5 players you’ll recognize at TBT 2020
The resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season is still more than a month away, but hoop heads will have a chance to satisfy their basketball jones as early as July 4 when The Basketball Tournament tips off in Columbus, Ohio.
Founded by Jonathan Mugar in 2014, TBT is an annual 64-team, winner-take-all event that features some of the most fiercely contested basketball in America. Last year alone, 59 players with NBA experience participated, and 34 players have used the tournament as a platform to sign with NBA teams.
Here are five former pros you’ll surely recognize this summer at TBT 2020.
Joe Johnson (Overseas Elite)
Even casual fans will have no problem recognizing Joe Johnson. The former Arkansas standout was a seven-time NBA All-Star who scored 20,000 points with seven different squads. "Iso Joe" retired from the Association in 2018, but proved he still had plenty of gas left in the tank last summer, when he led the BIG3 in points, assists, and four-pointers (yes, those are actually a thing).
Johnson joins a loaded roster that also features four-year NBA veteran Bobby Brown, former Sacramento Kings guard Pooh Jeter, and two-time TBT MVP D.J. Kennedy. Expect Overseas Elite to make another deep run in the tournament as they try to capture their fifth title in the past six years.
David Lighty (Carmen’s Crew)
David Lighty is a familiar face in Columbus after spending five years at Ohio State. The six-foot-5 guard joined the Buckeyes in 2006 as part of the celebrated recruiting class that also featured Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr., and led the Scarlet and Gray to Big Ten Conference Tournament Championships in 2007, 2010, and 2011. Lighty was never a high-volume scorer, but he was a dependable shooter and outstanding defender who was named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team in 2011.
After going undrafted in 2011, Lighty embarked on a highly successful career overseas, and has since captured three titles in France’s competitive LNB Pro A league.
Nick Calathes (Team Hines)
We’ll be the first to admit that Nick Calathes may not be a household name in America. In fact, most Americans would probably need three tries just to spell his name. However, he’s a huge deal in Greece, where he’s become one of the country’s most feared players following an electrifying two-year run with the Florida Gators from 2007 to 2009.
Since heading to Europe 11 years ago, Calathes has won six Greek League Championships, four Greek Cups, and three Greek League MVP awards. He also won a EuroCup championship in 2013 and was the EuroCup MVP the same season. His dominant run led to a two year stint with the Memphis Grizzlies from 2013 to 2015, but he’s back now in the birthplace of democracy where he’s regularly lighting up guys with seven vowels in their last names.
Dwight Buycks (Golden Eagles)
Marquette’s alumni team will be leaning heavily on the experience and expertise of Dwight Buycks. The former Golden Eagles star spent two years on campus before enjoying a three-year stint in the NBA with the Raptors, Lakers, and Pistons. His finest season came in 2017-18 with Detroit, when he averaged 7.4 points per game, and scored 13 points or more five times. Buycks has since become one of the most explosive scorers in China’s CBA, and should bring plenty of razzle-dazzle to Columbus.
Tony Wroten (The Money Team)
Floyd Mayweather’s Money Team features plenty of NBA-caliber talent, but no star shines brighter than Tony Wroten. The six-foot-six guard was a High School All-American and the Pac-12 Freshman of the Year at Washington, where he averaged 16.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game in his first – and only – year with the Huskies. Wroten was nabbed by the Grizzlies with the 25th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, and enjoyed a solid four-year career in the Association with Memphis and Philadelphia.
Wroten’s finest season came in 2014-15, when he started 15 games for the 76ers and averaged 16.9 points and 5.2 assists. Unfortunately a torn ACL brought his breakout campaign to a premature end, and he’s since been lighting up scoreboards in Estonia, Poland, and Catalonia.