Last week, Orange Fizz‚Äôs Nathan Dickinson talked to Boeheim‚Äôs Army general manager and founder Kevin Belbey. Boeheim‚Äôs Army, a team of former Syracuse basketball players, will be playing in ‚ÄúThe Basketball Tournament‚Äù (TBT) for the second year this summer. TBT is a 64-team single elimination tournament, where the last team standing takes home $2,000,000. Boeheim‚Äôs Army reached the quarterfinals last year¬†and hopes to take home the title this time around.
Orange Fizz: Can you run through some of the guys who will be on [Boeheim‚Äôs Army] this year?
Kevin Belbey: At the guard spots you‚Äôre looking at guys like Brandon Triche and Eric Devendorf, which is exciting for Syracuse fans because you see players who never actually played together now joining forces‚Ä¶ It‚Äôll be the perfect backcourt, I think. Up in the front court, guys like Donte Greene and CJ Fair at the forward spots, and also Rick Jackson,¬†Terrence Roberts, Darryl ‚ÄúMookie‚Äù Watkins and Baye Moussa Keita as well. We have one non-Syracuse guy, Willie Deane, who‚Äôs a point guard that played at Purdue.
If Boeheim‚Äôs Army makes it to the ‚ÄúSuper 16‚Äù weekend in Philadelphia, they would be allowed to bring in an extra player since they have received over 2,000 fan votes on thetournament.com.
OF: Have you guys thought at all about who you would bring in if you made it to that ‚ÄúSuper 16‚Äù mark?
KB: Yeah, we have a bit. Hakim Warrick played with us last year a bit, and he‚Äôs still in great shape. He lives in Philadelphia, I think he would be a great possibility. He‚Äôs just finishing up his overseas season in Greece, he played for the Olympiad. I think he just wants to take some more time to see if he wants to rest some, or what he wants to do. Dream scenario: Dion Waiters is a free agent this summer with the Oklahoma City Thunder, so say he can‚Äôt get a deal done and is taking his time with that, he‚Äôd be able to come in and play for the weekend. There‚Äôs a lot of different options, a lot of Syracuse guys who since we‚Äôve done it last year are interested and know what it is. It‚Äôs a little less hard to sell. It makes it a little easier to put a team together, so we‚Äôll see.
The competition is a lot tougher this year. There‚Äôs a team of Kentucky alums, a team of Michigan State alums. Are you going to be looking to take legal action against everyone who stole your idea?
KB: I wish. I just graduated law school here at Syracuse, so that would be right up my ally. But really, I can‚Äôt be upset, because we were motivated by Notre Dame putting a team together to win the inaugural TBT in 2014. If Notre Dame can do something, Syracuse can definitely do it and do it better. That‚Äôs kind of what motivated me to put this team together and it‚Äôs been a big success so far. I‚Äôm really hoping and expecting big things this summer as well.
OF: You recently got Jim and Juli Boeheim on board. What are they doing and how are you helping their foundation?
KB: Well, I figured it wouldn‚Äôt be much of a ‚ÄúBoeheim‚Äôs Army‚Äù without the Boeheims. I did come up with this idea last year, and when we needed a team name I figured it had to be something involved with Jim Boeheim. I just thought that Boehieim‚Äôs Army would be the perfect ode to him and all his players and myself as well (I was a manager for Syracuse basketball). We wouldn‚Äôt have had all of these great opportunities if it wasn‚Äôt for Jim Boeheim ‚Ä¶¬†It was a match made in heaven for us to be able to help them out in some way. If we win the tournament this summer, a check will go directly to the Jim and Juli Boeheim Foundation for $50,000, which will really help them and Central New York with all the great causes and all the great that they do. We‚Äôre excited for that. We‚Äôre excited to give back to Coach.
OF: I went and covered the Super 16 game in Chicago last year, and it was all orange there. Are you surprised by how quickly this has grown in the Syracuse community?
KB: Syracuse basketball is just so huge here in Central New York, and to create an opportunity where we can play Syracuse in the middle of the summer; I don‚Äôt think anything can beat that. We had a great crowd in Chicago, we had a great crowd in Philadelphia, and I‚Äôm looking to the same thing this year.
If you want to listen to Orange Fizz‚Äôs full interview with Kevin, you can hear it as a part of the Fizz Radio podcast here.
If you want to become a fan of Boeheim‚Äôs Army on thetournament.com, you can do so here.