Atlanta, GA — On a scorching hot weekend in Atlanta folks came to play ball. Teams around the nation consisting of former NCAA and NBA players gathered in ATL to compete in the TBT tournament with a winner take all prize of $2 million. On its fifth year, covered on national TV by ESPN, competition has been fierce. The team to beat is Overseas Elite as they have won the last three years going 21-0 and winning $5 million during their run.
As the tournament unfolded one thing was apparent, people care. Scouts are present as 16 players from the TBT have signed with NBA teams in the last year alone. Fans from far and wide, notably Ohio State and Syracuse, traveled to support the teams in play. With the tournament being sponsored by Puma and run by a dedicated staff, it is clear that this event will be around for a long time and only grow further.
A highlight of the tournament has been a change in rules dubbed the Elam Ending. They stop the clock in the fourth quarter with four minutes left. The leading team’s score is taken and seven points are added to it, the first team to reach that number wins the game.
This rule adds a level of competition and drive that most games don’t have down the stretch, keeping the energy high and crowds engaged.
Excellent play, grit, and effort were on display throughout the weekend. Performance of the tournament has to go to Jimmer Fredette, former 1st round pick, as he scored 40+ points in a convincing win to move past the Ft. Wayne Champs. Hustle plays, ice cold three-point shots, and an attacking mentality were the highlights of Fredette’s performance.
Crowd participation has been huge throughout TBT. Teams in the tournament have fans that travel. The Scarlet and Gray squad, led by fan favorite Greg Oden, had a slew of fans from Ohio State University show up and show out. Fans were loud, engaged, and had an impact on the energy of the game. Oden and his teammates were appreciative as they moved past the Primetime Players in a hectic battle.
Not to be outdone, the Syracuse Orange essentially filled the arena with their classic orange and blue colors. Boeheim’s Army played on 10 as chants from the fans echoed throughout the arena. Eric Devendorf led the team with 19 points in an effort that displayed the fervor and support around TBT.
This tournament is truly for the fans and supporters of players that are hungry and want to be on the court giving it their all. One player likened it to the NCAA tournament as every game means something and the winner of it all reaps the spoils of the grand prize, while everyone else has to go home.
Emotions flared high as the final games of Saturday came to a close with high energy from Team Challenge ALS as they clawed their way past the Sons of Westwood to face Eberlein Drive in the Elite 8.
Sunday marked the last day for Boeheim’s Army as they lost a tough game after getting away from the inside game. The crowd was completely taken out of the game, the arena was silent. The Golden Eagles let them back into contention under the Elam rule but were able to put the game away with a costly turnover.
The Ohio State fandom was in full force for the Scarlet and Gray showdown against Team Fredette, they were, however, unprepared for the execution and conditioning of Team Fredette. Another fiercely supported team had the wind taken out of its sails as Fredette dropped 28 in a convincing win.
The Golden Eagles will face the reigning champs Overseas Elite after Overseas Elite handily beat Ram Nation. Overseas Elite is the favorite heading into the final four. Eberlein Drive will face Team Fredette to round out the final four which will be played on Thursday in Baltimore and the Championship game will be Baltimore as well on Friday, August 3.