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Former University of Kentucky basketball stars Hawkins, Willis part of TBT Bluegrass Boys Squad

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Kentucky will be well-represented in The Basketball Tournament next month.

Former Kentucky players Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, Josh Harrellson, Marcus Lee, Ramon Harris, Kevin Galloway and AJ Stewart will form the Bluegrass Boys organized by former Kentucky player Mark Krebs and will be coached by Wayne Turner. The Bluegrass Boys will compete with seven more teams at Frederick Douglass High School July 19-21.

Dominique Hawkins will play in The Basketball Tournament next month and part of the Bluegrass Boys. (Keith Taylor/Kentucky Today)

The event divides 63 teams into eight regions for the first three rounds in a single-elimination format. The winner of each regional will advance to championship week in Chicago Aug. 1-6, with the winner taking home $2 million.

The Bluegrass Boys are the No. 2 seed in the tournament that will be broadcast on ESPN’s networks. 

“Playing in front of the Big Blue Nation is one of the greatest feelings a player can experience,” Turner said. “The Lexington Regional has a strong field, but with this team and these fans, I like our chances.”

The top seed in the Lexington region will be Team Loyalty is Love and the general manager is DeMarcus Cousins. Former Kentucky player Daniel Orton is on the squad, which also includes Pierre Jackson, Quincy Miller and Isiah Austin, all of whom played at Baylor.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to Lexington this summer to support my TBT squad, Team Loyalty is Love, as we look to bring home the championship,” Cousins said. “Kentucky fans have been so great to my family and I, and it’s always special coming back. TBT is the premier basketball event in the summertime, and I’m excited to be a part of it for the first time this year.”

The Kentucky Basketball Commission team is coached by Shelvin Mack and will include former Mr. Basketball and Tennessee standout Chris Lofton, recent Eastern Kentucky graduate Nick Mayo and former Western Kentucky standout AJ Slaughter.

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The Field: The Lexington Regional is rounded out by No. 3 Fort Wayne Champs, No. 5 Peoria All-Stars, No. 6 Showtime, No. 7 D2 and No. 8 Hoopville Warriors. In total, 64 players with NBA experience will be competing at TBT. Bluegrass Boys are one of 23 teams composed of alumni from the same college, while Team Loyalty is Love, KBC and D2 are three of 21 squads making their TBT debut. Puma will serve as the official partner of TBT once again.
Tickets: Lexington Regional tickets may be purchased immediately at TheTournament.com with options for both daily and weekend passes.


Game 1, Round 1: No. 4 KBC vs. No. 5 Peoria All-Stars (Friday, July 19 at 3 p.m.)
Game 2, Round 1: No. 1 Team Loyalty is Love vs. No. 8 Hoopville Warriors 
(Friday, July 19 at 5 p.m.)
Game 3, Round 1: No. 3 Fort Wayne Champs vs. No. 6 Showtime (Friday, July 19 at 7 p.m.)
Game 4, Round 1: No. 2 Bluegrass Boys vs. No. 7 D2 (Friday, July 19 at 9 p.m.)
Game 5, Round 2: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner (Saturday, July 20 at 4 p.m.)
Game 6, Round 2: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 winner (Saturday, July 20 at 6 p.m.)
Game 7, Round 3: Game 5 winner vs. Game 6 winner (Sunday, July 21 at 2 p.m.)

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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