I feel like there’s a “martial law” joke in here somewhere, with an Army about to take on a whole City. But I’ll let you work one out in your own head, because I’m here to talk about the first round opponent for Boeheim’s Army in the 2016 iteration of The Basketball Tournament: Basketball City.
The 15-seed in the $2 million tournament is comprised of players from around the New York City area, featuring a few players that some diehard college hoops fans may be vaguely familiar with, but who never got farther than playing overseas or maybe a stint in the D-League. The roster has plenty of size, with a few players flirting with the 7-foot mark, and features a couple shooters who could prove dangerous against Boeheim’s Army’s patented 2-3 zone.
Perhaps the top player on Basketball City is former Manhattan standout George Beamon. The 6-foot-4 guard can fill it up, having averaged 18.8 points while shooting 37.1% from three point range his senior season with the Jaspers. He also pulled down 6.5 rebounds per game that year.
Another player who could potentially light it up from distance is a player folks in Central New York may be familiar with if they follow St. Bonaventure basketball. Demitrius Conger is a 6-foot-6 swingman who, as a senior for the Bonnies, averaged 14.3 points and 7.1 rebounds, while hitting 35.7% of his attempts from long range.
Perhaps the most intriguing player on the entire roster is a former Division III standout in 7-footer AJ Matthews. Playing for Farmingdale State, the athletic big man averaged 22.5 points and 15.5 rebounds in a two-year career after transferring in from a JUCO. He was on the radar for some NBA teams but never did hear his name called. He was a DIII All-American and led the nation in rebounding his senior season.
Back at the Division I level, you’ve got 6-foot-5 forward Tyran de Lattibeaudiere, whose name I won’t even attempt to pronounce. Spoiler alert: I won’t even try to announce fellow Basketball City player Chukwudiebere Maduabum’s name, either. Anyway, de Lattibeaudiere averaged 13.4 points and 7.7 rebounds per game as a senior, but didn’t hit a three pointer all year. He’s strictly an inside player, albeit an undersized one. Still, he shot nearly 58% from the field in his final college season.
Maduabum, meanwhile, is one of the biggest mysteries of the entire tournament. The 6-foot-9 forward from Nigeria was actually drafted in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, but only played a little bit in the D-League and has spent most of his pro career overseas.
Another big man for Basketball City to turn to is Christopher Pelcher, a 6-foot-10 center from the University of New Hampshire. While he may not quite be on Ethan Cole’s level, the former UNH standout averaged 10.8 points and 8.4 rebounds in his final campaign. Another big man on the roster is Abdoulaye Ndoye, a 7-footer from Texas A&M-Commerce. Of course, it’d appear he’s mainly just a tall guy for whom basketball might not be his “thing” – he averaged just 1.1 points and 1.7 rebounds as a senior.
As far as guard play goes, along with Beamon the roster features former Florida Atlantic guard Shavar Richardson. Richardson is a 6-foot-3 combo guard who finished his career with an average of 8.8 points per game and a career 35.6% mark from long distance, though it’s noteworthy that his scoring average went down each season he was at FAU, from double figures his first year to 5.9 PPG in his last.
Joining him in the backcourt is Isaiah Wilkerson, a 6-foot-3 guard from NJIT, who averaged 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds as a senior while hitting 37.3% from beyond the three point arc. Rounding out the guard spot is Tyvon Williams, a 6-foot point guard from South Carolina State who averaged 7.0 points and 3.4 assists while hitting 38.2% from deep in his senior season.
Basketball City certainly has some talent on its roster, but realistically, it won’t be enough to topple the 2-seeded good guys from Boeheim’s Army. Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday night in Philadelphia. The winner moves on to take whoever survives the clash between the 7-seed North Broad Street Bullies (featuring the likes of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Khalif Wyatt) and the 10-seed 20th & Olney (which is comprised of La Salle alums).
You’ll be able to watch both Boeheim’s Army’s game, and the game between North Broad Street Bullies and 20th & Olney live on Facebook.