USF alumni team gearing up for national hoops tourney
The roster exodus has shifted into reverse. The Bulls who bolted not terribly long ago are returning.
JaVontae Hawkins is back. So is Anthony Collins. Day by day, the lineup is further fortified.
The alumni lineup, anyway.
All indications are, USF will field an alumni team in a fledgling 64-team national tournament known simply as "The Basketball Tournament" (TBT).
Coach Anthony Brammer, a former video assistant for Stan Heath, says the squad -- known as the Tampa Bulls -- has commitments from the minimum seven players required, and has received the minimum 100 fan votes needed for eligibility. Those voters also get a cut of the $2 million winner-take-all prize if the Bulls win.
Among those joining Hawkins and Collins will be King High alumnus Toarlyn Fitzpatrick, Gus Gilchrist, Ron Anderson Jr., Hugh Robertson and Corey Allen Jr. Michael Brown, a former Bulls manager, is the "GM."
Teams can gain entry into a 16-team region in one of three ways: Nine teams are chosen based on popularity (fans can vote for their team of choice here), while six others who meet eligibility requirements (at least seven players, 100 fan votes) are chosen at-large. One team in each region can play through in the "TBT Jamboree."
Brammer, now a loan officer and assistant hoops coach at Lecanto High, said he believes his club will receive an at-large bid when the field is announced June 6. It's currently eighth in the latest TBT "Power Rankings."
"They want us in this tournament," he said.
The tournament begins in early July and ends Aug. 3 in Baltimore. All games will be televised on one ESPN platform or another. Teams must pay their expenses the first two rounds (at four different sites nationwide), but the event pays the way from there.