The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, June 23, 2020 12:20 pm

Champs could still make TBT field

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Champs have been added to the list of alternate teams for the $1 million The Basketball Tournament and will make the trip to Columbus, Ohio, for the winner-take-all event that starts July 4.

The Champs’ roster includes former Mad Ants players Trey McKinney Jones, Sadiel Rojas, Stephan Hicks, Ben Moore and Travis Leslie, and they would need two more teams to drop out of the field to participate.

One team withdrew Monday -- Best Virginia, a team of West Virginia alumni -- because a player tested positive for COVID-19. Daxter Miles Jr., who played last season for the Mad Ants, was on that roster.

Before leaving for Columbus, the Champs will have to take at-home COVID-19 tests and be interviewed by a medical professional. Once at the site, quarantine procedures will be in place.

The Champs have been in the field every year since 2015, when they made the semifinals as Ants Alumni, and they were a standby team in 2018 before making the Super 16.

Even if the Champs aren’t in the field, there will be plenty of Fort Wayne ties.

Men of Mackey, a team of primarily Purdue alumni, will have Fort Wayne native Rapheal Davis and former IPFW player Frank Gaines, and it is managed by Fort Wayne’s Ryan Kay, though player Grady Eifert has dropped off the roster.

Defending champion Carmen’s Crew, which is Ohio State alumni, has Deshaun Thomas on the roster. JaKeenan Gant, who played last season for the Mad Ants, is with Power of the Paw, a Clemson alumni team. Eberlein Drive is managed by Fort Wayne native Matt Mitchell.

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