The Basketball Tournament is back for a second year, and this time there's $1,000,000 on the line. At least nine former Virginia Cavaliers are coming together to form a UVA Alumni team, and the best part is that these nine have never played on the same court at the same time together.
Captained by Sammy Zeglinski and coached by Mike Scott, the UVA Alumni team is new to the now-expanded Tournament. Last year, Zeglinski, along with Sean Singletary, Mamadi Diane, Ryan Pettinella, and Jason Cain came together as part of the Philly Patriots.
This year, in addition to Scott and Zeglinski, the team consists of Pettinella, Cain and Diane again, along with newcomers Jontel Evans, Jerome Meyinsse, Akil Mitchell, and Darion Atkins.
"I'm excited about the opportunity to play with friends and fellow UVA alum," Zeglinski said. TBT is a one of a kind tournament and we're all happy to have the chance to team up and compete in it."
We reached out to Meyinsse and asked what it's going to be like to play with this group of guys.
"I don't think we've ever all been in a room together because the team spans over a few college generations," Meyinsse said. "I've played with all of the guys at UVA except for Akil, with whom I played pickup with during my summers at UVA. However, I know that some of these guys have never shared the court together."
Each player on the team is in a different point of their professional careers. Scott, of course, is in the middle of the NBA Playoffs with the Atlanta Hawks. Meyinsse is currently playing in Brazil for Flamengo, the team that won the Novo Basquete Brasil (the Brazilian premier professional men's basketball league) championship last year with Meyinsse as the named MVP. Mitchell is still in the NBA D-League, while Atkins is hoping to hear his name in the NBA Draft come June.
So the obvious question, then, is when the team will have time to practice. Laughing, Meyinsse said that they haven't ironed out those details yet, but that it should be interesting.
So how can you, Virginia fans, help? The Tournament is divided into four regions, with the UVA Alumni in the South. The 18 teams with the most fan votes in each region as of June 1 will qualify for the tournament.
The final four will take place on August 1-2 in New York and will be carried by ESPN live. Last year, the Notre Dame alumni team won the total package. Fans recruiting the most number of fans for the winning team will also win prizes.
"We all will have one thing in common," Meyinsse added. "We all bleed blue and orange."