TBT'ers find success against NBA teams in preseason play


By: Josh Brown | @josh_brown31 

TBT'ers proved that they can thrive against the best competition in the world this preseason

What an incredible three weeks it has been. From the tropical beaches of Hawaii to north of the border in The Six, a dozen TBT 2018 players suited up either for or against NBA teams this preseason. As you have probably come to expect by now, they all thrived. Whether it be four-time champions, All-Tournament Team members, or tournament record holders, these individuals proved that on the biggest stage, TBT players shine brightest.

Just look at these stats. Of the 19 games where a TBT player got 10+ minutes of action, they averaged 13.2 ppg. In 12 of those games a TBT player scored in double figures and in another seven they scored at least 15 points. Who says these guys do not belong in the NBA?


Josh Boone, D.J. Kennedy, Casper Ware - Melbourne United

Perhaps the most anticipated games for TBT fans this preseason were those involving Melbourne United. The defending NBL champions have three TBT legends on the roster: five-time participant Josh Boone, four-time TBT Champion and two-time MVP D.J. Kennedy and 2017 All-Tournament Team member Casper Ware. The trio lived up to the hype. In the team's first contest against the Philadelphia 76ers, Ware led the way with 19 points and five assists. As if that is not impressive enough, the 5-foot-10 Ware hit multiple shots over the outstretched arm of 7-footer Joel Embiid. Kennedy finished with four points and three rebounds and Boone did not play due to injury.

In Melbourne's second game, this time in Toronto, it was once again Ware who had the eyes of the basketball world fixated on him. In 36 minutes, Ware dropped 17 points and 5 assists. It was another all-around performance from the Team Challenge ALS star, who showed his range but also his unique ability to get to the hoop and finish over bigger defenders. Boone was a hair shy of a double-double, finishing with 9 points and 11 rebounds and Kennedy missed the game due to injury. 


Samme Givens, Scott Machado - Maccabi Haifa

What happens when you pair an Iona alum with a Talladega Knight? As we saw last week when Samme Givens and Scott Machado traveled to California for exhibition matchups against the Kings and Clippers, you get some really good basketball. In Maccabi Haifa's first game against the Kings on October 8, Machado (GaelNation) scored 15 points on 6/10 shooting from the field and 3/5 from three. Givens (Talladega Knights) added 6 points and 3 rebounds in 22 minutes of action. Machado's performance drew the interest of the nearby Lakers, who shortly thereafter signed him for the team's final preseason game. 


Kyle Fogg - Guangzhou Long-Lions

If the Wizards didn't remember his name last year, they surely do now. A year after dropping 26 points on John Wall and company in a preseason game in DC, two-time TBT MVP Kyle Fogg and his Guangzhou Long-Lions returned to the nation's capital for a rematch. Once again, Fogg put on a show. The Overseas Elite star dropped 20 points and dished out 6 dimes for the Long-Lions. Although a big second quarter propelled the Wizards, Fogg's performance helped keep the remaining three quarters within a seven-point margin.  Before the game, we caught up with Fogg to talk life as a four-time champ, why TBT players had such great success this preseason and the future of Overseas Elite.


Jimmer Fredette - Shanghai Sharks

Did anybody expect anything less from Jimmer Fredette? In his first game stateside since leading Team Fredette to the TBT 2018 Midwest Regional crown, Fredette racked up an insane 41 points and 9 rebounds against reigning NBA MVP James Harden (37 points, 9 assists) and the Houston Rockets. Per usual, Fredette found a variety of ways to score the ball. In addition to knocking down four trey balls, Jimmer relied heavily on his handles and explosive first step to get to the hoop. Maybe most impressive was his ability to finish in traffic, often finding unique ways to score over larger defenders. For many, the performance just reaffirmed the belief that Jimmer should be in the NBA.


Ramone Moore - Adelaide 36ers

Ramone Moore is used to playing as the underdog. Just take TBT 2018, for example, where Moore (10.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.8 apg) led the 15th-seeded Talladega Knights on a Cinderella run to the Super 16, which included wins over top-seeded HBC Sicklerville and seventh-seeded Team Arkansas. That mentality carried over into his game against the Utah Jazz on October 5. The Temple grad dropped 16 points and grabbed 5 rebounds for the Adelaide 36ers. 


Jerome Randle - Sydney Kings

Randled: verb, "to feel the wrath of Jerome Randle."

TBT teams far and wide have experienced this basketball phenomenon over the past two summers. This preseason, it was the Los Angeles Clippers' turn. With his Sydney Kings in Honolulu, Hawaii for a preseason tilt with Doc Rivers and company on October 1, Randle dropped a game-high 25 points to go along with 3 rebounds and 3 assists. That set a record for most points ever scored by an NBL player against an NBA team, overtaking Team Challenge ALS point guard Casper Ware, who dropped 22 against the Oklahoma City Thunder last year and 19 against the Philadelphia 76ers a couple days prior.

Randle was so good that fellow Chicago native Patrick Beverly, who is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the NBA, had to show his respect after the game. Asked about his childhood friend, Beverly stated that Randle is "one of the shiftiest guards in the world. Put him up there with Kyrie when it comes to handling the ball."


Donald Sloan - Denver Nuggets

They called his agent. After pleading with NBA teams to give him a shot during TBT 2018, Donald Sloan was brought in by the Denver Nuggets to help makeup for the abscense of the injured Isaiah Thomas. He made the most of the opportunity. In the team's game against the Lakers on October 2, which also happened to be LeBron's first home game in purple and gold, the Eberlein Drive star provided the dramatics. With the Nuggets up 110-108 with 40 seconds left, Sloan caught a Thomas Welsh pass at the top of the key and buried a three to put the game away for good. He finished the game with 12 points, 3 rebounds and 4 assists. 


Briante Weber - Miami Heat

When you think of Ram Nation guard Briante Weber, one word comes to mind: energy. That is exactly what he brought to the Miami Heat this preseason. After appearing in a pair of playoff games for the club in 2016, Weber was back for his second stint with the organization. In the four games where he logged over 10 minutes, the three-time Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year averaged 10.3 points, 3.5 assists and 1.5 rebounds per game. His best performance came against the Pelicans on October 10th, where Weber racked up 14 points, 3 assists and 3 rebounds. He also scored double-digit points against the Hornets and Wizards. Although the Heat waived Weber on Saturday, based on his preseason performance it should not be long before he finds a new home.


Terrico White - Perth Wildcats

If you watched Terrico White this preseason, you probably came to the conclusion that he can ball against the best competition in the world. We already knew this. White followed up a TBT 2018 performance in which he averaged 17.7 ppg, 7 rpg and 2.3 apg with great games against the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets. In the Beehive State, the Armored Athlete guard poured in 11 points, 6 rebounds and 1 assist. Just six days later he went to Mile High City and contributed 9 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. Although he'll play his ball in Australia this season, don't be surprised to see him on an NBA court again soon.


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