After its most successful run ever in The Basketball Tournament last year saw it fall in the semifinal to eventual champion Overseas Elite, Boeheim’s Army is back and better than ever for another run at the fifth annual TBT crown. Some of last year’s team is back, but there are some fresh faces on this year’s roster that could help the disciples of Boeheim get over the hump and win a title. This is your all-inclusive preview of The Tournament and everything you need to know about Boeheim’s Army
There aren’t any changes at the top level of Boeheim’s Army as both head coach Ryan Blackwell and GM Kevin Belbey are back for BA. Belbey has done an excellent job of constructing a really fantastic roster over the last few years and that doesn’t stop this year with a lot of really exciting additions to an already loaded roster.
As for Blackwell, well, he has certainly had quite the productive year since the last time he coached up Boeheim’s Army. Blackwell led the Liverpool High School boys basketball team to an undefeated season and Class AA state championship in just his third season at the helm of the program. He’s proven himself to be one of the best high school coaches in the state and is by far one of the most successful coaches in the tournament.
Both of Boeheim’s Army’s top scorers return from last year’s Final Four run in the form of guards Brandon Triche and Eric Devendorf. In last year’s tournament, Devendorf was by far Boeheim’s Army most important player, averaging nearly 20 points per game and dropping 15 in the massive comeback win over Team FOE in the Elite Eight. Triche also had a great tournament where he averaged over 11 points, six assists and five rebounds.
Outside of Triche and Devendorf, Boeheim’s Army also returns guard John Gillon who is known for his own heroics in Syracuse basketball lore. Outside of the backcourt, BA also returns sharpshooter James Southerland who led the team in scoring in the near-30-point comeback against Team FOE with 23 points. Center DaShonte Riley also returns and will provide a nice defensive anchor of the bench.
These guys right here, these are the most exciting part about a Boeheim’s Army team that has a serious chance to make a run at a title. No definitive additions have been made to the BA backcourt, but a bevy of new small forwards that can easily play the two-guard should help to provide some depth to the guard spot.
Paul Harris is the most likely candidate to do so as his 6-foot-5 frame transitions perfectly to the shooting guard spot. The 2006-2009 SU alum is a great shooter with fantastic above-the-rim athleticism that will make him a fantastic slasher that will help to stretch out defenses because he shoot and take it to the bucket to score.
Kris Joseph has also been put in the mix for TBT this season. He’s probably most well-remembered for an incredible senior season in 2011-2012 when he led the Orange in scoring at 13.4 ppg before being named to the All-Big East First Team and an AP Honorable Mention All-American. Since then, he was in and out of the NBA from 2012-2013 and has since become a fixture overseas but has most recently returned home to Canada to play in the National Basketball League of Canada. For a team that already has great shooting in Eric Devendorf, Joseph will provide even more great shooting and some much-needed length on defense.
Small forward Demetris Nichols is another newcomer to the roster this season. As a senior in the 2006-2007 season, Nichols was a unanimous All-Big East First Team selection after leading the conference in scoring at 18.9 ppg. Another great shooter, Nichols is tenth allt-me in three-point field goal percentage for SU at a 35.8% clip. The way this team is trending, BA may just be the Houston Rockets of TBT this year.
Perhaps the most exciting addition to the 2018 roster comes from the power forward position, however. Hakim Warrick (yes THAT Hakim Warrick) is best known for the block in the 2003 National Championship Game, as well as his dunk against Texas in that year’s Final Four. Warrick will be the perfect complement to a team that will likely shoot a ton of threes because of his fantastic athleticism in taking the ball to the basket in dribble-drive situations where the defense is expecting him to kick it out for three and also because he has a great set of low-post scoring moves that will make him tough to defend in a tournament where a lot of the talent is at the guard position. He also has TBT experience from when he played with BA in the first two times the team competed in TBT in 2015 and 2016
Rounding out the newbies on this year’s Boeheim’s Army roster is the man who many say would have delivered another National Championship to the hill if it weren’t for his season-ending leg injury in 2010, the big man Arinze Onuaku. Although DaShonte Riley was on last year’s team, don’t be surprised if Onuaku is the starting big man for Boeheim’s Army in TBT. The man is an absolute mountain at 6-foot-9, 275 pounds and is the perfect defensive and rebounding anchor to that will provide Boeheim’s Army with that extra little nastiness it needs.
When and Where to Watch
Boeheim’s Army opens up TBT play on Saturday, July 21st at 6:50 p.m. against the 16-seed in the Northeast region, the South Jamaica Kings. You can watch that game on ESPN3 or the WatchESPN app. Should Boeheim’s Army win, it will play the winner of Team Fancy and Saints Alive (Siena Alumni) on Sunday at 4:40.
Keep it locked here at orangefizz.net and on Twitter @OrangeFizz for everything you need to know about Boeheim’s Army as they make a run at another regional title and a TBT championship.