JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The ETSU basketball alumni squad is less than 48 hours away from beginning its second run in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) and a shot at the $1 million grand prize.
But, before leaving for Charleston, West Virginia – the team gave their fans a show in Brooks Gymnasium.
The team split in half and played an Elam Ending-scrimmage before holding a three-point shooting contest. Jalen Riley defeated TJ Cromer in the final, which means Riley will represent the Bucketneers in the Charleston Regional “33-point” contest.
There were plenty of smiles, handshakes and hugs to go around on Friday night. But, come Sunday, the team knows there will be a target on their backs. A two-seed in this year’s event, there won’t be any room to sneak up on teams as they did last summer.
Coaches and players say those expectations, however, have not changed the way the team has prepared for the challenge.
“We know that, like, yeah we’re the two-seed, but we still have to play and we’re going to get everybody’s best shot this year,” ETSU alum and Bucketneer veteran Desonta Bradford said. “So, I’m looking forward to it – I think it’s going to be a fun year.”
“I think we’re right where we need to be right now,” head coach Joe Hugley smiled. “These guys are excited to play and I think that’s the funnest part about it – they’re ready to go out there and show the world what ETSU basketball is all about.”
ETSU will open its 2022 TBT run on Sunday in Charleston, West Virginia. The Bucketneers will face seven-seed Fully Loaded at 12 p.m.