After a light rebranding from Americana For Autism, this team stunned many last year on its way to the championship game.
The Program for Autism lost in the championship game 89-67 after an incredible run. Blue Collar U was just more prepared and relentless in the game. With the new name, The Program for Autism has an impressive 7-2 record in TBT and hopes to keep their deep runs alive. With seven returners, this team hopes the revamp is enough to get them across the finish line. The rebrand comes with a partnership with The Program NYC. The Program NYC aims to restore New York City as the basketball mecca by creating a 13,000-square-foot basketball facility.
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- AJ English (Iona)
- Darryl Monroe (George Mason & Central Florida CC)
- Delroy James (Rhode Island)
- Femi Olujobi (Oakland, North Carolina A&T, & DePaul)
- J’Covan Brown (Texas)
- Kamari Murphy (Oklahoma State & Miami-Fla)
- Ronald March (Philander Smith)
- Ryan Pearson (George Mason)
- Sean Armand (Iona)
- Stefan Moody (Ole Miss, Kilgore & FAU)
- Dwayne “Tiny” Morton (Head Coach)
- Griffin Taylor (GM)
- Jared Effron (Asst. Coach)
- Nigel Johnson (Asst. Coach)
- Xavier, Ohio
Team MVP: Ronald March
On last year’s team, Ronald March remained relatively quiet. However, he showed up this year and played some great basketball in France. March averaged 21.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.9 steals a game. He did this while shooting 35.6% from 3-point range. If he can carry this into the TBT, March may be the piece that brings The Program for Austim a championship.
He will need to find his stroke early and often as Isaiah Swann has gone, who made 16 3-pointers for the team in 2022. A big hole has been left open, and March could quickly enter it. With the talent he showed this off-season, there is hope that his growth will benefit this team. Another year of experience under his belt and the excitement to play with so many familiar players could mean some March Madness in July.
Make-or-break Player: Darryl Monroe
A game changer for the Program for Autism, Darryl Monroe was subtly the star of this team. With the biggest plus-minus, he did many things to affect the team positively. While dominating the minutes, Monroe led his team in assists, total rebounds, and offensive rebounds. He is the play-creator for this team without forcing shots and trying to make things happen himself. He led all players in TBT in assists (27) and offensive rebounds (15) and tied for first in total rebounds (41) in 2022.
This requirement does not change this year. His stats in South Korea put him near the bottom of the scoring list. Monroe averaged 4.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. He’ll need to dig deep into his bag and regain his form from last year if this team wants to replicate their run.
Playing for their kids – and all kids – living with autism 🧩
AMERICANA FOR AUTISM IS ONE WIN AWAY FROM $1 MILLION!!!!! pic.twitter.com/x379nXSpfD
— TBT (@thetournament) July 30, 2022
With AJ English, Darryl Monroe, Delroy James, Femi Olujobi, J’Covan Brown, Ronald March, and Ryan Pearson all returning, this team has potential. Another player from the 2022 team is on the roster, but as an assistant coach, Nigel Johnson. It will be interesting to see if he sneaks in some playing time. The incoming players brought one that caught my eye, Stefan Moody. Moody played professionally in France and Venezuela. He averaged 10.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 7.2 assists, and 1.8 steals in France. He could quietly end up as the team’s MVP as he shot 39.1% from 3-point range.
Sean Armand is a shooting guard that played in VTB United League this year. He averaged 6.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 5.6 assists in only nine games. Finally, another forward, Kamari Murphy, played 29 games in Poland this past season. He averaged 12.6 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists. With the returners taking up most of the playing time, these players will have moments to shine and earn more game time. Learning to play in the TBT is a big part of a team’s success.
Having so many returners, The Program for Autism has a lot of hope and opportunity to make this a championship year.
The downside of the Program for Autism is that it is in a harsh region. The first-round matchup may well be what gets this team rolling. In the Xavier Regional, this team will face off against Team DRC, which has struggled in the past and does not have that same familiarity. The road to success is there for The Program for Autism, as the road will be full of battered and bruised players.