Former Hoosiers open up TBT play Saturday #iubb

A share of $2 million is just six wins away for a trio of former Hoosiers.

Jordan Hulls, Will Sheehey and Christian Watford are joining forces for the second straight year as members of Armored Athlete, one of 64 teams to enter The Basketball Tournament, a winner-takes-all prize money event featuring former college stars and current professional players of all levels. Another former Hoosier, Cody Zeller, is the team booster.

“It’s a chance to meet new players, new guys to connect with,” Hulls told The Herald-Times last week. “It’s always good to network whenever you can, so we do that. It’s also great, because it’s good basketball. There are some good runs for us and, ultimately, if you win you get a whole bunch of money. So that’s a pretty good incentive for everybody to play hard.”

Armored Athlete made a run at last year’s $1 million prize, reaching the Midwest Regional final before falling to an Ants Alumni squad that included another former Hoosier in Rod Wilmont.

A rematch could be in the offing this weekend, as seventh-seeded Armored Athlete and the second-seeded Ants would meet on Sunday if both win Saturday’s tournament openers in Chicago. Wilmont is not participating this year, however.

The Armored squad has bolstered its ranks with a pair of familiar names to basketball fans in the state of Indiana. Former Purdue guard Jon Octeus and recent Butler grad Roosevelt Jones are on the roster. This will also be the first game action for Watford since surgery on his Achilles tendon early this year, while Sheehey is coming off his first season in France playing for SO Maritime Boulogne. He averaged 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as Boulogne went 17-18, finishing 12th in the 18-team French Pro B league.

The first test for this year’s Armored Athlete comes at 10:45 a.m. Saturday against Midwest Dream Squad. All games will be streamed live via the Whistle Sports Facebook page.

“The guys who put (the team) together, A.J. (Mahar) and coach Dan (Engelstad), they do a great job of getting us prepared and setting everything up,” Hulls said. “We really just show up and practice a little bit, then play. It’s a good time. The Basketball Tournament does a good job of making it very professional. You walk in and you have credentials, you have collegiate referees and everything’s really nice. It’s pretty cool to do every summer and something I look forward to.”