With all eyes on Boeheim’s Army’s long-awaited TBT run, it’s time to meet the squad they lace up against for the team’s first TBT championship.
This is the first time Team 23 is playing for the title since its first season in 2015. Since then, they have gone 3-4, taking 2020 off. Unlike Boeheim’s Army, there is no alumni allegiance. Team 23 embraces the image of Michael Jordan, and is a hodgepodge of the best talent GM Michael Illiano could find.
Head Coach: Marc Hughes
Think of him as the Don Nelson of TBT. Marc Hughes previously coached Overseas Elite, but the tournament’s all-time winningest coach was let without a home when the 4-time champions didn’t form a team in 2021. It was a development that helped Team 23 and Boeheim’s Army get to the championship.
Walt Lemon Jr
The point guard from Bradley who played his college ball from 2010-2014 is the primary ball handler for Team 23. He is third in the tournament in assists with 22. That shouldn’t come as a surprise after two short stints in the NBA with the Bulls and Pelicans. Lemon had 15 points to go along with four assists and five rebounds as well in Team 23’s semifinal win over Blue Collar U.
This man could be a problem. Putney played for Overseas Elite last year, so he will be familiar with DJ Kennedy and Deandre Kane’s games. On top of that, the UMass product is the tournament’s best rim protector. His seven blocks are no fluke. In fact, he is the NBA G-League’s all-time leader in denials.
The 31 year-old spent two seasons in JUCO and two seasons at Campbell, but don’t let that fool you. He can score. Griffin had a team high 16 points in Team 23’s semifinal win. To go along with the power forward’s shot-making ability he also ranks top-10 in blocks and rebounds this year.
Team 23’s biggest strength is their depth. In fact, they outscored Blue Collar U 46-11 in bench points.
“Having that next level of depth is helping us,” said Team 23 coach Marc Hughes.
One thing about this team: they will not be outrun. Hughes will have the luxury to keep his guys fresh from the opening tip to the Elam Ending.