They may have a new name, but Carmen’s Crew is ready to do everything they can to come away with $2 million if they win The Basketball Tournament this summer. The past two years, the team — which is mainly filled with former Ohio State Buckeyes — has used “Scarlet and Gray” as their team name. Due to licensing reasons with Ohio State, the university made the team change their name prior to this year’s tournament.
Carmen’s Crew will have a similar roster to the last two years that they have participated (and eventually came up just short) in TBT, but they will be without some key players as well. Former Buckeyes Aaron Craft, Jon Diebler, William Buford, David Lighty, and Evan Ravenel will once again suit up, while Jeff Courtney Pigram and Leon Rodgers will once again play for Carmen’s Crew, much like the last two years. Former Buckeye LaQuinton Ross will make his debut for the team, while Jeff Gibbs and former Illinois guard Demetri McCamey have also been added to the roster.
Unlike the last two years, former Ohio State big men Dallas Lauderdale and Jared Sullinger will not be suiting up and playing this year, which is quite a big loss in the post. It’s not an injury that is keeping Sully away. His wife is pregnant and the couple is expecting twins in September. Sullinger decided to put his wife first rather than play. He will instead help coach the team.
“Things happen,” Sullinger said on Thursday when the team’s practice was open to media members. “We had a lot of mishaps. I was going to miss this year due to being in a lot of weddings this summer. So I will be coaching tomorrow, Saturday I’ll be missing, Dallas (Lauderdale) will take over, and then Sunday, hopefully, we win those two games, and then Sunday I’ll be right back.”
With that said, it’s going to be weird for Sully to not be suiting up and playing with his guys, but rather coaching and leading them.
“It’s going to be hard,” he said. “But at the same time, I’m looking forward to the new challenge. You’ve got to expand someway, somehow and sometimes getting better is not playing, it’s watching. Right now, I get to sit on the sidelines and watch these guys do what they do.”
Originally on the roster that the team debuted last month, former Buckeyes DeShaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith Jr. were expected to make their debut for the Ohio State alumni squad this year but those plans have now changed. Thomas told WFNY that he will not play in this year’s tournament due to other obligations, including the fact that he’s getting married next weekend.
Greg Oden and B.J. Mullens — who played for the Ohio State alumni team in previous years — will also not be suiting up this year. Given the fact that they are essential without four post players that they have had the previous two years, look for the team with the new name to also have a new game. Carmen’s Crew will likely be a much more perimeter-oriented team in this tournament rather than working from the post and going outward.
Carmen’s Crew won’t be the only team with former Ohio State players that is taking part in the tournament. Big X — who is also in the Columbus region — has former Buckeyes Jae’Sean Tate, CJ Jackson, and Keyshawn Woods, while former Ohio State and Michigan point guard Andrew Dakich will coach that team. If both Carmen’s Crew and Big X win Friday night, the two will meet Saturday afternoon in the regional semifinal.
The No. 1 seed in the Columbus Region (held at Capital University), Carmen’s Crew opens play Friday night at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.