MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Almost half of the field in the West Virginia Regional for this summer’s TBT will be comprised of teams with roots in the mountain state.
In addition to the West Virginia alumni team ‘Best Virginia’ and the Mountain East Conference alumni team ‘Underground Kings’, a Marshall alumni team ‘Herd That’ will be in the eight-team bracket.
The TBT (The Basketball Tournament) is a national 64-team, single-elimination event with the winning team claiming a two million dollar prize.
2018 Marshall grad Ot Elmore is the general manager of ‘Herd That’. He competed on the West Virginia Wildcats in the last two TBT events.
“It was predominantly a bunch of Marshall guys like myself, Ryan Taylor and Stevie Browning,” Elmore said. “But in order to be on alumni team you had to have a certain percentage of your team go to that school and we were just under the threshold for that number.
“This year we added a couple more Marshall guys and we met the criteria to be an official alumni team. So we decided to do that and represent Marshall University.”
Seven players are currently listed on the ‘Herd That’ roster. In addition to Ot, Jon Elmore, Stevie Browning, C.J. Burks, Chris Cokley (UAB), Santino DiTrapano (Charleston) and Ryan Taylor complete the list.
“They have a selection committee with the people who run the tournament and they have to pick you to play in it. They pick you based on fan support, popularity, the years of experience, the level your guys have played at professionally and how marketable they think your team is.”
Elmore says the team is skilled offensively but they are looking to bring in some inside presence with two more players that can be added.
“We have a bunch of guys who can shoot and score.
“Chris Cokley is a new addition, he played at UAB. He was a first-team All-Conference USA guy. He is an absolute stud and we are excited to have him this year. With our last two spots we are looking to add some size. With everybody we have mentioned so far, we only have two that are above six-foot-five. So we need to add two pieces with some size just to make sure we don’t get crushed inside.”
Former Marshall assistant coach, Duke and NBA player Chris Duhon has been tentatively confirmed to join the coaching staff. Ot and Jon’s father Gay will also be on the sidelines.
Ot and Jon were teammates on Marshall’s 2018 Conference USA tournament championship team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA’s.
‘It is amazing. We played last year and it was really special. When you get to play with family, and my dad coaching us, that adds another unique aspect to it. You can’t beat it.”
After graduating from Marshall, Ot was an assistant coach for one season at Glenville State. He has since been accepted into law school. Ot says he is excited to compete in Charleston where a large Marshall fan base is anticipated. The regional is set for July 24-26.
“It is going to be special. The last two years we have played at Ohio State in Columbus and we had a bunch of people who traveled to see the game. There were about fifty to a hundred people who traveled. Now that we have it back here (Charleston) we expect that number to grow and it is just awesome to see all those people coming back to support us and relive some of the days we had at Marshall.”
As the team’s general manager, Ot stands to pocket a $150,000 share of the purse if ‘Herd That’ wins six games and the championship.
“We’ll have some fun, for starters. And then I’ll maybe just save some for a rainy day.”