Carmen's Crew Prepares For TBT Title Defense


A year ago, the members of Carmen's Crew got the championship they were never able to get while playing at Ohio State. The team, primarily made up of Thad Matta era basketball Buckeyes went all the way, winning the TBT summertime basketball tournament and the $2 million dollar prize. Now, the group that features OSU greats like David Lighty, Aaron Craft, John Diebler, William Buford, DeShaun Thomas, Lenzelle Smith and others, will try to do it again. They'll debut Wednesday against "The House of 'Paign," a team mostly made up of former University of Illinois stars.

For a second straight year, Jared Sullinger will serve as Carmen's Crew's coach. Sullinger, after five years in the NBA, played overseas in China. He played for Carmen's Crew for two years before taking over the coaching role last year.

This year's TBT, because of COVID-19, looks a lot different. The field of 64 was trimmed to just 24 with all games are being held in Columbus at Nationwide Arena. There are strict health measures in place. Players on all teams are being tested daily for coronavirus and are staying in the TBT "bubble" which includes the team hotel and the arena.

Carmen's Crew has been practicing daily since their arrival. Those workouts included some long distance shooting. DeShaun Thomas showed off his skills and then was matched by well known 3-point specialist Jon Diebler.

The TBT will bring an end to the playing career of Aaron Craft. The popular former Buckeye will hang up his basketball shoes after the TBT to attend med school.

"My body still feels good and I could still play and I could play for maybe one year or even five or six," Craft said. "But if I jump off now and go to school, I have a career that I can do, by the time I'm 35 or 36, that I can do for 30 years."