Maybe you can call it the field of past glory, or the field of eternal promise. It is a little tough to call it “The Road To The Bronx,” but with $1 million at stake, the field announcement for The Basketball Tournament, which ends August 2 at Rose Hill Gym is just that, and there are more than a few local names in the mix.
On the NBA Knicks side, Nate Robinson, Renaldo Balkman, Mardy Collins and Michael Sweetney have signed on for teams. Herb Pope and Jeremy Hazell are there in the field, as are former Fordham players trying to make it back to Rose Hill, including Smush Parker, Bryant Dunston and Michael Haynes. Big East fans from years past will love the Notre Dame and Syracuse alumni teams should they make it through to the August 1 semi-final on ESPN, while A-10 fans may see alumni teams from LaSalle, or Temple, St. Louis, or even St. Joe’s take to the court.
There is even a Lehigh team for those interested in following the Patriot League, made up of the players who downed Duke in the NCAA’s three years ago. One thing is for sure, with 97 teams in regionals across the country, the field is pretty deep, and with five on five 18 minute halves and NCAA rules, the competition is going to be pretty intense.
It was a bold move by the organizers to go from 32 to 97 teams in one year, and then bring the finals to the New York area, but given the names and the teams, it may just pay off for exposure as much as it will for the one team that will walk away with the dollars.
“To grow from 32 teams in 2014 to 97 teams in 2015 serves as a testament to the open tournament model,” said TBT Founder/CEO Jon Mugar in a release Monday. “There are an extraordinary amount of sports fanatics that want to step into the role of team owner or GM, build their own franchises from scratch, and compete in an event that pays off with live game coverage on ESPN.”
The road to anything in The Bronx is always a tough one, given the field it looks like this will be no different.