There will be a few former Zags on rosters, but the Gonzaga-centric Few Good Men will not be involved in The Basketball Tournament this summer.
Few Good Men has played in the past three TBTs, twice reaching the Super 16 in the 64-team, $2-million winner-take all tournament.
Former Zags greats Dan Dickau and Blake Stepp, FGM general manager Jordan Piscopo and ex-Gonzaga walk-on Rem Bakamus collaborated in the past to build rosters, often supplemented by a few players from other schools.
“We didn’t have enough true interest from guys to play,” Dickau said. “The first couple years, Blake and I spearheaded the thing and we made a couple of nice runs. With Blake and I being busier last year, Rem jumped in. Rem is on the coaching path (as a graduate assistant at Baylor), so that’s made it more difficult for him.
“I believe a couple of feelers were sent out early in spring, and there just wasn’t much interest.”
Building a quality roster can be tricky. Former Zags playing professionally overseas don’t want to risk losing lucrative contracts. Others don’t want to jeopardize their chances of playing in the NBA Summer League or signing overseas.
“You don’t want to commit to it if you might have to back out,” Dickau said.
Other potential factors include expenses, family commitments, weddings and vacations. Players are usually responsible for expenses for the opening weekend, with the TBT picking up the tab from the Super 16 on. There is some roster flexibility, but it’s a three-week commitment to play in the six games required to win a championship.
“We talked to Rem a little bit. He knows a lot of the younger guys, and it didn’t seem like there was a ton of excitement this time,” Piscopo said.
FGM edged Team Utah 84-83 on a pair of Matt Bouldin free throws before falling 95-48 to Gael Force (Saint Mary’s alumni) in the Hoopfest pod at Lewis and Clark High last June. FGM’s roster included former Washington State guard DaVonte Lacy and ex-Washington Husky center Robert Upshaw.
The sixth annual TBT begins a three-week run next month with the championship game Aug. 6 televised on ESPN.
Former GU point guard Jeremy Pargo is expected to play with four-time defending champion Overseas Elite for the second straight year. Pargo played for FGM a few years ago.
Bouldin is with the Fort Wayne Champs. Austin Daye will play for Team Challenge ALS for the third consecutive season.
Piscopo and Dickau said they’d be happy to help out next summer if there’s enough interest for Few Good Men to return.
“It was definitely a fun deal,” Dickau said. “This year there’s even more alumni teams becoming part of it. Hopefully, we can bring a Gonzaga team back into the mix.”
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