Led by Taj Gibson, Team Gibson looks to make noise in their TBT debut
While Gibson won’t be playing, he feels like he’s compiled a team that can surprise many in this year’s tournament. The most notable name? Devin Funchess, who is known more for his NFL experience, but at 6’4, he can certainly hoop with the other names.
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- Antoine Mason (Niagara, Auburn)
- Bashir Ahmed (St. Johns)
- Darious Hall (Arkansas, Depaul, & Central Arkansas)
- Devin Funchess (Michigan)
- Elgin Cook (Oregon)
- Ja’Quaye James (Navarro Community College)
- Jawuan Daniels (Prairie View A&M & Odessa College (JUCO))
- Jordan Washington (Iona)
- Kelechi Ajukwa (Charlotte, Clemson)
- Kenny Grant (Livingstone College & Rider)
- Navar Elmore (Livingstone College)
- Terrence Joyner (Mississippi Valley State)
- Gregory Watson (GM)
- Taj Gibson (GM)
- Tameek Floyd (GM)
- Ty Young (Head Coach)
- Syracuse, New York
Team MVP: Antoine Mason
No matter what level Mason is at, he will score the ball. In college, he averaged 26.4 PPG in a season at Niagara. Then, at the professional level, he averaged 25.7 PPG for the Halifax Hurricanes six seasons later. Now, playing in the TBT, don’t be surprised if we see a similar outcome from the talented guard.
When a team makes its debut in the TBT, it’s so important to have a guy who can get it done right away while the rest of the team adjusts to the new format. If Mason can do that and put pressure on the opponent, Team Gibson can find themselves in a solid position in Year 1. Mason isn’t much of a three-point shooter, so he’ll have to earn his totals by being aggressive and being smart on the floor.
Make-or-break Player: Elgin Cook
Despite Team Gibson making their debut, Cook has had more than enough TBT experience. He’s played on the Golden Eagles, the Marquette Alumni team twice, including in 2020 when they won the whole tournament. Will he be a 2x champion after this tournament? Team Gibson hopes so, and if that’s the case he’ll need to step up.
He’s been a very solid and consistent player his entire professional career, averaging about 13 points and 5 rebounds a game from his sophomore season in 14-15 till 21-22. Last year was the worst season of his career though, where he only averaged 7 points and 3 rebounds per game with Lenovo Tenerife.
So, which Cook are we going to see? Will we see a leader who is consistently being talked about during the broadcast, or someone who falls into the shadows? As the seven seed, they’ll need the former to happen, or their trip to Syracuse will be shortlived.
“I’m looking forward to doing this for years to come because I love the game” – @TajGibson
Taj went on @InsideTbt to talk about why he decided to enter a team (Team Gibson) in TBT!
— TBT (@thetournament) July 17, 2023
The TBT selection committee will not give Team Gibson any favors in the first round, matching them up with Team Boeheim, the Syracuse alumni team. This is one of the better teams in the tournament, and oh yeah, the regional is in Syracuse. They’ll need Cook, Mason, and Jordan Washington, a very talented power forward to dominate and force the opponent to take as many outside shots as possible.
As mentioned earlier, the fans will turn in to see Devin Funchess, the former Carolina Panther receiver. Many people have debated for years whether someone like Lebron James would be successful in the NFL, and while this is different, we’re seeing a reverse. He has the physical structure to be great as well as unreal athleticism. The question is whether he can hold his own against players who were college stars and many are now overseas stars.
Regardless, every Bulls, Thunder, Timberwolves, Knicks, and Wizards fan should be tuning in to support their former player.