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The Basketball Tournament 2017 preview: Why the Binghamton Green Arrows can win the $2 million prize

Go Binturongs.

NCAA Basketball: Binghamton at St. John Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Dear Binghamton basketball fans,

It’s tough to be you.

As I’m sure you know, last year, the Bearcats posted a 3-13 conference record, losing their final nine games and finishing the season tied for last in the America East.

“Woe is me!” you may say. “We are but a listless bunch of binturongs.”

But fear not! Cease your spiraling march to the depths of despair and find hope, joy and admiration in the talents of your alumni!

What am I talking about, you ask?

Allow me to answer your question with another question. Have you heard of the Basketball Tournament?

No, not the America East Conference Tournament. Not the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament. Not the “Big Dance” or “March Madness.” THE Basketball Tournament.

Well, If you haven’t, it’s “an annual, 5-on-5, single elimination basketball tournament. Anyone 18 or older can enter a team and play. In 2017, 64 teams will play for a winner-takes-all prize of $2 million.”

That’s a lot of cash! Considering in-state students are shelling out about $6,500 each year for tuition to Binghamton, that could pay tuition for around 308 New York residents next year to attend your school!

Or, if you were so inclined, you could buy eight Lenco BearCat armored vehicles, or 266 actual Bearcats.

I want to tell you a little bit about your squad.

The team, officially titled the Binghamton Green Arrows, consists of a coach and seven players.

Kevin Clark - Coach - St. John’s University

As a walk-on at St. John’s, Clark rarely saw the floor. After a stint as an assistant at Pace University, he went on to be the head coach at NJCAA Division II Lackawanna College. He is now the head coach at Division III Keystone College.

He’s only 25, so he could probably suit up in a pinch.

James Gray III - Point Guard/GM - Binghamton University

A walk-on who eventually earned a scholarship, Gray is a Binghamton native. He averaged 10.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists in his senior season for the Bearcats.

George Chase - Small Forward - Slippery Rock University

Standing at 6’5” from Morgantown, West Virginia, Chase played 26 games for Potomac State College of WVU, averaging 11.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, before transferring to Slippery Rock University for his final year as a redshirt senior. There, he averaged five points and four rebounds per contest.

Javon Ralling - Small Forward - Binghamton University

The 6’6” small forward from Harlem didn’t quite stuff the stat sheet at Binghamton. He averaged 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in four years.

Peter Alexis - Center - Philadelphia University

After redshirtting his freshman year at Penn State, the 7’0” Alexis transferred to Philadelphia University. There, he progressed every year, and in his senior season he poured in 19.3 points per game, along with 9.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. He earned conference player of the year honors his senior season and went on to play for Rotterdam in the Netherlands.

While he played his college ball in Philadelphia, he did not end up with the 76ers. Rather, he now plays for a team called “Area-76” in Georgia - the country, not the state.

Kyrie Sutton - Power Forward - Binghamton University

Sutton played three years for the Bearcats before being dismissed from the team. He played his senior season at Texas Southern where he averaged five points and four rebounds per game. Sutton had a brief stint with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Pacers’ D-League affiliate.

Lamont Tillery - Small Forward - East Stroudsburg University

Tillery averaged 9.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game at Division II East Stroudsburg.

Jamie Calloway - Point Guard - Lackawanna College

Calloway and Clark likely have the Lackawanna connection. Go Falcons!

_____

Ok, so I know it’s not the most star-studded team of all time.

But this is what The Basketball Tournament is all about! If the team wasn’t a rag-tag bunch of former role players then they wouldn’t belong in the tourney.

Plus, who doesn’t love an underdog?

GM and point guard Jimmy Gray takes the space in his bio to pump me (and you) all the way up about the prospect of a group of Binghamton alums (and some others) taking home $2 million smackeroos for out-hustling their opponents. He writes, “Proud of my accomplishments but I believe it's only the beginning of my GREATNESS. It's all or nothing and I fear no player on that court, time to show out for Binghamton. Never underestimate the underdog!”

Similarly, in his introductory video, Javon Ralling said he wants to “put Binghamton on the map.”

I feel like I could run through a wall.

The Green Arrows are the team for all the underdogs, the Rudys of the world, the role players who averaged 10 minutes a night and the walk-ons who played one game a year.

So to all you Bearcat faithful, dream on.

Go Green Arrows.