One of the highlights of the summer last year was The Basketball Tournament, in which we watched Boeheim's Army battle all the way to the Elite Eight in their quest to win the million-dollar prize. Rooting for a team full of Syracuse Orange alumni has been one of those things I've always wanted to see take shape in some form but never thought could happen in a way that involves actual stakes. And yet here it was.
And so it shall be again. Donna Ditota shares the good news that Boeheim's Army is official back to compete for a spot in the 2016 TBT and this time they're shuffling the deck a bit by adding some familiar names.
The Syracuse roster will look a bit different from last year. It retains a seriously Syracuse bias, but will add the one invaluable asset from last season's roster: point guard Willie Deane, a 35-year-old Albany-area veteran who was the calm core of Boeheim's Army last summer.
Returning to the roster will be Eric Devendorf, Rick Jackson, Terrence Roberts and Baye Moussa Keita. Donte Greene, who was on last summer's roster but never played a game because of issues with his professional team and his passport, has fully committed to Boeheim's Army this summer. The team will also add Brandon Triche, C.J. Fair and Darryl "Mookie" Watkins.
Willie Deane became an honorary Orange last year with his play so it's good to see him back. Also fantastic to see Triche and Fair added to the roster. The idea of having a mixture of older and younger guys is part of what makes this team so fun to follow. It spans generations of Syracuse basketball.
According to Kevin Belbey, Demetris Nichols wants to participate again but his pro team contract might not allow him to do so. Hakim Warrick is also on "maybe" status as he's wrapping up a pro season in Greece and wants to see how he feels.
Belbey told TNIAAM that they have room for two more players on the roster and because of the bigger prize and increased competition, they want to try to fill those spots with guys who are playing professionally during the way. Once they have the roster where they want it, they'll figure out who the coach is going to be.
Of course, Boeheim's Army has to qualify for TBT first and to do so they need fans to vote for them. You can do so by going to their team page. As an extra incentive, the fan who gets the most votes for their team via social media will win $20K if their squad wins the whole thing. Four other fans will receive $10K and many others will get a cut as well. So rooting for Boeheim's Army might actually pay, beyond the whole, you know, pride of victory thing.