Three locals playing in this year’s The Basketball Tournament

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The Basketball Tournament (TBT), a single-elimination competition with 24 teams playing for $1-million in winner-take-all prize money, starts Saturday in Columbus, Ohio. 

The 11-day tournament will have the national spotlight as the first televised basketball event since the NBA and NCAA suspended their seasons in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s event also will give fans their first glimpse of spectator-free games played in quarantined conditions. TBT’s “bubble” for the event includes a hotel, an arena and a convention center, all within a few blocks.

Players were tested three days prior to traveling to Columbus and again upon their arrival. More tests are being conducted throughout the tournament. Teams are eliminated if any player tests positive. Three teams already had to be replaced with alternates.

There are a trio of former area standouts playing in this year’s tournament, starting Saturday. Here is the list. 

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G Thomas Dziagwa

High school: Tampa Catholic

College: Oklahoma State

TBT team: Stillwater Stars

First game: vs. Brotherly Love, Saturday, 5 p.m. (ESPN)

G Justin Gray

High school: Berkeley Prep

College: Texas Tech

TBT team: War Eagle

First game: vs. House of Paign, Saturday, 8 p.m. (ESPN) 

Liberty Men’s Basketball hosts Lipscomb for the 2020 ASUN Championship Final in the Vines Center on March 8, 2020. (Photo by Ross Kohl)

F Scottie James

High school: Tarpon Springs

College: Liberty

TBT team: War Eagle

First game: vs. House of Paign, Saturday, 8 p.m. (ESPN)