TBT Spotlight: Washington Generals

 

By: Patrick Ronan | @pk_ronan


Generals Look to Get Back to Winning at TBT2017

To witness history in the first round of a 64-team tournament is pretty rare. A huge statistical performance, eye-opening final score or career-defining moment are usually your best chances at seeing something that really has that “I was there when…” effect.

But Saturday afternoon at Queens University in Charlotte, fans inside the Levine Center could see serious basketball history with something as simple as a one-point win.

The Washington Generals will make their return to basketball as they take on the Matadors (Texas Tech alumni) in the first round of TBT2017. Those familiar with the Generals know what the team has been through over the decades, but for those not as acquainted with the Generals back story, here’s a quick recap:

The Generals were created by Harlem Globetrotters founder and owner Abe Saperstein in 1952 when he wanted to put together a team of talented players to compete daily against the Globetrotters as they entertained fans across the world. Night-in and night-out the two teams would travel city to city, playing in front of big crowds and sold out gyms… And every night the Generals would lose.

There were a few shining moments, like the Generals’ victories over the Globetrotters in 1954, 1958 and 1971 – but the Generals have lost well over 17,000 games to the Globetrotters, and haven’t won an official game in 46 years.

But this Generals team is out to prove they’re not the Generals of past. Former NBA point guard and current Inside the NBA analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith signs on as GM and Rucker Park legend Sam Worthen is back as head coach.

The Generals shouldn’t have a problem competing on the glass and in the paint. DeAndre Medlock, Luke Piotrowski and seven-year foreign pro Vernon Goodridge give the Generals a trifecta of near seven-footers.

Former Georgia and NBA point guard Sundiata Gaines will run the offense and should be a go-to leader on both sides of the ball. Gaines was a two-time All-SEC selection and was named to the SEC All-Defensive Team as a senior in 2008. After going undrafted, he was a D-League All-Star in 2010 before signing with the Utah Jazz. He went on to total 113 games in three NBA seasons with the Jazz, T-Wolves, Raptors and Nets.

Former Auburn guard Antione Mason will be another player to watch in the back court. Mason was a two-time First Team All-MAAC selection at Niagara before transferring to play for the Tigers for his fifth year. In his five college seasons, Mason never averaged less than 14.4 points and put up 25.6 per game in his final season at Niagara.

Small forward Tyshon Pickett and power forward Kavon Lytch-Jones are proven scorers that can take you off the dribble or in the post. Both could present defenses with interesting mismatches. At 6’6”, Pickett has is a tough cover for any defense that decides to go small. Lytch-Jones presents Draymond Green type problems. He’s a 6’7” power forward who can take bigs off the dribble and bully guards to the rim.

Seeing the Generals in a real game against overseas professionals and former power five college players will give us a great opportunity to see just different this new Generals team is. I’m not saying all those games against the Globetrotters were staged…. Buuuut I think we all know they weren’t exactly legit basketball games played on an even playing field.

There’s $2 million dollars at stake this time, so let’s see what the new-look Generals have got.