Boeheim’s Army has been blessed to be a part of The Basketball Tournament (TBT) every year since 2015. We look back at each team and look at what went right, what went wrong, and the best moments the Orange alumni team has had.
Boeheim’s Army, a collection of Syracuse Basketball alumni, has had the honor of gracing our TV sets every summer. Not surprisingly it wasn’t always that way. After students graduated, left early for pro careers, or transferred to another school to play, we often didn’t see them in Syracuse playing basketball again unless it was for charity or a celebrity basketball game during Orange Madness at the Carrier Dome to hype up a season.
The Basketball Tournament, also known as TBT for short, gave these former student-athletes a chance to get together once more (or in some cases, several times more) and extend their Orange careers, whether they’re past their best playing days or not.
Starting in 2014, The Basketball Tournament, had the ingenious idea of filling the summer basketball void by creating a tournament where players build their own teams and compete for a cash prize. The cash prize in 2014 was $500,000, but would increase to 1 million dollars in 2015, and eventually $2 million in 2016, according to ESPN.com. (In 2020, the cash prize in a paired down field of 24 teams will be $1 million, according to TheTournament.com) Even though Boeheim’s Army did not enter in TBT’s first year, the success of that first summer tournament opened the door for their entrance in 2015.
Led by Kevin Belbey, Boeheim’s Army was born in 2015. Though it was not a full collection of former Orange players, it was enough to get Orange fans excited about what the future could hold. Now, many years later, Boeheim’s Army is not only a staple of every TBT, but one of its premier and elite teams that competes for a chance at the title year in and year out.
Whether you are just hearing about this Syracuse basketball alumni team now, or have been with them from the beginning, there is no doubt this team bleeds Orange. Everything from their name, which includes the last name of their Hall of Fame Coach (Jim Boeheim), to their Orange jerseys, to having Otto attend their games both here in Syracuse and on the road, makes Boeheim’s Army special and uniquely Orange. With that in mind, join us as we look back and reflect on Boeheim’s Army’s past history in TBT.