The Basketball Tournament is about more than money for Team Colorado

Colorado basketball is headed to the Final 4.

No need to look at a calendar or throw away any brackets, it isn’t March, and no, it’s not an early prediction. This is the real thing.

Colorado basketball is back.

64 teams entered but only four remain, and Team Colorado, a collection of Buffalo greats from the past, is one of them, in a basketball league that’s rightfully titled: “The Basketball Tournament.”

The tournament is a 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all tournament that has grown significantly over the years, especially with the pot growing considerably. In 2014 the winning team took home $500,000, in 2015 the winning team took home $1 million, and this year Team Colorado is looking to take home a cool $2 million.

The stakes are high and have brought out players such as Jason Williams and Mike Bibby.
But for Team Colorado, it’s not all about the money.

“Playing for Team Colorado has and always will be about the camaraderie and bond that we shared at the University of Colorado, and has given us a chance to represent our great school and compete for a lucrative pot on top of being a champion,” point guard Marcus Hall said. “It’s brought different generations together with one goal in mind, and that’s to show the nation how special CU and Boulder, Colorado is.”

Team Colorado is a group assembled of former University of Colorado players that Buff fans are surely to remember from years gone by. They are organized by former point guard Beau Gamble, managed by former forward Trent Beckley and coached by former guard Dwight Thorne. The team has notable former players such as Dominique Coleman, Austin Dufault, Marcus Hall, Marcus King-Stockton, Levi Knutson, Jayson Obazuaye, Marcus Relphorde, Richard Roby, Scott Senger, Shannon Sharpe and Calvin Williams.

The deep run has come as a surprise to many, as last year’s team had a quick exit in the first round.

“Last year’s team was a bit embarrassed, I believe,” coach Thorne said. “We lost to a pretty good team that lost to the team that won it all, but it was the way that we played that has been on our minds for a year now.”

What seems to be the key difference is getting to know each other as well as the practices that Team Colorado had in Boulder.

“We had six practices together,” Hall said. “In that time that we spent together on and off the court, I think it’s allowed us to respect each other’s approach and has translated to us playing well together on the floor.”

Team Colorado has been getting some national attention, too, playing on a big stage: ESPN, a stage that Marcus Hall loves, because with that stage he says it’s a great platform for others to hear the Boulder name, something that seems to be special for him.

“Its special to me to be able to represent CU and Colorado again,” Hall said. “To go to Los Angeles and see Chris Copeland in the stands, go to Philly and see Xavier Silas and Marc Ost (former team Mgr.), and now we’re in New York, where we can potentially have more Buff fans. It’s a great feeling, and I couldn’t be more thankful for this opportunity. I love what we are doing here”.

If Team Colorado were to win it all, one must question, what’s next?

“We hope to keep the tradition going,” coach Thorne said. “Of course we would be back. We want to do this for years and give CU guys an opportunity to play for generations. The beautiful thing that we have going is we are getting players like Levi Knutson to get to play with Scott Senger, and down the timeline we hope we can get Askia Booker and Josh Scott to play with players like Calvin Williams. Those are amazing things that the tournament has allowed to happen. Not only are we getting to play the game that we love, but we are being given the opportunity to build the family and make it great.”

If you want to watch Team Colorado play, here is the schedule. They will also be playing live on ESPN.

TBT Semifinals: Rose Hill Gym at Fordham University
New York, NY • July 30, 2016
Live on ESPN
Semifinal 1: 5pm ET
Semifinal 2: 7pm ET

$2 Million Winner Take All Championship: Rose Hill Gym at Fordham University
New York, NY • August 2, 2016
Live on ESPN
Championship: 7pm ET

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