Rams, Spiders among those teaming up for The Basketball Tournament

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 11:51 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At one time or another, VCU and Richmond alumni have put togethers their own teams for The Basketball Tournament. This year, Bleed Virginia will cover many programs from throughout the commonwealth, including the Rams and Spiders.

VCU products Marcus Evans, Issac Vann and Corey Douglas are among the players on the Bleed Virginia roster, along with Richmond graduate ShawnDre’ Jones.

“Just the whole feel of it,” said Evans, who will be making his first TBT appearance. “There’s a lot of talent from overseas, former NBA guys playing. It’s a chance to obviously win some money, but really, in a tournament like that, really just testing your skills against some of the other top players not in the league right now.”

“It really gives that NCAA feel- the crowd involvement, the crowd engagement, just that feeling of playing for something that means something again,” added Jones, who played for Richmond’s The Web in year’s past.

This marks the eighth year of The Basketball Tournament, a bracket of 64 teams made up of professional players, various college alumni and former pros as well. This year’s winning squad will receive a one million dollar prize. TBT features the Elam Ending, a target final score set at the final media timeout that is seven points more than the leading team’s point total. The Bleed Virginia club will open up on Saturday against D2 and know that one loss could end its run before it even gets going.

“Most of us are professional athletes and we usually in the playoff settings we have series of seven games or five games,” pointed out Jones. “Going back to that single elimination type feel and atmosphere just heightens everything.”

“Just having VA on your chest, that means a lot more,” Evans observed. “Obviously it gives us a chance to expand a little bit outside of just VCU alumni, so getting the chance to represent the whole state of Virginia, I’m looking forward to that.”

Rams and Spiders are used to being on opposite sides of a heated rivalry. Jones and Evans never squared off during their college days, but both are looking forward to potentially sharing a backcourt in the same jersey this summer.

“You have two experienced guards and that just makes it that much tougher,” said Evans. “I’m excited. Even though he went to that school down the street, I think we can team up a little bit and do some damage.”

“I watched a lot of Richmond versus VCU games after I left,” Jones noted. “He’s really talented. He’s a really talented player and I look forward to sharing a backcourt with him.”

Evans is preparing to begin his first professional season in England, while Jones has spent the last two seasons in the G-League.

For more information on The Basketball Tournament, click here.

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