Devon Moore

Former JMU guard Devon Moore handles the ball during The Founding Fathers’ loss to No. 1 seed Sideline Cancer at The Basketball Tournament in Charleston, W.Va.

The Founding Fathers are back in The Basketball Tournament, and this time it’s clear the James Madison alumni team earned some respect from last summer’s near upset of top-seeded Sideline Cancer.

The Basketball Tournament — a 64-team, $1 million winner-take-all playoff featuring mostly former college and professional players — announced its field on Wednesday. The Founding Fathers, featuring eight former Dukes plus three non-JMU alums, were selected as the No. 5 seed in the Charleston, W.Va., regional.

“We felt good about the performance we had last year, so we hoped that we’d be invited back and we had been in contact with TBT, but today it was nice for it to be official again,” Founding Fathers coach Kevin Albright, a former JMU video coordinator, said.

Getting a head start on a new Sun Belt Conference rivalry, the JMU squad will open The Tournament against No. 4 seed Herd That, a Marshall alumni group.

The Founding Fathers return several notable former JMU standouts including Devon Moore, Andre Nation, Ron Curry, Joe Posey and Stuckey Mosley, as well as recently promoted Duke Club head Scooter Renkin.

Kamiah Smalls, a former CAA Player of the Year for the JMU women who recently finished a stint with the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx, is also on the roster along with A.J. Davis, a hero of the Dukes’ 2013 NCAA Tournament run.

Davis gained national attention during last year’s TBT when he opened the game on the floor in a wheelchair following an accident in which he was hit by a car while attempting to aid a homeless person along the highway. Davis lost both legs in the accident and was hospitalized in a coma for a time.

The Founding Fathers will also feature former South Carolina forward Desmond Ringer, ex-Morehead State guard Cody Ballard and Huntingdon’s Brandon McLean.

The JMU group spent years trying to get back into The Basketball Tournament field, and finally were selected last summer as the No. 16 seed in the Charleston Regional. The Founding Fathers made an impression, taking 2020 runner ups Sideline Cancer down to the wire before falling 80-77.

“It’s nice this year to have some familiarity with the roster and this year we are doing a training camp,” Albright said. “We’re super, super excited about that to have a few days on the court together. Hopefully that will help us make a run and rally off some wins.”

But even with a higher seed this time around, the Fathers won’t have it easy. Herd That has won at least one game in The Basketball Tournament each year since 2018 and if the JMU squad manages to win that one, it will likely face top-seeded Best Virginia, a West Virginia University alumni team, in the second round with both Herd That and Best Virginia sure to have large crowds of supporters in Charleston.

The Basketball Tournament opens July 16 in Omaha with the Charleston regional opening July 24.

Contact Shane Mettlen at 540-574-6244 or smettlen@dnronline.com. Follow Shane on Twitter: @Shane_DNRSports

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