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Golden Eagles alumni prep for The Basketball Tournament

Posted at 7:00 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-20 20:00:32-04

MILWAUKEE — Looking back, 2020 wasn't so bad for a handful of guys playing basketball.

"It takes six really good games to win, and we were fortunate enough two years ago to win it," says Travis Diener, Marquette Alum and Golden Eagles TBT member.

Winning The Basketball Tournament, otherwise known as the TBT, the Golden Eagles alumni squad became a million dollars richer that year. If any year was tough, it was falling short in 2021.

"2021 we're coming off the COVID year, out of the bubble, so guys got to be themselves again. So, with that freedom guys kind of strayed away from each other just a bit," says Jamil Wilson, Marquette Alum, and Golden Eagles TBT member.

Now it's 2022, and the Golden Eagles begin competition in Dayton on July 24.

"If you want to win it, you got to have guys that understand how to win. That understand how to lose. How crucial it is to be in the game playing in that 'Elgin Minute' is different so you got to have guys that are prepared and can do it," says Joe Chapman, Marquette alum and TBT coach of the Golden Eagles.

With all but three members returning from the 2020 championship squad, it's not experience but loyalty that makes this team dangerous.

"It's just a testament to all the eras. You know you got guys that played with Crean, guys that played with Buzz, guys that played with Wojo. But regardless of the coach you played under, that Marquette cloth is still the same. It's cut out of toughness, defending, relying on one another and I think that's what we bring into this," says Jamil.

"You've seen other schools kind of go away from their alumni and go with different teams, and we've never wanted to do that. Nine out of the 11 guys are from Marquette and the other two are Milwaukee guys. So you know that's been very true to what we wanted as a roster. I just think it means more when you win a championship with the guys at Marquette, or even if we lose it's still a bond that will never be broken," says Diener.

The connections between players may have been made on the court, but the love they have for one another extends beyond the game.

"It's a culture that we've built for eight years that we've been in this tournament, that it's a brotherhood that Marquette has, that a lot of guys want to play here. We get to see each others' families, talk about life a little bit, and what's left after basketball. I think that's what keeps us grounded and keeps us together - is wanting to know what's after basketball," says Chapman.

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