back to defend their title, and have made it to the quarterfinals of TBT, in which the winner of tonight’s game against VCU Ram Nation at 6 PM on the campus of LIU Brooklyn.

“The mission is to get this money,” says head coach Colin Curtin, “It’s easier said they’re done. What we’re trying to accomplish, three in a row is unheard of, and we know that, but we know that we’re getting everyone’s best every time we come out there, and we know the bulls-eye is bigger than ever, but our guys are good, there’s no pressure, they feel good, they play good, so we just gotta keep this going.”

Curtin, who is the Director of Basketball Operations for the men’s basketball program at Hofstra University, enjoys coaching this great group of players. “Yeah, it feels good, I do it because these guys are great, they’re all good guys, I love working with these guys, they’re very money-hungry, they’re professional players, they know the game, so it’s really easy to coach them. I don’t really do too much coaching, because they’re just so good, I put them in spots to succeed. But yeah, just a great group of guys, I love coaching these guys,” says Curtin.

Head coach Colin Curtin manning the sidelines for Overseas Elite. (Photo courtesy of The Basketball Tournament)

On coaching in the TBT, Curtin says: “It’s a great tournament. For me, my situation at Hofstra, I really can’t coach, I’m in a non-coaching position, so it gives me an opportunity to get out here and coach guys, and it’s something I really enjoy. I really look forward to it in the summertime, people really kid me and say that this is my full-time job, but this is something I really love to do.”

The three players who have the most impact on the team are for St. John’s stars D.J. Kennedy and Paris Horne and former Arizona guard Kyle Fogg, who provide electric offense and some much needed defense to the team.

“Those guys great, man,” says Curtin. “They all have different games. All those guys bring different levels to their game, so it’s good for our team.”

On Paris Horne: “Paris is a lockdown defender. He can really get it done. Paris stars for us, because he’s an unbelievable role player.”

On D.J. Kennedy: “D.J. does it all, you know, I said to the TBT people that he’s the LeBron James of the TBT, you know, he’s a mismatch nightmare at the four. If a big guy is on him, he’s dribbling it and driving it. If a little guy is on him, he’s posting him.”

On Kyle Fogg: “Kyle Fogg makes shots at a high, high level, and he showed today that he can pass. Five assists, one turnover.”

Also, in the fold is former St. John’s forward Justin Burrell, a very dominant and dangerous player in the low-post, who is known for blocking shots and throwing down violent dunks at the rim. “Justin’s great. He can do a little bit of everything. He’s mixing up down low, he can knock down that mid-range jumpshot. Can really rebound, can really defend,” says Curtin of Burrell.

Justin Burrell at the free-throw line. (Photo courtesy of The Basketball Tournament)

Another potent threat for Overseas Elite is Errick McCollum II, the former Lehigh University guard and brother of the Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum, who is also a great shooter and an offensive nightmare for defenders that come his way.

“Errick’s, man, instant offense,” says Curtin of McCollum, “It’s one of those things that once he starts, if he makes two, three in a row, you just kind of watch out, because he can get on a roll, and that’s what he does, scores in spurts, and we rely on him heavily when we’re in a drought. He’ll go get a bucket for us.”

The 84-76 win on Friday against the Tampa Bulls made it the team’s 16th straight game that they won. But for Curtin, it’s just another game on a road to a title. “Yeah, so we won a couple in a row. We don’t really talk about that. We just kinda go out there and play, and win the next one and win the next one. It’s all one-win seasons for us. We try to win tonight to get to Sunday, we try to win on Sunday to get to the Final Four.”

The only thing getting in the way of them going to the Final Four is their game against VCU Ram Nation. “VCU is very good. I was just saying to the media, because we beat them last year, they’re going to come out really hungry, they’re going to want to beat us. I really think that either of us, VCU or us, we could win the whole thing.”

So the question now is, will Overseas Elite, the two-time defending champions and the No. 1 seed be dethroned by VCU Ram Nation or will they emerge victorious and make it to the Final Four on August 1st at Coppin State University in Baltimore? Those questions will be answered tonight at 6 PM. If they were to win the title on August 3rd, that would mean not only three championships in three years, but also $5 million in that span, which would be an extremely amazing feat.

But as for Overseas Elite, when asked what’s next in their future, Curtin replied simply, “I don’t know, man. We’re going to keep building on this, hopefully we’re going to get a couple more wins here and have that good feeling that we’ve had the last two years, and then just keep building on it, and keep that brand going, keep Overseas Elite out there, and have people notice us. You know it’s great for these guys in the summer to play competitive basketball, and we’re just going to keep it going and hopefully, we get that check in a couple of weeks.”

 

Highlights of Overseas Elite:

Courtesy of The Basketball Tournament.

Courtesy of The Basketball Tournament.

Courtesy of The Basketball Tournament.

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