‘Best Virginia’ out of TBT after multiple positive COVID tests

(Jarrod West Citynet Statewide Sportsline interview)


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The WVU alumni basketball squad ‘Best Virginia’ will not compete in next month’s ‘The Basketball Tournament’ after multiple players have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

The team opened practice last week and were set to face the Marshall alumni team ‘Herd That’ in the opening round of the tournament in Columbus, Ohio on July 5. Officials at the TBT were made aware on June 18 that one Best Virginia player tested positive during an initial round of testing.

Although it was determined that the timing of the positive test could have permitted the remainder of the team to enter into a 14-day self-quarantine and frequent-testing protocol, Best Virginia opted to withdraw from the 24-team field.

“It is frustrating because as a competitor, you want to compete,” said Best Virginia head coach Jarrod West.

“We were all in. We bought into it and we were excited. Anytime you get in for a practice, the juices were flowing to get ready to compete. And then you get the gut punch of the situation.”

“This is a safety-first event,” said Jon Mugar, founder and CEO of TBT. “We’re disappointed for the Best Virginia players and fans that they won’t get an opportunity to compete in TBT 2020, and our thoughts are with the player for a speedy recovery. While the virus remains a persistent threat, we have confidence in our health and safety plan and the many safeguards we have put in place to run this year’s tournament.”

Best Virginia made their ‘The Basketball Tournament’ debut in 2019, advancing to the second round of the Richmond regional. They were initially scheduled to compete in the Charleston regional in July prior to the pandemic shrinking the field from 64 to 24 teams. It is anticipated that Charleston will be utilized as a regional host in the 2021 edition of the tournament.

“If what we experienced last year at VCU, people thought that was a good crowd, I can only imagine in Charleston the home court advantage that we will have. I can’t wait for that moment to happen and I know the guys feel the same way.”

Best Virginia will be replaced in the 24-team field by ‘Playing For Jimmy V’. That team will be led by former Gonzaga star Josh Perkins, former Philadelphia 76ers forward Haywood Highsmith and Loyola-Chicago’s Marques Townes.

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