NCAA Tournament internet sensation Ot Elmore ready to win $2 million


By: Danny Holdsman | @DHoldsman

Ot Elmore was a worldwide internet sensation during the NCAA Tournament. Now he wants to win $2 million. 

Most players in #TBT2018 are at least a couple of years removed from the one-and-done format of the NCAA Tournament. For Ot Elmore, he only needs to go back a few months to draw on these experiences.

Elmore was a walk-on for the 13-seed Marshall Thundering Herd, a loveable underdog that upset fourth-seeded Wichita State in this year’s NCAA Tournament. Now, the internet sensation is back and ready to compete for $2 million with the West Virginia Wildcats.

“I think it’s an advantage because I just got finished playing in the one-and-done format,” said Elmore. “We know what it’s like; every game could be your last. I just think it’ll be a fun experience.”

Basketball fanatics who watched Marshall’s run are familiar with Ot’s brother, Jon, a back-to-back All-Conference USA first team selection who dropped 27 points in Marshall’s win over Wichita State. Still, Ot found a way to make a name for himself in the NCAA Tournament despite recieivng less playing time than his younger brother. 

Ot saw nine minutes of action in Marshall’s second round defeat against in-state rival West Virginia. In his final stint at the collegiate level, Ot hit a 3-point shot, picked up four personal fouls, and was even assessed one technical foul. He also found himself trending on Twitter for his ‘dad bod’, balding head, and ferocity on the court.


Fortunately, Elmore was able to take the jokes in good fun.



Elmore has long wanted to participate in TBT, but was previously restricted due to NCAA rules. Now that his NCAA eligibility has expired, his TBT tenure can begin.

“I’ve been watching it in the past,” said Elmore, “I’d always wanted to play in TBT since I’ve seen it on TV. Now that I’m finished up with college, I just wanted to jump in.”

Even though TBT is the start of Elmore’s post-college basketball career, his playing days may be in the rear-view mirror. Elmore has already accepted a job to be the top assistant coach for Glenville State University, a Division II program in West Virginia.

While not his intention, Elmore does think more guys fresh out of college should use TBT as a chance to get a feel for what the competition will be like at the next level, as well as get some additional exposure.

“It definitely could good be preparation for a professional career,” said Elmore.“It could be an advantage to play in TBT [right out of college] because you could get seen and propel your career. We have a couple guys already playing professionally and hoping to move up so hopefully this can give them that opportunity.”

Elmore will be competing with a group dominated by fellow West Virginia natives. Almost everyone is from Elmore’s hometown of Charleston and was his teammate at some point in their respective careers.

“I played basketball with Pierria Henry in high school and he’s in the EuroLeague now,” said Elmore. “Two other guys - Santino Ditrapano and Tyquane Goard - I’ve played with my whole life, they’re from Charleston. We grew up playing together. Stevie Browning and I played AAU together as kids and he went to Marshall. And Ryan Taylor and I played at Marshall together.”


The one player on the Wildcats’ roster that did not play Division I basketball is Chase Morgan, a shooting guard who played at Division II Fairmont State.

The chemistry will certainly be there for the West Virginia Wildcats, but size will not. On its current roster, the Wildcats only feature two players 6’5 or taller. Ryan Taylor and Tyquane Goard - both of whom are Marshall alums - stand 6’5 and 6’8, respectively. The rest of the team is comprised of guards.

Elmore is aware of his team’s lack of height and knows that they will have to get hot from beyond the arc in order to advance.

“West Virginia guys are a mix of skills and smarts,” said Elmore “We’re going to play together and not beat ourselves. We’re not going to have the most size so we’re going to have to shoot a lot of threes.”

This plan of attack is one that Elmore will surely embrace, given that all eight of his made shots during his two-year career at Marshall were from beyond the arc.

In addition, Elmore knows that the Marshall faithful will be out in full force at TBT’s Midwest Regional in Columbus, Ohio to cheer them on. While it will certainly be an emotional reunion for some of the best Thundering Herd in recent memory, winning $2 million is still priority number one.

“I’m doing this to have fun with my guys and to win,” said Elmore.“A lot of these guys I’ve been friends with since I was a kid. I think we’re pretty good.”

“We have a good shot, so we’re just hoping to win it and get that $2 million.”


Photo credit Marshall University Athletics.