By Joshua M Hicks (@jhicks042)
When you think of the term “rivalry” in its most comfortable setting — within sports — it references teams that compete against each other with pride, additional pressure and sometimes high levels of emotion that contribute to the overall flow of games like brawls and physical altercations.
In regards to basketball — more specifically college basketball — Ohio State and Marquette are two Midwestern schools that have often lived up to the expectations of a true rivalry, whether its within their ever-competitive conferences (Big East, Big Ten) or in spare meetings against each other.
Both schools have a tradition of winning on the basketball court, featuring legendary coaches and numerous players that represent that these schools as pros, such as Dwyane Wade (Marquette), Mike Conley (Ohio State), Jimmy Butler (Marquette), D’Angelo Russell (Ohio State) just to name a few in recent times.
These schools also have faithful fan bases who show up at any and every sporting event. Those sporting fan bases did not disappoint in the TBT championship game this past Tuesday, which added another chapter to the deep basketball books each school carries. This time it was an an alumni edition.
This year’s TBT championship team, Carmen’s Crew, featured notable OSU alumni William Buford (currently top-5 all-time in school history in scoring), Aaron Craft and David Lighty, and was led by former NBA player Jared Sullinger and current Atlanta Hawks forward and Chicago (St. Joseph High School) native Evan Turner, who served as lead coaches for the team.
The Crew’s offensive talent was loaded, and it showed in the championship game. Jon Diebler led the way by shooting 3-4 from the 3-point line as the team shot 47 percent (43% from three) overall. Key scoring from Lighty and Craft down the stretch assisted to Carmen’s quest to the title and ultimately led to Buford’s game-winning free throws to seal the championship and the $2 million dollar prize from sponsor Zelle by a score of 66-60. Lighty led all scorers with 17, while Buford chipped in 14.
Demetri McCamey, a former University of Illinois Fighting Illini guard/forward, played against Turner during his tenure at Ohio State, but served as an honorary Buckeye in this tournament, starring for Carmen’s Crew. In large part this late, late transfer from U of I was due to McCamey’s lasting friendship with Turner, which stemmed from their original run as teammates at St. Joseph High School in suburban Chicago. McCamey expressed his gratitude to be able to play for his best friend through the Basketball Tournament.
“Unfortunately, my best friend Evan Turner was playing for the Buckeyes and I played against him in college and it was tough. But [The Basketball Tournament] was a good chance [to get together],” McCamey said. “We had a good team and good chemistry. It was great.”
McCamey went into further detail, expressing his feelings about his overall experience within TBT after winning the championship.
“Coming here to TBT, it was physical and the money speaks for itself. It was tremendous,” McCamey said.
“It was like playing overseas in the top league like the EuroLeague or EuroCup. All of these players that are not in the NBA you get to see them come back home and play for their university, see how they develop their game and compete at the highest level.”
Turner, who was the second overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft, agreed with McCamey, and discussed the impact TBT has had on him, especially as an alumni representing his university on a professional level.
“It’s a blessing man. I’ve been fortunate to choose the right university where I always feel like I’m at home anywhere I go in the world. It’s always some type of mega support and family,” Turner said.
“These guys are some of my best friends on Earth, and to be able to see them compete against some of the best, I have the most fun around basketball when I’m [in Chicago].”
With the success of the tournament being well received, McCamey believes that TBT can eventually be an alternative league for professional athletes to play for instead of going overseas.
“You can [play in TBT] and compete at the highest level and if you win the money you won’t have to go overseas,” McCamey said.
“You can stay home and get better or still go overseas and get double. It all depends on the plan but it definitely gives you that flexibility to decide what you want to do.”
Joshua M. Hicks is a Senior Writer for WARR Media