Big Rapids, Mich. - Ferris State University men's basketball will be represented for the first time this summer in The Basketball Tournament (TBT), a $2 million winner-take-all event.
FSU head coach Andy Bronkema will serve as an assistant coach for Team D2, which is comprised of former NCAA Division II standouts and also includes Bulldog alum DeShaun Thrower (Muskegon).
"Our TBT team D2 is comprised of former elite Division II players that all finished their careers in college at NCAA Division II institutions," said GM/Head Coach Grant Leonard. "The majority of the players are all having successful pro careers ranging from the G-League and Overseas. We aren't here for fun and games, we are hunting the big prize."
Notable names on the team roster along with Thrower include former Findlay standout Taren Sullivan along with Ashland's Wendell Davis. The roster is also expected to include talented alums from Florida Southern, Queens (N.C.), Montevallo, Washburn and Angelo State among others.
The TBT is a 64-team, single-elimination tournament now in its seventh campaign that is open to the world's top standouts and competitive teams. Eight teams are selected to compete per region. Games will take place in July and August and air on ESPN. Eight regional winners will advance to the Championship Week set for Aug. 6-11 in Dayton, Ohio.
The winning team takes home $2 million and the winning team's fanbase will take 10% of the cut. GMs negotiate with each team member over his/her share of the final prize. Teams are selected to compete from an application poll, which runs until June 15. All dates and events are subject to change due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year, in 2019, a total of 59 players with NBA experience participated. In addition, 34 players have gone on from the TBT to sign deals with NBA teams. Teams are seeded based on each team's talent, chemistry and reliability. Games also utilize the Elam Ending, which eliminates the game clock at the end of play and sets a Target Score.
The associate head coach at Queens University, Leonard put together a team for the first time in the event last year and the D2 squad shocked the field by dominating the Bluegrass Boys, a squad of former Kentucky alumni by a 77-62 score. The team is expected to be even stronger this year and Leonard has molded the roster to fit the tournament style.
Supporters can become fans of the team by logging onto thetournament.com, create a fan account and click on #TeamD2 to become a fan and perhaps get a share of the winning prize. Fans can also follow the D2 team on twitter @D2Unheralded or @D2unheraldedTBT.
Bronkema led Ferris State to the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championship, earning consensus National Coach of the Year recognition, as the Bulldogs matched the all-time NCAA Division II record in a remarkable 38-1 campaign during the 2017-18 season. FSU has advanced to the NCAA Tournament five of the last six years under his direction and won 20 games or more six-straight years.
Meanwhile, Thrower capped off an outstanding collegiate career as a two-sport star for the Bulldogs a year ago and went on to play professionally this past season for the Windsor Express. Along with being on FSU's national championship men's basketball squad as one of the country's top players, he also started in the defensive backfield for Ferris State's 2018 football team that reached the national championship game and finished with a 15-1 record, tying the all-time mark for D2 victories. Prior to his FSU career, he was the 2014 Michigan Mr. Basketball winner as a prep standout at Muskegon.
More information on The Basketball Tournament and Team D2 can be found at this link: