Syracuse's The Basketball Tournament entry: Mookie Jones, uniform designs, roster dilemmas
The original Orange cast members who will play for $1 million in the single-elimination tournament this summer included Rick Jackson, Donte Greene, Hakim Warrick, Josh Pace, Brandon Reese, Baye Moussa Keita and Eric Devendorf. The team quickly added Demetris Nichols to fill a shooting need, though his overseas playing season has prevented him from officially signing up.
But because Nichols is unavailable during the tournament's second weekend in Chicago (he will serve as an usher in his best friend's wedding), the Syracuse contingent reached out to Mookie Jones to plug the shooting void.
Jones has been finishing his degree requirements at SU and has been working out with Devendorf at the Melo Center. Long a fan favorite for his audacious shooting range and his willingness to launch the 3-ball, Jones will sub for Nichols for one weekend, should Syracuse advance past the first weekend of competition, said Kevin Belbey, the team's general manager.
Syracuse, too, will likely add another player. Terrence Roberts, John Wallace and Paul Harris have each expressed interest.
"We still haven't figured out that final spot," Belbey said.
Syracuse has registered the most fans of any other team in TBT. The final field of tournament teams depends on fan support. TBT will consist of 97 teams. Notre Dame (the "Fighting Alumni") earned an automatic bid because it won last year's TBT. Fans vote online to determine the other 96 teams. The top 18 vote-getters by June 1 in each of the four regions — Northeast, South, Midwest, West — will play for the $1 million prize money. Each region will also add six at-large teams.
The regions, Belbey said, will be seeded by fan support. And while Syracuse, at this point, would seem to be a heavy favorite to advance out of the Northeast region, the Orange could draw a difficult opponent in Philadelphia (site of the Northeast games) early in the draw.
"Because the seeds are by fan favorite," Belbey said, "we could be the No. 1 seed and still end up playing a tough team."
Belbey has appealed to Syracuse fans to help design the team's uniform. Because the Orange contingent has reached 1,000 fan votes, Belbey said, it can create its own uniform look. If Syracuse players fail to provide a fashion concept, TBT will design the team's gear. Designers with Syracuse flair can email their ideas to Belbey at SyracuseAlumniTBT@gmail.com.
"There are lots of talented Syracuse fans out there who can do it," Belbey said. "And there are a lot of Syracuse fans who have made their opinions known about previous Syracuse jersey choices."
The Basketball Tournament was featured this week in Sports Illustrated, which revealed that 2013 NCAA Tournament darling Florida Gulf Coast (Dunk City!) will field a team.
This Categories More News -