In just 10 days, Syracuse Orange alumni will take the court at SRC Arena in The Basketball Tournament’s Syracuse Regional.
Among that group is newcomer Tyler Ennis, who is returning to Syracuse after playing his last few seasons overseas. The point guard previously spent the 2013-14 season with the Orange.
“I haven’t played in the States, in front of family for a few years,” Ennis said. “It’s something that me and Boeheim’s Army have spoken about.”
“I’ve always wanted to play, but the injuries have kept me from being available to play.... This year, everything came together.”
Ennis first seriously considered joining TBT a few years ago, right before COVID hit. At that point, he decided to stay home in Canada. Now, after dealing with several injuries, a healthy Tyler is thrilled to be heading back to Central New York.
“I haven’t been back to Syracuse since I think the year after I left,” Ennis said. “It’s not an opportunity that I’d be able to get in any other league or tournament. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Although Tyler acknowledged that in a single-elimination tournament like this, anyone can beat anyone, he feels confident that his team can repeat.
“Our expectation is to win,” Ennis said. “With the roster we have, we really should be in the finals.”
“With something on the line, I think everybody’s a little more locked in right away.”
This will be Tyler’s first time playing alongside former Orange teammates C.J. Fair and Rakeem Christmas. He said that having this chance is a big reason why he chose to play in The Tournament.
“It’s a longshot to team up with guys, just based on what league they’re playing in.” Ennis said. “(Rakeem) kinda talked me into it.”
Ennis is mostly remembered for this buzzer beater at Pitt: something that he’s well aware of.
“Every year when we play Pittsburgh, or on the anniversary of that shot, I get a million posts, a million @s” Ennis said. “My fiancé asks, ‘How long are they going to remember this shot?’” (Ed. Note: For-ever!!!)
The group hasn’t had a chance to practice with one another yet, so they will have to make the most of their limited prep time. The team will be in Syracuse next week ahead of the first-round matchup.