The Basketball Tournament is set to get underway on Friday afternoon, and three former Pitt players are expected to take part in the event, with Jamel Artis set to claim a key role on Sideline Cancer for the second straight year and Jared Wilson-Frame set to join Gary McGhee on Team Heartfire.
All three players have plied their trade overseas since moving on from Pitt. Artis spent the bulk of the 2020-21 season with Chorale Roanne Basket in the top-tier pro league in France. Over a span of 26 games, he averaged 11.1 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 38.2 percent from beyond the arc. And McGhee, who is now in his 10th season playing overseas, suited up for Club Básquet Coruña in the second-tier pro league of Spain. In 28 contests, the Pitt product averaged 9.0 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
As for Wilson-Frame, he was most recently aligned with Raptors 905 of the NBA G League and played for Limburg United in Belgium during the 2019-20 season prior to that. In 13 games with the Belgian team, Wilson-Frame averaged 16.2 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. Wilson-Frame also shot 40.2 percent from three-point range.
The number of Pitt alums in the event has diminished over the years, as Pitt grads previously fielded alumni teams like the Untouchables and the Zoo Crew but have declined to assemble such teams since 2019. Last year, four players represented Pitt in the tournament, with Artis and McGhee on the same teams as this year, Gilbert Brown on Team Hines, and Ryan Luther making a memorable run with Herd That.
With that said, Pitt has enjoyed its share of glory in The Basketball Tournament, as DeJuan Blair won a championship with Overseas Elite in 2017, and Artis was one win away from replicating that feat with Sideline Cancer in 2020. However, his team fell to the Golden Eagles in the championship game.
In addition to the trio of Pitt alums, three former Pitt players who did not finish their college careers at Pitt will play in the event. Corey Manigault will suit up for B1 Ballers, Josh Newkirk will play for Forces of Seoul and Trey Zeigler is on Fort Worth Funk.
The Basketball Tournament’s Round of 64 will get underway Friday at 2 p.m. ET with a matchup between Zeigler’s Fort Worth Funk and Team Arkansas at Koch Arena in Wichita, Kansas. As has been the case in previous years, upwards of $1 million will be at stake in the single-elimination tournament.