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Philly snub in TBT rallies players to make run at tournament

Local former college basketball stars will attempt to play their way into the Basketball Tournament.
Will Philly be well-represented at TBT this year? (Credit/Getty Images)

Drexel basketball knows what it’s like to get snubbed.

Five years ago, the Dragons were left out of the Big Dance despite a 27-6 record.

On selection Tuesday for the Basketball Tournament — a 5-on-5, single-elimination, winner-take-all tournament for $2 million, which gets underway at Philadelphia University on June 17 — the Blue and Gold Club and their team of Drexel alumni were passed on yet again for the Northeast region of the tournament.

Five members of the 2011-12 Drexel team — Kazembe Abif, Chris Fouch, Samme Givens, Jake Lerner and Frantz Massenet — had to receive the bad news, but luckily there was another route for them to take this time around.

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The Basketball Tournament announced only 60 of their 64 spots for the tournament on Tuesday. The final four spots will be decided at their inaugural TBT Jamboree. Four teams in the Northeast, South, Midwest and West regions can pay a $5,000 entrance fee for the chance to win their way into the tournament.

The Blue and Gold Club has combined forces with the Broad Street Brawlers, another team which was snubbed of a spot in the West region of the tournament.

The Brawlers have some local flare as well in Dalton Pepper (Temple), Christian Burns (Philadelphia University) and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson (Temple), who decided to join the team for the Jamboree.

Together they’ll instantly become the most Philly-centric team in the Jamboree (and possibly the entire tournament), where they’ll compete in the West region for a chance to punch their ticket to Las Vegas.

“Temple and Drexel are certainly schools that have been overlooked in the past and don't get the respect they sometimes deserve,” said Brandon Forman, general manager of the Broad Street Brawlers. “We feel this is a great opportunity to prove the [Basketball Tournament] committee wrong and hopefully not only win the Jamboree, but also advance far in the regular tournament.”

The Jamboree will take place at Philadelphia University on June 17-18. If they win their region, they’ll compete in Las Vegas for their chance at $2 million on July 15-16.

All Basketball Tournament games will air on the ESPN network (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPN3).

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