There will be not one, but two teams with Mountain State ties in the 2019 field of The Basketball Tournament, a $2 million winner-take-all competition held at sites throughout the United States.
The West Virginia Wildcats — made up of alumni from several West Virginia schools and who earned a win in the tournament last year before bowing out — will be the No. 5 seed in the Columbus, Ohio, bracket. They’ll be joined in the field this year by Best Virginia, a team made of West Virginia University alumni. Best Virginia is the No. 4 seed in the Richmond, Virginia, bracket.
Other brackets will play out in Lexington, Kentucky; Salt Lake City, Utah; Syracuse, New York; Greensboro, North Carolina; Wichita, Kansas; and Memphis, Tennessee. Games in those regions will be played from July 19-28. The winners of each region advance to Chicago, Illinois, for the tournament’s championship weekend on Aug. 1-6.
The Wildcats roster has a distinct Kanawha Valley flavor. Both Jon Elmore and brother Ot Elmore, who teamed together at Marshall, are on the roster. They’re joined by their father Gay Elmore, who will serve as head coach.
Former South Charleston and Charlotte standout Pierria Henry also is on the roster, as is former George Washington and University of Charleston standout Tino diTrapano. Two more Marshall alumni, Stevie Browning and Ryan Taylor, will join the group, along with former Alderson Broaddus player Adam Kline, former University of Texas Rio Grande Valley player Terry Winn and former Western Kentucky player Justin Johnson.
Best Virginia’s roster all comes from West Virginia University’s history and includes former NBA draft lottery pick Joe Alexander. The team is filled with some of the most important players in recent Mountaineer history: Da’Sean Butler, Darryl “Truck” Bryant, Nathan Adrian, Kevin Jones, Tarik Phillip, Jaysean Paige, Juwan Staten and Devin Williams.
Former WVU point guard Jarrod West, now the head coach at Notre Dame High School in Clarksburg, will be Best Virginia’s head coach. He’ll be assisted by former WVU basketball staff member Billy Hahn.
The Wildcats are in a bracket that includes teams made of alumni from Ohio State, Dayton and Wisconsin. The Ohio State alumni team includes Scoonie Penn and Aaron Craft, while the Wisconsin alumni team includes Nigel Hayes and Jordan Taylor.
Best Virginia enters a bracket that includes teams with alumni from Old Dominion, George Mason, Richmond, Virginia Commonwealth and University of Maryland-Baltimore County. It also includes Overseas Elite, the four-time TBT champion that has never lost a game in the tournament. That roster includes former Marshall and Iowa State guard Deandre Kane.
All Richmond bracket games will be available on WatchESPN.