Overseas Elite, a team comprised primarily of former college stars playing professionally in other countries, will try to repeat as champion and earn $2 million on Tuesday night in the final of The Basketball Tournament.
Former Arizona guard Kyle Fogg, who recently signed a deal to play in Spain this upcoming season, scored 42 points on Saturday night against City of Gods to lead Overseas Elite into the championship game.
A year ago, Overseas Elite earned the $1 million winner-take-all prize. Now they are one win away from sharing the $2 million prize money.
“I knew we had a chance to get back, but yes — I’m a little surprised,” Fogg said.
Overseas Elite will face Team Colorado on Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET at Fordham University. The game will be televised on ESPN.
Agent Drew Morrison put the team together a year ago and kept the core intact: Errick McCollum, the older brother of NBA standout C.J. McCollum; former St. John’s players D.J. Kennedy and Paris Horne; Fogg; former Texas point guard Myck Kabongo; and big men Johndre Jefferson (South Carolina) and Todd O’Brien (Saint Joseph’s). Former Oakland guard Travis Bader, one of the best pure shooters in TBT, didn’t play in Saturday's semifinal but is expected to play on Tuesday night. Morrison added three players this year: former Iowa State standout DeAndre Kane, big man Ryan Richards, a former second-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs, and guard Anthony Raffa, who played at Albany and Coastal Carolina.
If Overseas Elite wins, its players will earn $28,000 for each game they played in the event.
“At first, when I heard about this last year, I thought it was fake,” Fogg said of The Basketball Tournament. “It’s an amazing event — and it’s not even about the money. It’s great competition in the summer, they run it so well and it gives our family and friends a chance to see us on national TV.”
Fogg used much of his $87,000 share from a year ago to help his mother buy a house in Chino Hills, California. Jefferson surprised his mother with a brand-new Cadillac CTS from his $90,000 share. Kabongo, who has earned $25,000 the past couple of years playing in the NBA’s D-League, took the bulk of his $107,000 share and gave it to his mother, who lives in Toronto.
“It helped her with some of her debt,” Kabongo said. “She needed it more than me.”
Team Colorado is a significant underdog heading into the title game. Marcus Hall is playing with a broken bone in his wrist as well as plantar fasciitis, but managed to score 25 points in the semifinal win over Always A Brave, a team that featured five players from Bradley’s Sweet 16 team of a decade ago. Colorado will be without one of its top players, former Buffs standout Richard Roby, who injured his knee a couple of weeks ago while trying out for the Korean basketball league.
Dominique Coleman, 32, who played at Colorado from 2005 to 2007, played in the Ukraine last year and is still waiting to see where he will play this season. His share will be $142,500 if Team Colorado beats Overseas Elite.
“The first thing I’m going to buy is a $100 gift card to Chipotle,” he said.
Current Colorado coach Tad Boyle is expected to be in attendance for the championship contest to support the former Buffaloes.
TBT founder Jonathan Mugar will present a check for $2 million to the winning team upon completion of Tuesday night’s game.
Notre Dame Fighting Alumni won the inaugural single-elimination TBT in 2014 when the prize money was $500,000. The field this year was paired down from 97 to 64 teams and included far more college alumni teams, in addition to former NBA players and former college standouts.