Team Brotherly Love eager to put Philly brand of basketball on the national stage

 

By: Kathryn Maloney


Team Brotherly Love proved that grit and hustle can overcome anything last summer

Walking into SRC Arena, Team Brotherly Love knew they were being overlooked. A team full of Philly underdogs was about to play Syracuse alumni team Boeheim's Army, a perrenial TBT contender, in a sold-out arena just 15 minutes from the Carrier Dome. 

This is exactly the position they wanted to be in.

Behind 22 points from Novar Gadson and 18 from Frantz Massenat, Team Brotherly Love beat Boeheim's Army, 84-72, to advance to Championship Week in Chicago. The final bucket was a mid-range turnaround by Temple alum Ramone Moore. After sinking the shot he turned around, waved goodbye to 'Cuse fans, and headed back home to Philly. Mission acomplished.

 

They like to refer to themselves as a family rather than just a team. With a bond that extends beyond the court, this group of guys all have a deep connection to Philadelphia, either playing college ball or growing up there. No one picked them to advance to Championship Week, but their background helped enable them to do exactly that.

Despite losing in the Quarterfinals to Team Hines the following weekend, Team Brotherly Love learned a lot from their experience in last year’s tournament. 

“It was awesome and definitely a great experience,” said GM and assistant coach Danny Holdsman. “We set an expectation for ourselves that we are looking to capitalize on this year’s tournament. [Anything short of that] would be kind of a disappointment.”

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What makes Team Brotherly Love special, however, is their closeness. Because of this tight bond and every player's connection to the city of Philadelphia, they describe their style of play as “a Philly brand of basketball.” 

Priding themselves on their toughness and grit enables them to compete with some of the bigger names featured in TBT. Despite being a guard-oriented team, they have a lot of versatility. This pride in their city translates off the court as well, enhancing that “family” dynamic. When asked what he misses most when playing overseas, point guard Khalif Wyatt was quick to say “my [Philly] coaches and my teammates, that family atmosphere.”

With a roster full of overseas professionals and former Division I players, Team Brotherly Love has been working hard in the offseason to prepare for this year’s tournament. Immediately after losing to Team Hines they began putting a plan together. From discussing their shortfalls last summer to putting careful thought into each roster addition, Team Brotherly Love has put in far more time and energy into this offseason than last. They are expecting this hard work to translate on the court and ultimately result in a $2 million payday this coming August. 

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Returning players include Michael Ringgold and Novar Gadson from Rider University, Ramone Moore of Temple University,  as well as Drexel alums Frantz Massenat and Samme Givens. The team is also bringing in Philly basketball legend Khalif Wyatt, a Temple alum and 2013 Atlantic 10 Player of the Year. Though the roster is still being finalized, this core group of guys provides veteran leadership and experience. From hosting virtual workouts with each other when quarantined to communicating overseas, they want to do everything to make sure they're capitalizing on the opportunity. 

"We have a great set of new staff for this upcoming summer," said Gadson. "We have a trainer on board with us and we added a friendly but competitive guy from our area in Khalif Wyatt. He’s a creative guard with the ball and is a sniper from three.” 

 

Gadson is also excited about the addition of Craig Victor, who played college ball at Arizona (2014-2015) and LSU (2015-2017).

 “He is a very tough, versatile player who fits our team perfectly," said Gadson.

As TBT 2020 nears, Team Brotherly Love is eager to once again put that the Philly brand of basketball on the national stage. 

“I love getting to go to war with this special group of guys," said Gadson, "we are a close group and I think this is our year to show up and prove it.”