CHARLESTON — The Basketball Tournament (TBT), a 64-team, $2 million winner-take-all event televised live, Tuesday announced plans to bring one of its 2020 regionals to Charleston this summer.
Members of Best Virginia, the West Virginia University alumni team, will begin their quest for the $2 million purse in the West Virginia Regional at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center July 24-26.
"The City of Charleston is excited to welcome The Basketball Tournament and several of our favorite basketball players to the Mountain State," said Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin. "Because of the enthusiasm of West Virginia fans, and our newly renovated Coliseum and Convention Center, we were able to bring one of the 2020 regionals to the Capital City. We look forward to hosting these teams, officials and fans July 24-26."
Led by members of the 2008 West Virginia Final Four team, including John Flowers, Kevin Jones and Da’Sean Butler, Best Virginia was one of TBT's most exciting new alumni teams in 2019. Best Virginia knocked off Seven City Royalty (Old Dominion University alumni) in the first round of the Richmond Regional in front of more than 1,000 West Virginia fans who traveled to see the team play last summer. With the tournament now moving to West Virginia, Flowers, Jones, Butler and Nathan Adrian have all committed to return to play for Best Virginia in 2020. Additional team members will be announced later.
"I'm very excited about TBT coming to West Virginia," said Flowers. "It's great for the people of West Virginia and will be a great summer event for the state to watch some great basketball and relive some great memories. The people of the TBT saw how West Virginia came out to support us and that we have the best fan base."
Alongside Best Virginia, seven other teams will compete in the West Virginia Regional, with all games being broadcast live. First-round games at the coliseum will begin Friday, July 24. The remaining four teams will compete in the regional semifinals Saturday, July 25, and the regional championship will be played Sunday, July 26.
"TBT was a tremendous opportunity for me to reunite with West Virginia teammates and fans alike," said Jones. "The fact that we'll have the opportunity to do that again but this time in West Virginia is going to be surreal. I had so much fun playing in the TBT last year, and I'm looking forward to competing in it again with my brothers. Mountaineer fans make sure you come out and support."
Former Marshall star Jon Elmore, who played in TBT last year, has committed to participate in the regional tournament, as well.
"We are super excited to welcome TBT to Charleston," said Elmore. "This tournament has been a special opportunity to compete with my brother, with my friends, and even play for my father while chasing the TBT cash prize. To me, there is no better tournament in basketball. The world will also get to see how nuts about basketball we are in the Mountain State. We are super excited to play in this great event in our hometown. We will look to become a staple host city of this tournament."
The winner of the West Virginia Regional will advance to championship week at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio, Aug. 6-11.
"We're excited to partner with the Charleston CVB to bring TBT to the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center," said TBT founder and CEO Jon Mugar. "Every year there are fan bases that surprise us. Last year, it was West Virginia fans, after they showed up at VCU and almost outnumbered the host team's fan base. That was the moment we realized just how thunderous a West Virginia Regional would be."
The tournament, entering its seventh year, consistently attracts some of the top basketball players in the world. Thirty-five players have gone on from TBT to sign contracts with NBA teams. Last summer, 59 former NBA players took part in TBT, and 23 teams were composed of alumni from major Division I programs such as Kansas, West Virginia, Dayton and more. Carmen’s Crew (Ohio State alumni) dethroned four-time champion Overseas Elite and went on to beat Golden Eagles Alumni (Marquette alumni) in the championship game.
TBT’s registration period for teams interested in competing in any of its eight regional locations will run March 15 to June 15. The 64-team field and TBT bracket will be released on June 22. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit www.thetournament.com.