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Carmen’s Crew roster takes shape ahead of next month’s TBT

The squad, comprised mostly of Ohio State alums, will be looking to win their second TBT title.

Ohio State v Wisconsin Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images

After taking 2022 off, Carmen’s Crew will return to The Basketball Tournament this year. While the brackets have yet to be announced, the roster of Ohio State alumni has been revealed.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of TBT, which will feature 64 teams, with the winner of the championship game taking place in Philadelphia in early August. The champions will take home $1 million dollars.

Coaching Carmen’s Crew this year is Jared Sullinger, who played on the team in 2017 and 2018. Sullinger was named to the All-Tournament Team in 2017, when the team was known as Scarlet & Gray. The team made it all the way to the semifinals in 2017 before falling 88-83 in double overtime to Team Challenge ALS. In 2018, Sullinger and company made it to the quarterfinals before Team Fredette ran away from them 100-78 in Atlanta.

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Gonzaga v Ohio State Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

This year’s squad will have one playing member from the 2019 team that won it all. Along with winning the 2019 tournament, William Buford was named the tournament MVP. While he never played in the NBA, the guard from Toledo found a lot of success overseas. Most recently, Buford played for Oliver Wurzburg in Germany’s Basketball Bundesliga, averaging 12.1 points per game in the 2021-22 season.

Buford is the one of the few playing members of Carmen’s Crew that played under Thad Matta, as most of the team is made up of Chris Holtmann recruits. The most notable former Buckeyes that will be playing are the Wesson brothers. Kaleb Wesson spent three years at Ohio State before declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft. While he went undrafted, Wesson has spent the last two years playing for Indios de Mayaguez in Puerto Rico.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: DEC 21 CBS Sports Classic - Ohio State v Kentucky Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The other player on Carmen’s Crew that did play under Thad Matta is Kaleb’s older brother Andre Wesson, who was a freshman during the 2016-17 season, which was Matta’s final year as head coach of the Buckeyes. Wesson has spent the last couple years playing professional basketball in Europe. The 2021-22 season saw Wesson average 16.1 points per game and 5.3 rebounds per game for Lapaun Koikobrat in Finland. This year, Wesson played for Nassjo in Sweden.

The most surprising member of this year’s TBT team is Kyle Young, who announced his retirement from professional basketball in 2022. Young always gave tremendous effort while wearing the scarlet and gray, but he was slowed by three concussions over a two-year span. It will be great to see Young back on the court again, especially after he missed out on some time during the latter half of his career with the Buckeyes while he was dealing with those concussion issues.

A trio of players that started their careers elsewhere before finishing at Ohio State will be a part of Carmen’s Crew this year. C.J. Jackson, Keyshawn Woods, and Trevor Thompson have all announced they will be playing for the team this year.

Jackson’s college career began at Eastern Florida State before Thad Matta lured him to Columbus following the 2015-16 season. Jackson would play for the Buckeyes for three seasons. The guard has made a number of stops internationally as a pro, playing in Finland, England, and Vietnam before playing most recently in Sweden.

Before playing at Ohio State in his senior season, Woods made two stops at the college level, starting at Charlotte before transferring to Wake Forest. Much like the other players on this team, Woods has found success internationally. The guard has the most interesting recent accomplishment, as he was named playoffs MVP when Tindastoll won the Icelandic Championship. Woods scored the final three points from the foul line in the 82-81 win in the final game of the championship series.

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 10 Big Ten Tournament - Penn State v Ohio State Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Thompson started his college career at Virginia Tech before transferring to Ohio State for two seasons. Since then, Thompson spent a year in the NBA G League before heading over to Europe. It might be easier to name the countries on the continent that Thompson hasn’t played in. Thompson started his European tour in France, and since then has played in Belgium, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Croatia, and Italy.

Ohio State alums won’t be the only members of Carmen’s Crew this year. Washington center Malik Dime returns to the squad. The backcourt will include Arkansas guard Jalen Tate, as well as St. Louis and Michigan State’s Javon Bess. The MAC will get a little representation on the team as well, with Bowling Green forward Scott Thomas joining the roster.

Carmen’s Crew’s opponents will be announced in the near future, but they at least know they’ll be starting their quest for the $1 million at the Dayton regional. Stay turned to LGHL this summer, as we’ll have more coverage of the event as it nears.