No Buckeyes: Carmen's Crew will not participate in The Basketball Tournament

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch

For the first time in six years, Ohio State will not field an alumni team for The Basketball Tournament.

In a message posted to Twitter on Tuesday, former Buckeye center and Carmen’s Crew coach Jared Sullinger announced that the team featuring Ohio State alumni will not participate in this summer’s event but plans to return in 2023.

“Carmen’s Crew fans, we’re disappointed to share that we will be unable to compete in TBT this summer,” Sullinger wrote. “Since 2017, we’ve greatly enjoyed the opportunity to get back together and represent The Ohio State University, and we look forward to doing it again in 2023. We hope that all of our fans will continue to support TBT at their events in Cincinnati, Dayton, and around the country this summer.”

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The decision to not participate is multi-faceted. As the core of the team has gotten older, many of the players are husbands and fathers who spend the majority of the year playing overseas while others are beginning to enter other fields of work. In addition, Carmen's Crew continues to mourn the loss of one of its original members: Nate Miller, a Bowling Green alumnus and Springfield, Ohio, native tragically passed away late last week at age 34. 

Taking the summer off will allow Carmen's Crew's players to grieve and to spend more quality time with their families. 

Founded as Scarlet & Gray in 2017, the roster primarily comprised former Buckeyes. The team reached the national semifinals of the tournament and fell in the quarterfinals the following year. Then, in Sullinger’s first season as coach, they won it all in 2019.

The 2020 event was played entirely in a bubble environment in downtown Columbus as the first sporting event to be held amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but No. 1 overall seed Carmen’s Crew suffered an upset loss to in its opener against the Illinois alumni team House of ‘Paign.

Ohio State served as a regional host for the 2021 event with games staged at the Covelli Center, where a team featuring Kosta Koufos, William Buford and David Lighty fell to The Money Team in the regional semifinals. After the loss, veterans Jon Diebler and Aaron Craft announced their retirement from playing. Diebler is now on staff with former coach Thad Matta at Butler and Craft is in medical school at Ohio State.

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Columbus is not a site for the event this summer. Xavier and Dayton will host games.

In mid-May, former Ohio State center and Carmen’s Crew assistant coach Dallas Lauderdale told The BuckeyeXtra Basketball Podcast that he wasn’t sure what the 2022 team would look like while joking how the former Buckeyes often didn’t figure things out until the last minute.

At least two former Buckeyes are participating this summer on other teams. Jimmy Sotos is playing for Ex-Pats, which features former Patriot League players, and Marc Loving will be a part of About Billions, a team built by boxer Adrien Broner.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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