Nine All-Big 12 awards, six 1,000-point scorers and more than 1,000 made 3-point shots all with two things in common, they all played at Oklahoma State and they will be on the court together at The Basketball Tournament, TBT, as the Stillwater Stars.
The tournament has a winner take all prize of $2 million. The teams determine the split between players and staff, but fans can choose to support a team and if that teams win the prize money the fans also get a share.
The 64-team bracket will be announced on June 22 and games are scheduled to start on July 23. The championship weekend is scheduled for Aug. 6-11.
OSU alumnus and former men’s basketball manager Jeff Barr has been tasked with the duty of general manager of the Stars.
“I actually have found an alum to coach the team, so when the tournament comes around I will be more focused on making sure that all of our travel and accommodations go smoothly,” Barr said.
The coach will be named at a later date closer to the tournament, but the roster is all but set, missing just one player. So, how did this team go from an idea to a reality?
“So, in October, I had Le’Bryan Nash and Brian Williams reach out to me and ask if I was interested in setting up our team for the TBT,” Barr said. “Once I confirmed they added me to a group chat with some of the former guys who were interested. (Nash) gave me the info for his contact at the tournament and I took it from there”
The roster may be one of the most intriguing in TBT this year. With the accolades the team has and the names they carry. Phil Forte, Markel Brown and Jeffery Carroll join Nash and Williams and Marshall Moses as players to watch for. Also joining the roster is a pair of 2020 OSU graduates with Lindy Waters and Thomas Dziagwa are on the Stars roster.
“I was very fortunate to have a good relationship with a lot of guys and had another former manager, Caleb Surly, assisting me,” Barr said. “So along with Williams and Nash in that group chat on our current roster was Carroll, Brown and Michael Cobbins so they were pretty much confirmed through that. Moses was working out with me at the time in Dallas, so I asked him in person. (Surly) reached out to Forte and talked him into it. I found out about (Dziagwa) and (Waters) through graduate assistant Brad Lewis and they were committed as soon as I reached out to them. I was a manager from 2010-15 so that is a pretty good reason why the majority is from the 2013 team.”
Forte holds the OSU program record for made 3-point shots and is sixth all-time in the Big 12. He is also second all-time in the Big 12 in both free throw percentage and offensive rating. Dziagwa is fourth in OSU history in made 3-point shots and seventh in the Big 12 in 3-point percentage. Brown is only the eighth player in school history to record 100 or more career blocks and the 24th in school history with more than 500 rebounds. Nash became the seventh player in program history to average double digit points in all four years.
The Stars team was lights out from 3-point range when they were at OSU. The team combines for 1,160 made 3-point baskets on 34% shooting. Forte and Dziagwa were the two with the highest percentage with 39.5% and 41% respectively. However, Barr, Forte and assistant coach Darren Sheffield all said Forte is still the best shooter on the team’s current roster.
“I’m biased but I think the best shooter is still Phil and he holds the school record for made threes,” Barr said.
“I mean I told somebody I’m going to need a two-week boot camp to get into shape,” Forte said. “If there’s one thing I’m bringing to the table it’s that. I don’t know how good I’ll be defensively or how many trips up and down the court. I’ll be able to sit in that corner and take a pass from Markel, Jeff or Le’Bryan Nash, and I’ll be ready. I know my role that’s for sure.”