ST. BONAVENTURE — The idea was born out of a recent showing by one of the program’s former greats.
Marcus Posley rose back to the forefront in late July, playing for the Louisiana United in The Basketball Tournament, a relatively unheralded yet acclaimed national summer basketball event. The former St. Bonaventure star was one of his team’s top players, averaging 16 points, five rebounds and four assists while leading Louisiana United to the Super 16.
The TBT, for those who might not be familiar, is a 64-team, single-elimination event that began in 2014. Eight teams are selected in eight regions, with a host team/city designated for each region. Anyone in the world can apply, though the TBT committee ultimately chooses what it feels are the 64 best (fan support is also a determining factor) teams in the pool.
The primary draw: the winning team takes home a grand prize of $2 million.
In its six-year history, the TBT has become largely known for its myriad of college alumni teams, the most notable of which have included Boeheim’s Army (Syracuse), Best Virginia (West Virginia) and Golden Eagles (Marquette). Two years ago, Dion Wright, another former Bona standout, played for Ram Nation, a popular VCU-based team, while Posley was a member of the Midwest Dream.
Which brings us back to this summer.
POSLEY’S performance, and the fact that this year’s event involved alumni teams from fellow Atlantic 10 programs VCU, George Mason and Dayton, had some fans on Twitter wondering: What if Bona had a team in this thing?
Considering what this event values most — talent and passionate fan bases — the Bonnies belong in the TBT.
I’d guess that any number of recent alums, many of whom are amid successful professional careers, would jump at the chance to represent their alma mater … and play for the $2 million jackpot. A Bona team, we know, would have no problem cultivating a huge following — both on social media and in gymnasiums. Somebody, I’d imagine, would jump at the opportunity to be a team sponsor/general manager.
One fan has already begun to drum up support for a Bona team in 2020, creating a Twitter account for that sole purpose, which has even included a uniform concept and logo ideas. The team name? “Brown & White.”
Who, exactly, would play for this squad?
Former Bona assistant Dave Moore, now the head coach at Division II West Georgia, revealed his choices, a group comprised of players from his time with the Bonnies, in a recent Twitter post.
“I’m watching this TBT … give me Charlon Kloof, Matthew Wright, Demitrius Conger, Andrew Nicholson and Youssou Ndoye,” he said, referring to each player by his Twitter handle. “With Chris Matthews and Tyler Relph for some shooting. (Additionally) Courtney Stockard and Matt Mobley. We might just win that thing.
“Bonnies, whatcha think?”
STILL A year out from next year’s event — the 2019 TBT wrapped up earlier this week, with Carmen’s Crew, a team of Ohio State alums led by Aaron Craft and David Lighty, topping the Golden Eagles in the championship game (ending a four-year title run by Overseas Elite) — a Bona team might already be picking up traction.
“Let’s get it,” Mobley, who recently signed to play in France, said in response to Moore’s tweet.
“I’m down, let’s rock,” Stockard added.
A Bona team would certainly be fun for the fanbase.
With the games aired live across multiple ESPN networks, “Brown & White” supporters would have the opportunity to watch their favorite former players in action once again. It would give fans a Bona fix in that summer lull between the end of recruiting and the start of school in late August.
Plus, there’s this: a TBT team’s “top 1,000” fans actually share in the winnings, splitting 10 percent of the grand prize (or $200,000). And, really, given what we know about the Bona fanbase (the Bonnies consistently rank near the top of the league in television viewership, A-10 Tournament attendance and, unofficially, in social media presence), how many teams would have better fan support than the Brown & White?
The push has begun. All that’s left to do now is to make it happen.
The question is: Among viable candidates, if you’re the GM of this team, who’s in your starting five for next year’s Brown & White?
(J.P. Butler, Bradford Publishing Company group sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)