TBT Power Rankings 4.18.17
By: Josh Brown | @josh_brown31
A look at just some of the college alumni teams seeking entry into TBT 2017
With final exams approaching for college kids around the country, it's only right we pack our bags and head back to school for this week's edition of the TBT Power Rankings. Today in TBT 101 we'll be discussing the top ten college alumni teams vying for a spot in this year's tournament. While eligibility was once again not required for this week's power rankings, only teams with at least five players as of Monday morning were taken under consideration. So without further ado, get out your notebooks and learn about just some of the college alumni teams who could compete for $2 million. And as always, remember this is just one guy's opinion.
1. Golden Eagles (Marquette Alumni)
It was only a matter of time before the Golden Eagles found themselves a top the power rankings. Just look at their roster. Following a heartbreaking loss to Always A Brave in the Midwest Regional Championship Game last year, GM Daniel Fitzgerald and company will look to embark on their revenge tour in #TBT2017. Leading the way for the Marquette alumni will be Dwight Buycks. In four games last summer, the 6-foot-3 guard averaged 24.5 points per game, including 27 in a first round victory over the Illinois Hoopville Warriors. His efforts landed him beside Marcus Hall (Team Colorado), Kyle Fogg (Overseas Elite), Marcellus Sommerville (Always A Brave) and D.J. Kennedy (Overseas Elite) on the TBT 2016 All Tournament Team. Other returnees for the Golden Eagles include Davante' Gardner, Darius Johnson-Odom, Trent Lockett and Jerel McNeal. After making the West Regional Championship Game with Team Utah last July, 6-foot-8 forward Lawrence Blackledge will also join up with his former Marquette teammates. With six players currently on the roster (one shy of eligibility), just two questions remain for this Golden Eagles squad. 1. Who will they add to the team ahead of the June 1 registration deadline? 2. Will Wesley Matthews return as coach? The answers to both of these questions should give the rest of the TBT 2017 field nightmares.
2. The Untouchables (Pittsburgh Alumni)
Look, everybody expected The Untouchables to be a great team last summer. With Pittsburgh legends like Levance Fields, Antonio Graves and Jermaine Dixon among others on the roster, how could you not? But what the team showed en route to the Northeast Regional Championship Game is that aside from City of Gods, they are the outright favorite to represent the region in Baltimore this year. In addition to the aforementioned trio, adopted Panthers Cameron Clark (Oklahoma) and Ricky Harris (Massachusetts) are both slated to return for TBT 2017. Joining them will be Butler grad Michael Green, the 2008 Horizon League Player of the Year who played for the Liberty Ballers last year. Much like the Golden Eagles, two questions remain for this team. 1. Will Bradley Wanamaker return? 2. Will we get another epic rematch against longtime Big East (I refuse to say ACC) rival Boeheim's Army? The answer to the first question could be absolutely devastating to the competition in the Northeast. The answer to the second question should be a universal "hopefully" among basketball fans everywhere.
3. Ole Hotty Toddy (Ole Miss Alumni)
Something about this Ole Hotty Toddy squad just screams "fun summer basketball." Whether it's Marshall Henderson hitting transition threes from the parking lot or Christopher Warren dancing into the lane with his signature speed, this is a team that is going to play an electric brand of basketball should they qualify for TBT 2017. But even more importantly, Ole Hotty Toddy has the talent to challenge Overseas Elite for the South Regional crown. Seriously, just take a look at some of these guys' accolades. While they still have a couple of roster spots to fill out in the coming weeks, Henderson and company are well on their way to becoming the darlings of TBT 2017.
4. Majerus SLU Crew (Saint Louis Alumni)
My thoughts on Majerus SLU Crew are well documented by now. Even with only six players on the roster, it's hard to find a weakness in their game. The backcourt trio of Jordair Jett, Mike McCall Jr. and Kwamain Mitchell should have no problem getting to the bucket. And as soon as you close off the lane? Sharpshooter Mike Crawford is waiting along the perimeter to knock down a three. In the frontcourt, forwards Dwayne Evans and Cory Remekun not only open the offensive attack even more, but provide one of the best rebounding tandems that TBT has potentially ever seen.
5. Memorial Magic (Vanderbilt Alumni)
Memorial Magic made an absolutely huge addition this week in signing former Kings of the South forward Derrick Byars. After starting his college career at Virginia, the Memphis native played for Vanderbilt from 2005-2007. In his two years with the Commodores he was named SEC Player of the Year, First-team All-SEC and AP Honorable Mention All-American. Following graduation, Byars was drafted 42nd overall in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers and was shortly after named a D-League All-Star in 2009. His overseas career has taken him to Germany, France, Greece, Puerto Rico, Belgium, Spain and Israel.
6. Team Utah (Utah Alumni)
It looks like Team Utah is rolling with a lot of the same guys as last year. Why fix what's not broken? Behind returnees Shaun Green, Terrence Drisdom, Tim Drisdom, Justin Hawkins, Bryant Markson and Dakari Tucker, the squad will look to build on a TBT 2016 which saw them compete against Team Colorado for the West Regional title. The only newcomer so far is Peter Brown. The 6-foot-6 forward played the first two years of his college career at JUCO before transferring to Utah Valley for the 2005-2006 season. One of the best developments from this Team Utah squad over the past two years has been the role of Tim Drisdom. After exclusively coaching Team Utah in 2015, Drisdom decided to return to the hardwood last summer and quickly became one of the major X factors behind their deep run.
7. GaelNation (Iona Alumni)
GaelNation continues to look like a solid darkhorse pick to make it out of the Northeast. Although they may not be household names, the squad is ridden with big game experience. In fact, each member of this Iona alumni team has played in at least one NCAA Tournament and NIT. When you pair that with a desire to prove that they can play with the traditional college basketball blue boods on the biggest stage, they are not a team anyone is going to want to face come tournament time.
Thanks to you the fans we are now eligible!!! https://t.co/rBBjJaViRC— Gael Nation (@GaelNationTBT) April 17, 2017
8. Air Force Bomb Squad (Air Force Alumni)
The Princeton Offense is back for the fourth consecutive year, and that should make any basketball fan happy in itself. Oh yeah, and these guys are all American heroes. Led by GM/SF Matt Holland, the Bomb Squad could potentially bring their deepest team ever to TBT 2017. But instead of me rambling on, I want to share this moving quote from Holland. "The Bomb Squad is coming together for TBT from active duty Air Force bases across the country. Our goal is to represent our service, our Air Force Academy basketball family, and our active duty brother in arms with pride as we lace 'em up one more time for the Long Blue Line." Respect.
9. Blue Zoo (Middle Tennessee Alumni)
After not appearing in an NCAA Tournament for 24 years, a previously little-known school named Middle Tennessee State University has become a March staple for college basketball fans. And after defeating Michigan State and Minnesota respectively the past two years in the big dance, some recent alumni are trying to replicate that success in TBT. Of the six players already on the Blue Zoo roster, five have experience on college basketball's biggest stage. As for the one who doesn't? That would be LaRon Dendy, the 2012 Sun Belt Player of the Year and AP Honorable mention All-American who has played overseas since graduation in 2012.
10. Tampa Bulls (USF Alumni)
The Tampa Bulls made a big addition this past week in adding Anthony Collins to the roster. The 6-foot-1 guard spent three seasons at South Florida before transferring to Texas A&M for his senior year in 2015. While at USF, Collins dished out the second most assists of any Bull (569) in program history and was just 13 points shy of joining the 1,000 point club over the course of his collegiate career.