When you think Old Dominion teams of the 2010s, there’s likely only one name that immediately comes to mind: Kent Bazemore. Years later, the Monarchs alumni have put together Seven City Royalty, which will be the No. 5 seed in the Richmond Regional of The Basketball Tournament.
Last year, then known as Monarch Nation, the Old Dominion alumni were taken down in the first round. This year, they will take on No. 4 seed Best Virginia in the first round, a highly touted team of West Virginia alumni. The core of last year’s team — Jordan Baker, Aaron Bacote, Keenan Palmore and Richard Ross — are all back. They have also added the team’s most accomplished player thus far, former all-CUSA star point guard Trey Freeman. Since graduating in 2016, Freeman has played in the G-League and in France. He currently plays in Puerto Rico. 6-foot-7 forward Brandan Stith (2018 grad) played in Belgium last year for the Leuven Bears.
Jordan Baker, who conveniently shares the name of a character in The Great Gatsby, was on Monarch Nation last year and was a consistent starter for the Monarchs before graduating in 2017. 6-foot-5 Aaron Bacote will also get significant minutes on this squad, likely at shooting guard. The size on the team will be provided by Nik Biberaj and Nick Wright. Biberaj is an Albanian National Team veteran but has not played professionally since 2017. Wright played at Old Dominion from 2009-13. He has no connection or relation to Nick Wright, the Fox Sports pundit. Small forward Richard Ross should also play a significant role. He last played in Luxembourg and graduated from ODU in 2015. He also once worked out with the Minnesota Vikings. Sadly, Wykevin Bazemore is not on the team this time around. What a name.
Stylistically, I have no clue how this team will play. They don’t have a lot of size, but there’s plenty of athleticism and many of these guys have played with each other before. Also, those Old Dominion teams were quite good. They nearly beat 2011 runner-up Butler in the NCAA Tournament and were a dominant force in the CAA. This All-Star team of Monarchs may mostly consisted of players from later on, but they could make a deep run in The Basketball Tournament. They will have a tough test against a West Virginia squad that consists of all of Bob Huggins’ faves.