Armored Athlete looking for TBT bid

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The Basketball Tournament (TBT), a summer basketball event which airs on ESPN and includes a $2 million winner-take-all prize, will be played this summer.

TBT has been made up of 64 teams in prior years. Due to potential health concerns relating to the coronavirus, the 2020 tournament will see 24 teams battling it out for the $2 million. Players and staff will be tested for COVID-19 and quarantined in the days leading up to games. If a player tests positive, the entire team is disqualified and will be sent home.

One team that has found success in TBT in past years, Armored Athlete, has local ties. Their general manager, AJ Mahar, is a former Mount Anthony athlete. Mahar was also the girls basketball coach at MAU in the past.

There will be a selection committee that will pick which teams compete in this years tournament, as more than 100 teams have registered. The factors the selection committee takes into consideration when choosing a team include; history of the team, reliability, championship contender, and fan base.

Mahar is hopeful that Armored Athlete will be among the 24 teams competing for the $2 million this summer. He believes his team meets many of the requirements the selection committee is looking at.

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"We're the fourth winning-est team in the history of the event," Mahar said. "Our team this year is incredibly good, I think it's the strongest team we've ever had, so as far as our ability to compete for a championship I think we check that box as well."

Mahar believes if Armored Athlete is not chosen, it will be due to fan following.

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"We don't have an alumni fan base," Mahar said. "If we were to not get in, that's what I would attribute it to at this point."

Many TBT teams are made up solely of alumni players of Division 1 schools like Syracuse (Boeheim's Army) and Ohio State (Carmen's Crew). These teams generate a lot of fans due to the size of the schools and the success of their basketball programs throughout the years.

Rosters of TBT teams are typically filled with former Division I basketball players, professionals from overseas, and former NBA players.

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Former NBA players on past Armored Athlete teams include Archie Goodwin, a first round pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Malcolm Miller, who played in multiple tournaments with Armored Athlete, was a member of the 2019 NBA champion Toronto Raptors and is still a member of the organization.

TBT added their most accomplished player ever on Friday afternoon, as former seven time NBA All-Star Joe Johnson announced that he had signed with the Overseas Elite, a four-time champion of TBT. Johnson spent 17 seasons in the NBA.

Other coronavirus changes to the 2020 TBT format include limiting the tournament to just one site. TBT typically offers eight different regional sites. The tournament will also take place over a 10 day period, versus past years where TBT spanned a few weeks.

TBT is scheduled to take place in July, although no exact date has been set at this time.


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