Revamped Carmen's Crew plans to participate in this year's The Basketball Tournament

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch

After a one-year hiatus, Ohio State’s unofficial alumni team will return to The Basketball Tournament this summer.

Featuring a new era of former Buckeyes, Carmen’s Crew – with the ‘m’ crossed out – will participate in this year’s event with a roster that leans heavily on the Chris Holtmann era.

“We’re going to go with a Holtmann-type group,” coach Jared Sullinger said on the “Carxen’s Crew” podcast that is unaffiliated with the team.

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That means the roster for the 2023 TBT, which is yet to announce host cities or specific dates for this summer’s event, will feature the likes of Keyshawn Woods, CJ Walker, Trevor Thompson and the Wesson brothers, Andre and Kaleb.

“We’re going to have a nice little group of guys that came from the Holtmann era of Ohio State basketball and try to put them on the map, because the old heads, we’re done,” Sullinger said. “We’re getting old. We can’t keep doing it anymore. We’re going to keep fighting, and we’re going to start a new era of Carmen’s Crew.”

Carmen's Crew coach Jared Sullinger looks for a call against The Money Team in a game on July 27, 2021.

The Ohio State alumni team has had a checkered past with TBT. An initial group of players from the Thad Matta era, anchored by William Buford, Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler, David Lighty and Sullinger, reached the semifinals of the winner-take-all, $1 million event during its first year of competition in 2017. Playing under the Scarlet & Gray moniker at the time under coach Scoonie Penn, the team then fell in the quarterfinals in 2018 before winning the whole thing as Carmen’s Crew in 2019 and taking home what was then a $2 million prize.

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The following year, Carmen’s Crew earned the overall No. 1 seed but was upset in the first round of the reduced, 24-team event that was the first major American sporting event to be played during the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament was played entirely in a bubble at Columbus’ Nationwide Arena.

Carmen’s Crew retained a No. 1 seed in 2021 but fell in the regional semifinals while playing at the Covelli Center. The plan was to field a team in 2022, but injuries to a few roster mainstays and a desire from many of the players to simply have a summer to relax after years of playing overseas led to the decision to take the year off and decide a new course for the future.

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TBT has announced Louisville and Wichita as regional hosts for the event, which according to its website will take place sometime this July. The other six regional hosts are to be announced.


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