With no bench players available, the starting 5 of Team ROBY slouched in their chairs in front of a few cameras and reporters. However, the final score didn't show any signs of fatigue.
"Seeing the same faces you play with, playing basketball, it's great" said Antonio Pena after the big win.
Team ROBY, who's team consists of all former Wildcats in Corey Fisher, Scottie Reynolds, Antonio Pena, Dwayne Anderson and Mouphtaou Yarou, defeated the Teasley's All Stars with ease. The designated GM of the team is former team manager Austin Buntz.
When asked who was responsible for getting the 2009 team back together, they 5 simultaneously pointed to Anderson. He began telling the story of how this came to be. "One of my managers kept telling me about this tournament, The Basketball Tournament, and how much the prize was. I thought, 'There is no way they are giving away that money' so I just brushed him off. However, more and more people were telling me about it, so I did some research and saw the teams and players that were in it." After seeing how legitimate this would be, he started making some calls.
"I was trying to get the whole roster, to be honest, but we could only have ten players" Dwayne added.
The former Wildcats updated us on their whereabouts since graduation, most of which are playing professional ball overseas. Pena has been playing in Spain. Yarou had just signed a contract to play in France. Reynolds was the least specific of the group, describing his situation as "playing everywhere overseas." Fisher has been playing in Russia. Coincidently, within the last year, Fisher's squad had played against Reynolds' in a tournament called the BTB in Russia. They also played together in Turkey. Anderson, the lone baller not playing for a living, is an assistant coach for the Penn State Nittany Lions. Buntz is with Anderson, being a manager for PSU.
As Scottie spoke more about coming together, it was apparent that he prefers to distance himself from attention. It also surfaced how much these players are like family. "I'm the kind of guy to get away from everybody. Not because I want to, it's just how the way things are right now. When I can get around these guys and play again, it's a blessing. If another person asked me to play, I probably wouldn't play. But these dudes, I'm gonna play."
Anderson was jokingly asked if the team ran the Penn State offense during the game. Pena described it as "Get Buckets." Dwayne generously shared his offensive system, which was "Give the ball to Scottie and Fisher and let them do what they do." This may or may not have been the same plan on offense back in the Final Four.
The team still keeps in touch with Coach Wright, with emails and calls. Fisher noted that "he always checks on us, always knows where we're playing."
The Wildcat Alumni make sure to keep track of how the team has done recently. Anderson sees James Bell as "a better version of myself. I have nothing for respect for him."
As I first learned about The Basketball Tournament, I was shocked to see these former Wildcat stars sign along to partake in such a small venue. With the grand prize of $500,000 for the winner, I assumed that these players were eager for the money. After the post-game conference, it becomes clear that the grand prize is negligible for them. The strong family ties between the former teammates still stays strong today. Any excuse to come back together is good enough for the Villanova family. The team plays today at 2:45pm, and if they win they play in Round 3 at 8:45pm. The semifinals are tomorrow (Sunday) at 3:00pm. The Championship game will be decided amongst the fans of the two finalists. A championship matchup could come back to the Pavilion.