Jared Sullinger? Aaron Craft? Carmen's Crew in early stages of assembling TBT roster

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Jared Sullinger (0), shown playing for Scarlet & Gray  the forerunner to Carmen's Crew  in 2018,  cheers with the fans following a game in The Basketball Tournament at Capital University. This year, Sullinger returns as coach of Carmen's Crew, the defending tournament champion.

The dates and venues are officially on the calendar, but it will be some time before Carmen’s Crew finalizes a roster for what it hopes will be redemptive run in The Basketball Tournament.

Wednesday afternoon, though, a pair of players already confirmed to continue their tenure with the Ohio State alumni-based team began the process and applying some public pressure for their coach and general manager to add one more title to his resume.

“Hopefully Sully will play,” Jon Diebler said, referring to Jared Sullinger. “That’s the main one. We’re working on Sully to play.”

Buckeyes basketball:Ohio State's Aaron Craft on potentially playing in next TBT: 'We'll see'

A two-time All-American at Ohio State who was a first-round NBA draft pick, Sullinger’s NBA career came to a close after five seasons. After taking some time away from the game to help his wife raise twins, Sullinger is now playing professionally in South Korea.

He’s played for Carmen’s Crew before. Now his fellow former Buckeyes want to see him do it again.

“Outside of TBT, it’s just awesome to see him playing again,” Diebler said. “He’s been through a lot injury-wise and we all know how good of a player Sully is. To see him playing again, everyone knew he was gonna play well. We’re working on it.”

Added William Buford, “We need your help,” imploring the media to write about their desire to see Sullinger return.

He’s not the only popular former Ohio State player whose status is in doubt. Aaron Craft, a TBT mainstay, enrolled in medical school at Ohio State last year and all but officially closed the door on his professional career. However, he didn’t completely rule out making some kind of appearance in TBT, should the medical school calendar permit.

Both Buford and Diebler said they haven’t addressed the possibility of seeing him return to the court with Craft.

“I haven’t talked to him personally about basketball, just about how his second career’s going after ball,” Buford said. “I hope that Craft does play with us. I love playing with Craft. He makes the game so much easier for everybody. You know what type of effort he’s going to give night-in and night-out. Hopefully we can get him to play this year and it’ll be great for us.”

In addition to Buford and Diebler, David Lighty and Evan Ravenel have been confirmed for this year’s roster. The rest of it will be filled out in the coming months as players return from playing overseas. Sullinger is listed as the team’s coach and general manager while Evan Turner is an assistant coach.

Carmen’s Crew will play at Ohio State’s Covelli Center, which will host a regional from July 23-27. Two years ago, the Ohio State team won the $1 million prize but took an opening-game loss in last year’s tournament, which was held entirely at Nationwide Arena in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re in the beginning stages of our roster,” Diebler said. “You guys might know more than Will and I do about who’s going to be on the team. We’re going to leave that to the coach and the GM. Obviously we all have input, but we’ve had our core and guys that have been in it since the first year we did it.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

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