SALT LAKE CITY — The Basketball Tournament confirmed that two-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard has agreed to coach The Wasatch Front, a team of Weber State University basketball alumni looking to enter the 2017 TBT.
“I am sponsoring and coaching a team for the TBT basketball tournament, The Wasatch Front, which consists of a lot of my former teammates from Weber State University,” Lillard said in a video posted on the TBT YouTube channel.
The TBT is an annual five-on-five, single-elimination basketball tournament. The tournament includes 64 teams made up of former college players, former NBA players, overseas athletes and NBA players that are not under any contract restrictions.
In each region, teams are selected by fan votes — the top nine teams that receive the most votes will enter the tournament.
The regional rounds begin July 8–9 in Philadelphia and North Carolina, and on July 15–16 in Las Vegas and Illinois. The Super 16 will take place on July 20–23 in New York. The semifinals will be Aug. 1, and the championship game will be Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. ET (5 p.m. MT) in Baltimore. The game will be televised on ESPN.
The winner of the TBT will receive $2 million to be split between players, coaches and fans.
The Wasatch Front was initiated by former Weber State player and coach Kellen McCoy. McCoy played for Weber State from 2007–09 and later became an assistant coach for the 2013–14 season.
"Many of my former teammates and I have watched the tournament the past few years on ESPN and have talked about creating a team," McCoy said. "This year, I put together a group on Facebook to see people's interest level in the tournament. I had a few guys reach out and say they would love to do it."
According to the TBT profile, the participating alumni of The Wasatch Front are McCoy, Scott Bamforth, Davion Berry, Mario Caetano, Daviin Davis, Steve Panos, David Patten, Kyle Tresnak and Brody Van Brocklin with Lamar Morinia and Lillard listed as coaches.
Since the announcement of Lillard's support, The Wasatch Front has gained over 200 votes and has climbed to seventh place in the Western Region.
"Damian's impact is huge; it makes the team," McCoy said. "We hoped that he would want to help us out because we know how much he loves his teammates and Weber State. He is so helpful and is always giving back to the community. His support will bring a lot of attention to the team."
Voting ends June 1, and the teams will be revealed to the public June 6. To vote, visit the team's TBT page.
“I need you all to go vote for them to be a part of tournament," Lillard said. "I need all of my followers and all of my fans to help me out with this. We need to get this team in the tournament."
Cydnee is a senior at Weber State University studying multimedia journalism. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter, @TheCydneeGreen.