For the first time, alumni of West Virginia basketball will be competing in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) later this month. The 64-team event has a $2 million winner-take-all prize.
The team, known as Best Virginia, stopped at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center on Thursday night for an exhibition against Southern WV Elite. Former Mountain Lion, Tommy Bolte, and Wyoming East boy’s basketball coach, Derek Brooks, were among the challengers.
Best Virginia opened up a 62-40 halftime lead and never looked back. They would go on to win, 118-80.
Taylor Smith, a 2016 graduate of Concord University, led the Elite squad with 19 points. Former WVU standout Kevin Jones finished with a game-high 24 points.
The evening provided entertainment for the fans and players alike, but the night was really about gearing up for The Basketball Tournament later this month.
“For the most part, we all know each other and we’re always around each other every summer,” said Best Virginia general manager John Flowers. “So, it should be cool — should be easy.”
“You know, we’re trying to bring it home,” added point guard Jaysean Paige. “Bring it home for the state, for our fans. It’s a good chance to go out and compete and do something again.”
Best Virginia will open up TBT action on Friday, July 26 in Richmond, Virginia. They will face an Old Dominion University alumni squad, Seven City Royalty, in the first round.