In the world of recreational sports, a ringer is a player whose skill level vastly exceeds that of everyone else in the game, inserted into the game as a way of ensuring victory for his/her team. The use of a ringer is never illegal, but widely frowned upon.
In The Basketball Tournament, however, the use of a 'ringer' is actually allowed according to official tournament rules. Teams that reached 2,000 online fans votes for their team by July 8 and advanced to the Super 16 of the tournament were allowed to add one additional player to their roster, known as the "ringer". Teams had to name their ringer before midnight on July 18 (Monday).
Late on Monday night, Boeheim's Army, who advanced to the Super 16 on Sunday, and TBT had a Twitter announcement for everyone:
So, the question now is: who will Boeheim's Army be enlisting as their TBT 'ringer'?
The 'ringer' can be kept a secret until tipoff in the Super 16, which will be Thursday at 7 p.m. for BA.
Boeheim's Army general manager Kevin Belbey told Donna Ditota that he's content to stay silent on the matter, although he may reveal the name as the game inches closer to tip time.
The ringer is a former Syracuse Orange player. Belbey has been talking with him for two years about the possibility of joining his Army. He also said that after watching last weekend's games and conferring with coach Ryan Blackwell and players Eric Devendorf and Hakim Warrick, he decided to adopt a new guy.
Belbey was in touch all weekend with his potential ringer, who was enthusiastic about the possibility. After texting with the player on Monday and issuing a formal invitation, the deal was done.
"This person was very excited," Belbey said, "and said they definitely wanted to play."
So, who will this mystery player be? Boeheim's Army has struggled at times to make three-point shots in a tournament with a barrage of three point shooting. Sunday's opponent, the North Broad Street Bullies, attempted 37 threes in the game against BA alone. Meanwhile, Boeheim's Army shot 38 percent from distance in the first two rounds and attempted fewer threes in both their games than Broad Street did in one, 34.
Which way will a team in need of some additional three-point help go? How about Gerry McNamara? Perhaps he can take a recruiting break for a national championship reunion with Hakim Warrick. Could it be James Southerland, Andy Rautins, Kris Joesph, or Trevor Cooney? How about adding another current NBA player to the roster? The newly free Dion Waiters, anyone? The next round is being played in his hometown of Philadelphia...
Whatever happens, Belbey sees the 'ringer' as a competitive advantage for his group. Of the 16 teams left in TBT, only Boeheim's Army and a Gonzaga-based team named 'A Few Good Men' qualified to add ringers. While Belbey knows every player on the next opponent's roster, they won't be able to fully prepare for everything in the Boeheim's Army arsenal, assuming the ringer's name isn't released until Thursday.
"It's a bit of a competitive advantage," Belbey said, "so that's another reason not to show the ace up our sleeve."
Who will be the newest member to enlist in Boeheim's Army? Tell us who you think it will be or should be in the comments section.
Boeheim's Army returns to action in the Super 16 against the Pittsburgh-based 'The Untouchables' on Thursday at 7 p.m., a game that will be televised on ESPN2.