For years, summer basketball was all about the NBA Summer League and pickup games.
The Basketball Tournament changed all that five years ago.
The $2 million winner-take-all event continues to grow in popularity and comes to the Maverik Center on Thursday for the Salt Lake City Regional.
There are several teams of local interest, including Team Fredette. Namesake Jimmer Fredette won’t be playing in the tournament this season, having just signed a big deal with Greek team Panathinaikos in the EuroLeague. He’s expected to be there on Thursday for Team Fredette’s opener against CitiTeam Blazers, which is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. MT and can be seen on ESPN3.
Other familiar faces on Team Fredette include BYU’s all-time leading scorer in Tyler Haws and former Cougar boss Dave Rose, who is helping coach the team. Haws has been playing professionally overseas since graduating in 2015.
Rose told BYU Sports Nation that he’s been keeping busy in his retirement. In fact, after committing to coach in the TBT, Rose had several other offers come up during that same time period.
“We’re excited we did this,” Rose said. “This is what I want to do way more than the other things, but I don’t like to tell people no. We’re close to home. Hopefully we’ll win three games and go to Chicago. We’ll get our group together and see who we’ve got, who can score, who can’t score and who needs to screen. We’ll figure all those things out.”
Team Fredette will rely on Haws, former Houston star Rob Gray and former New Mexico standout Darrington Hobson to score the ball.
Last year — with Fredette leading the way — Team Fredette won the Midwest Regional in Atlanta, with Fredette scoring 28 points in a 100-78 victory against No. 1 seed Scarlet and Gray in the regional final. Eberlein Drive beat Team Fredette 80-76 in the semifinals in Baltimore.
Team Utah also has some familiar names, including former Utah players Shaun Green and Tim Drisdom along with former Utah Valley stars Ronnie Price and Akolda Manyang.
The Utah Stallions are comprised of mostly former Utah State players, including Sean Harris, Danny Berger, Spencer Butterfield and Jordan Stone.
Eberlein Drive, which finished as the runner-up in last year’s competition, is the No. 1 seed in the Salt Lake City Regional.
The semifinals and finals in 2019 are in Chicago.