Zip Em Up made it to the third round in TBT in 2022. This time, they’re looking to make it even further, fueled by an incredibly talented team.
Zip Em Up has quickly become one of the top alumni-based teams in TBT. This year, they have a roster that features some of the best recent Musketeers players. Experience in The Basketball Tournament and a roster with players in their prime makes for a fun team to watch.
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- Darwin “Dee” Davis (Xavier)
- JD Weatherspoon (Ohio State & Toledo)
- James Farr (Xavier)
- JP Macura (Xavier)
- Kaiser Gates (Xavier)
- Kerem Kanter (Xavier)
- Mark Lyons (Xavier & Arizona)
- Nate Johnson (Gardner-Webb & Xavier)
- Paul Scruggs (Xavier)
- Remy Abell (Indiana & Xavier)
- Semaj Christon (Xavier)
- Travis Taylor (Monmouth & Xavier)
- Trevon Bluiett (Xavier)
- Chris Pickens (Asst. Coach)
- Drew Mitchell (Asst. Coach)
- Emanuel Richardson (Asst. Coach)
- Jason Meyer (GM)
- Nate Wolfe (Asst. Coach)
- Rick Carter (Head Coach)
- Steven Santanello (Asst. Coach)
Team MVP: Semaj Christon
On a team with so many great players, Semaj Christon was the most consistent in 2022. The guard averaged 15.7 points per game in the three games Zip Em Up played in, also serving as the team’s primary point guard. Christon’s efficiency from the field was noteworthy, and his unselfish play led to the Xavier alumni team being one of the top offensive teams of the tournament.
Christon will have a similar task in TBT this time around. He will share the floor with Trevon Bluiett, JP Macura, Kerem Kanter, Nate Johnson, and Paul Scruggs, all of whom are worthy of getting a lot of touches. It’s difficult making sure everyone who needs to be involved, actually gets involved, but Christon mastered it last summer.
Make-or-break Player: JP Macura
Zip Em Up needs more out of one of their best three-point shooters. Macura had 11 points, 12 points, and 15 points in their three games last year respectively. However, it didn’t come easy. Despite hitting the game-sealing shot against Sideline Cancer, Macura was 1-for-9 from deep range. He made up for it on the defensive end with 5 steals.
In the team’s loss to Florida TNT, Macura again struggled from the floor, going 6-for-14 and 1-for-6 from three. When he’s on, Macura can light it up for 20+ points. In 2022, we didn’t see that, but if Macura can find a way to score more points and at a better rate, Zip Em Up has a great chance at moving further in the tournament.
First off, I must hand it to Zip Em Up for really honing in on Xavier alumni. It’s common to see alumni teams have quite a few honorary alumni from other colleges. JD Weatherspoon is the only non-Musketeer on this year’s team, so if you’re a Xavier fan, this is quite the trip down memory lane.
If you’re looking to watch great basketball, Zip Em Up is the team for you. Macura, Johnson, Bluiett, and Scruggs were all exceptional scorers and shooters at Xavier, and make this team one of the most fun offenses to watch. Kanter, the brother of Enes Kanter, can dominate the boards and help clean up misses on the offensive end.
Mark Lyons is an underrated glue guy. He was never a huge part of the offense at Xavier or Arizona, but always connected at a high rate, and could be a valuable bench piece.
I’m expecting big things out of Zip Em Up, who is a surefire favorite to advance deep in TBT in 2023.