Process Of Building 2022 Best Virginia TBT Team Underway

Best Virginia coach James Long encourages his team

Putting together teams for The Basketball Tournament (TBT), which has grown to become one of the most-watched events of the summer hoops season, is no easy task. Just getting selected to the $1 million winner-take-all, 64-team event has become an accomplishment in itself, and requires the building of a competitive lineup while facing the challenges of travel, work around team member schedules, and the assemblage of a balanced lineup that has talent at every position.

There’s so much to those tasks that Best Virginia, the squad of mostly West Virginia University alumni that will again co-host the West Virginia Regional in the 2022 version of TBT from July 24-27 at the Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center, has split some of the management duties to allow more focus on building the squad. John Flowers will again handle the myriad general management duties for the team, but Kevin Jones, one of the founding members of the squad, will be in charge of picking this year’s lineup.

“The roster will likely have some changes from last year,” said Jones, who has been tracking down players both stateside and overseas as leagues work through the latter stages of their competition and playoffs. “We have some (player) commitments, and we are going to do weekly (announcements) of who is on the team. The roster is coming together, and if we can get some of the people we are going after we will have a good shot at winning.”

The first confirmed members of this year’s squad include veterans Flowers and Jones, along with guard Jaysean Paige. The coaching staff will also welcome back head coach James Long, who coached the WVU Tech Golden Bears to a 26-6 record and a spot in the NAIA national tournament this past season, and assistant coach Dave Tallman of Morgantown High School, which took home the state Class AAAA championship.

“It’s some of the most fun I’ve ever had,” said Long, who admits to more comfort heading into this year after serving as a TBT coach for the first time last year. “I’m having the itch to coach again since our season (at WVU Tech) is over. I’m excited to do it again and win more games.”

“We’re excited to run it back in Charleston this summer,” Tallman added. “We were close to winning the regional last year, and with the addition of a few pieces, I like our chances of getting to Dayton.”

With just 2 1/2 months left before play begins, there are many tasks to be completed in addition to roster construction. Some sort of pre-tournament play around the state is again being constructed, with a focus on helping the team be as prepared as possible entering TBT play. Eight teams will take part in the West Virginia regional, including Best Virginia and Herd That (Marshall alumni). The other six teams have still to be assigned.

“Having the home court helps,” said Jones, who acknowledges that when things get tough, the emotional pick-up from the fans provides an emotional boost. “We had such a great turnout last year, and I am expecting more of the same this summer. I think it will help in (putting our team together) that we don’t have to travel quite as far and can be in Charleston.”

Best Virginia forward Kevin Jones elevates for a dunk

“The roster part is a little uncomfortable, because we don’t have everything finalized. Guys are still playing,” said Long in regard to getting the team assembled in enough time to get some practices together, work out rotations and plan for opponents when they are announced. “Some guys are still in the playoffs. We have some guys in mind right now, and Kevin has done a great job of reaching out to players and fielding interest and seeing who wants to play.”

At the root of the Best Virginia squad is keeping many of the Mountaineer alumni together and involved – an idea that Flowers credits to his college coach.

“I’ve always had the vision of us being together and staying together. I credit Coach (Bob) Huggins for helping build that,” Flowers explained. “He’s always opened the door for us to come back, he built us an alumni locker room for us to work and train in, and I’m just trying to build on top of all of that, having an alumni game every year to give back via charity, and then having it turn into this. It’s great to stay in West Virginia, keep in touch with the fans and keep everyone together.”

Tickets to TBT in Charleston are on sale now at thetournament.com/tickets.

Home Page forums Process Of Building 2022 Best Virginia TBT Team Underway

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  • #182096

    Putting together teams for The Basketball Tournament (TBT), which has grown to become one of the most-watched events of the summer hoops season, is no
    [See the full post at: Process Of Building 2022 Best Virginia TBT Team Underway]

    #182134

    i get the name…but come on….the team is a West Virginia, not a Virginia team…time for a name change….

    #182136

    I like it… shows some edge.

    #182205

    Agreed Fly. This team is the Best of the two Virginias. And it’s a great play on the word.

    That was also the headline, IIRC, on one of the NY Tabloids when WVU won either the seminfinal or final in the Big East Tournament.

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Home Page forums Process Of Building 2022 Best Virginia TBT Team Underway

Home Page forums Process Of Building 2022 Best Virginia TBT Team Underway