MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Fans reminiscing about the success K-State basketball had earlier in this decade can get their craving somewhat satisfied in less than a month.
Members of the 2010 Elite 8 team as well as the 2013 Big 12 regular season title team are coming together once again to try and take home $2 million at ‘The Basketball Tournament.’
“It’s really special for me to play with those guys,” said Shane Southwell, 2010-2014 K-State basketball player. “You kind off think that you never would play those guys again but the beauty of this tournament, they allow alumni teams so I’m really excited about that.”
The tournament consists of 64 teams, with 60 of those teams voted in by fans, playing in a single elimination tournament, with the finals being held in Chicago, Ill.
K-State’s team, Purple and Black, made the field of 60 and will start their opening rounds in Peoria, Ill.
However, reuniting everybody is not an easy task.
Many of K-State’s former players are playing overseas, with some playing in Europe and Asia.
The team says, however, the bond they made while in Manhattan is unforgettable, and though they are thousands of miles apart, they keep a constant connection no matter what.
“We became a family here, we’re all brothers,” Southwell said. “We have a group chat that we stay in touch daily.”
Those group chats don’t just include the sport they’re playing either.
“We talk about personal stuff, real life stuff, not just basketball,” said Martavious Irving, 2009-2013 K-State basketball player. “We’re all there for each other, it’s a cool group of guys, it’s family really.”
The reunion is one thing, but playing well together is another.
Each player has gotten accustomed to their own respective teams and playing styles, but they say it shouldn’t take long for them to get back to where they were at.
“All of us are professionals now, we all got better,” Irving said. “So it’s all about getting into the gym, practicing a few times, getting acclimated back with each other and from there on, getting out there and compete.”
Purple and Black participated in this tournament last year, with many of the same players. However after getting passed the first round, many of the players had to leave for prior obligations, leaving the team with a short bench, resulting in a loss in the second round.
Jordan Henriquez, the one who put this team together, said that won’t be the case this time around.
“This time we got more of a commitment from everybody.”
The roster of the team includes:
Purple and Black will play their first round games at Bradley University on July 15th.