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Trio of Former Flames Looking to Enter The Basketball Tournament
Three Liberty basketball alumni are joining forces in hopes of competing in a unique summer basketball tournament. The Basketball Tournament (TBT), which takes place at Philadelphia University beginning June 6, will consist of a 32-team field. Good Fellas, a team featuring former Flames Jesse Sanders, Alex McLean and Anthony Smith, are looking to be one of the 32.
Twenty-four of the 32 teams will be selected based on fan support. TBT will then choose eight additional teams to complete the field. The first four rounds are set to take place at Philadelphia University, with the championship game being hosted by the team that receives the most votes. The winner of the tournament will earn a prize of $500,000. The deadline for rosters and fan support is slated for May 1 at noon.
"This tournament is exciting for a number of reasons," Sanders said. "It's a great opportunity to reconnect with friends and teammates I haven't played with in years. I'm looking forward to reuniting with Anthony Smith and playing alongside one of Liberty's best post players, Alex McLean. It will be fun to play with such a talented team."
If successful in entering and winning TBT, Good Fellas plan to give 10 percent of their earnings to 58ten, a ministry that seeks to provide relief and support to orphans in Kenya.
"58ten is a ministry that my family has supported for years," Sanders noted. "We are good friends with the founders and really admire what they are trying to do. 58ten partners with Kenyan nationals to provide shelter, food, education and discipleship to some of Kenya's neediest and most vulnerable children."
A four-year starter with the Flames, Sanders (2009-12) concluded his collegiate career with 1,235 points (currently 15th in Liberty history) and 815 rebounds (5th). Along with his point total, the 2011 Big South Player of the Year also posted 727 assists, finishing his time at Liberty as the program and conference leader in career helpers. Sanders currently plays professionally for the Sydney Kings in the Australian National Basketball League.
A prolific scorer with the Flames, Smith (2006-09) closed out his Liberty career sixth on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,754 points. Smith capped his senior season with 615 tallies en route to earning Big South All-Conference first team honors. Smith currently plays professionally in Germany for Eisbaeren Bremerhaven.
In just two seasons at Liberty, McLean made a huge impact with the program, garnering Big South All-Conference first team honors in 2008. One of seven Liberty players to post 40 points in a game, McLean is currently third in program history with 27 double-doubles including a single-season record 15 his senior season. McLean plays professionally in the Philippines as a member of the club Rise or Shine.
Currently among the top 40 in fan support, Sanders encourages Flames fans to visit thetournament.com and become a fan of Good Fellas.
"We need your help," Sanders stated. "In order to be eligible to play we need one of the 24 largest fan followings. Please sign up to be a fan of Good Fellas and support your Liberty Basketball Alumni!"
To learn more about TBT and to become a fan of Good Fellas, visit thetournament.com. Upon creating a fan account, check out The Good Fellas fan page and join the team.