TBT Dream Teams - Virginia vs. South Carolina

 

By: Josh Brown | @josh_brown31


Could we see this ACC-SEC showdown in TBT 2019?

It's an I-73 matchup on Wednesday night when No. 5 Virginia (9-0) makes the trip to Columbia for a visit with South Carolina (4-5). Considering both teams have experienced program-altering success and heartbreaking defeat over the past couple of years, what better time for them to get the band back together than TBT 2019? Let's take a look at what each of these squads could look like!

Virginia Alumni

Stop for a moment and close your eyes. Think about which college basketball fan base deserves to see its team win a championship. Got it yet? For me, the answer is a no-brainer. After dealing with tough injuries and upsets galore over the past decade, the Virginia faithful desperately needs a sigh of relief. Who says that can’t happen in TBT? Although college basketball’s ultimate prize has escaped them, the talent that Virginia has produced over the years is second to none. An excellent choice to coach a UVA alumni squad would be three-time First-team All-ACC honoree Sean Singletary. While his professional career unfortunately got cut short due to injuries, Singletary is one of the most consequential players in Cavaliers history and has his No. 44 jersey hanging in the John Paul Jones Arena rafters. With Singletary manning the bench, it would only make sense for J.R. Reynolds to run the point. The two formed one of the best backcourts in ACC history and served as co-captains for two seasons in Charlottesville. Reynolds has had a storied overseas career since graduating in 2007, winning titles in France and Montenegro. Joining Reynolds at the other guard is 2017 alum London Perrantes. Over the course of his four-year UVA career, Perrantes scored 1,225 points and tied a program record with 138 games played.

Given how important defense is in TBT, Isaiah Wilkins and Darion Atkins are the sort of players you build your frontcourt around. Wilkins was named ACC Defensive Player of the Year last season after averaging 6.2 rpg, 1.2 spg, and 1.4 bpg. He’s currently with the G-League’s Greensboro Swarm. Atkins is balling in Israel after winning a French Cup with SIG Strasbourg last year. The 2015 UVA grad took home the Lefty Driesell Award his senior season, which is given to the best defender in college basketball. With these two roaming the paint, you get the feeling that opponents would be settling for a whole lot of long 3-point attempts. Rounding out the starting five is big Mike Tobey. The 7-footer was named ACC Sixth Man of the Year in 2015 and finished his collegiate career as UVA’s all-time leader in games played (138). After a brief stint with the Charlotte Hornets in 2017, Tobey jetted off to Spain where he has since won a Spanish League title and FIBA Intercontinental Cup MVP. 

UVS vs SC Insta Piece 1

 

South Carolina Alumni

Just two years removed from a historic Final Four appearance, the stars could be aligned for a deep TBT run for the Gamecocks. If you add Alex English to the equation, then it becomes almost too good to be true. A Columbia native, English stayed in his home city for college and became arguably the best player in program history. Over the course of his four-year career, which spanned from 1972-1976, English scored a record 1,972 points and grabbed over 1,000 rebounds. He then went on to become an eight-time NBA All-star with the Nuggets and currently has his jersey hanging in the Pepsi Center rafters. Upon retirement, English gained coaching experience with the 76ers, Hawks, Raptors, and Kings. Two guys that English would surely want running his backcourt are Devan Downey and Tre Kelley. Downey, who hails from nearby Chester, transferred to USC in 2007 after starting his college career at Cincinnati. He made the most of his three years in Columbia, twice being named a First-team All-SEC selection and making the SEC All-Defensive Team in 2010. College basketball gurus remember Downey from his incredible 30-point performance against John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, and previously unbeaten Kentucky in 2010. He has since balled all over the world in a successful overseas career. Kelley is a familiar face in the TBT universe after playing with DC On Point in TBT 2018. The 33-year old overcame a tragic childhood to become one of the most revered players in Gamecocks history. Kelley is second all-time in games played (134), third in assists (510) and minutes played (3,956), and ninth in career points (1,488). He is currently in his 12th season overseas. 

P.J. Dozier and Renaldo Balkman bring a little NBA flare to the frontcourt. Dozier, who was a member of the 2017 Final Four Team, is on a two-way deal with the Celtics after spending last season with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He played his best basketball at USC during the NCAA Tournament, averaging 15.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 2.4 apg. His efforts landed him a spot on the East Regional All-Tournament Team. Balkman is another familiar face after competing with Eberlein Drive in 2016. Although he’s currently balling in Puerto Rico, he’s perhaps best known for his days with the Knicks and Nuggets. Balkman was named the NIT MVP in 2006 after averaging 9.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.9 apg, 1.7 spg and 1.3 bpg in South Carolina’s run to the title. Rounding out the starting five is a guy who needs no introduction to TBT fans. While he already has a pretty good situation going on with Overseas Elite, four-time champ Johndre Jefferson would bring invaluable experience to a South Carolina alumni squad. With talks of Overseas Elite possibly retiring, you can never have enough backup options. This sounds like a pretty good one. 

UVS vs SC Insta Piece 2

 

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