The Ants Alumni team continues their success in the TBT as they are set to compete in Final Four action in New York Saturday, August 1st.
The Basketball Tournament (TBT) is an open application, 5-on-5, single elimination, winner-take-all basketball tournament with over ninety teams that each hold 12 players and 3 others (GM, Coach, and Booster) all competing for the grand prize of one million dollars. Composed of members of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants teams since the start of their franchise in 2007, the “Ants Alumni” team was created. Competition for the Ants, the Midwest Region’s two seed, began at DePaul University in Chicago on July 18th with their win over the BG Taskforce; the following day, the Ants were able to secure a victory over the 11th seeded Houston Live. These two games were far from a breeze as an empty bench for the Ants Alumni during the 36 minutes of play exemplified the fact that this team was only playing with a tight five man roster composed of Rod Wilmont, Sadiel Rojas, Anthony Harris, Chris Porter and Will Frisby. Nonetheless, the team still punched their ticket to a next round match-up with last year’s TBT Champions, The Notre Dame Fighting Alumni.
In an overtime thriller, the Ants Alumni, now with the addition of Trey McKinney-Jones, Ron Howard, Tommy Smith and Stephan Graham, were able to dethrone the defending champions, and continue through the bracket to face-off with the Armored Athlete team, composed of Indiana University alumni Will Sheehey, Jordy Hulls, and Christian Watford, for a chance to move on to New York for the Final Four. After missing the first weekend of play, Ron Howard found himself hitting the clutch free throw to have the team come out victorious, but also to help punch the ticket to New York for the Final Four, where they are scheduled to match-up with Team 23 Saturday, August 1st at 2:00 p.m. EST on ESPN.
While the TBT is not sanctioned or organized by the NBA Development League, Ants Alumni General Manager Garrett Martz sees this tournament as a large impact to the city of Fort Wayne, “Although the Ants Alumni team is not officially associated with the Mad Ants, I think it really validates the NBA D-League as having the top talent in the world outside of the NBA.” He continues, “It is my hope that the national exposure from ESPN really shows the country what a hot bed Fort Wayne is for minor league sports.”
The three hour drive from Fort Wayne to Chicago for the first two weekends will now be more than tripled in the travel to New York, but neither drive can stop the fans from showing their support to their Mad Ants team, “It has been amazing all the fan support we have received. We have had several season ticket holders make the trip to Chicago for the games the past two weekends,” Martz concluded.
Fans can still show their support from home Saturday, August 1st as the Ants Alumni take on Team 23 at 2:00 p.m. EST on ESPN. If they win Saturday, fans can tune in to ESPN Sunday, August 2nd for the Championship game at 3:00 p.m. EST.