LEXINGTON, KY (WTVQ)- The Basketball Tournament is returning in 2020. Because of the pandemic, this year the tournament will have 24 teams and 23 games in 10 days.
The TBT will at feature at least one team with local ties, former Georgetown College guard Eljay Cowherd, who’s playing in it for the first time.
“The chance at $2 million is like…people go hard for free. Every day people go hard for free. What would you do? What level would you go to for $2 million,” said Cowherd.
Eljay Cowherd has already been a part of one championship team. He would have had a chance with Georgetown College to make it back-to-back, had it not been for the pandemic. Now, after seeing the TBT in person last year, he’s excited for the chance to play in it.
“Just getting to be a part of that environment, I loved it then,” said Cowherd. “I told myself, ‘You know what? I’m playing next year. I don’t care what i’ve got to do. I’m playing next year.’ To finally get that opportunity,I won’t say relief, but it’s exciting.”
Cowherd will play with the Peoria All-stars. He and his team will meet in mid-June tested for the virus and then travel to the TBT location, which will act as a bubble for everyone in the event.
“We would stay quarantined. If you leave, you cannot play. If you catch the coronavirus, you cannot play,” said Cowherd.
Despite the restrictions in place for gyms for most people, Eljay has found a way to stay in basketball shape, not only for the TBT, but also his professional career.
“I’ve been going hard man. Just putting myself around guys that know the game, your Chris Loftons. Guys like that,” said Cowherd
The hard work could lead to better opportunities, if Eljay plays well in the tournament.
“The exposure, this is going to going to be the first basketball game you see on ESPN,” said Cowherd. “People are chomping at the bit to watch sports. The amount of eyes that will be on you to help your professional career and make connections will be limitless.”
The field and team rosters haven’t been announced yet, but Cowherd is confident his team can bring home that $2 million prize.
“With them changing the tournament the way that they have, in just a 24-team setting,” said Cowherd. “I think we have a way, way better chance of winning this thing.”