Photo courtesy of Duke Photography
DURHAM, N.C. — National Champion Duke, national runner-up Wisconsin, and NCAA Tournament participants Georgetown and VCU will compete in the Championship Rounds of the 21st annual 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project at Madison Square Garden this coming November. Tickets for championship round games of the 2K Classic are on sale now and may be purchased by calling Ticketmaster at 866-448-7849 or through Ticketmaster.com.
Duke, Wisconsin, Georgetown, and VCU combined for a 119-29 record this season and 104 NCAA Tournament appearances, including 25 Final Fours, overall. Each of these four teams will host a pair of regional round games in addition to playing in the World’s Most Famous Arena in the Championship Rounds on Nov. 20 and 22.
The four Regional Round hosts will be joined in the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project by Bryant, Prairie View, Radford, and Siena. These four teams will play two Regional Round games in addition to playing at Bryant in a pair of Subregional Round doubleheaders on Nov. 20 and 21. National Champion Duke Blue Devils – Head Coach: Mike Krzyzewski (Atlantic Coast Conference) Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski, the winningest coach in college basketball history with 1,018 wins, led the Blue Devils to their fifth National Championship and a 35-4 record this past season…Duke has a roster boasting only one senior and could return six letterwinners next year…the Blue Devils currently have four McDonald’s All-Americans on their roster and will welcome two more (Luke Kennard and Chase Jeter) to next year’s squad…Duke will be making its third appearance in the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project (1999 and 2008), winning the 2008 title. National Runner-Up Wisconsin Badgers– Head Coach: Bo Ryan (Big Ten Conference) Head coach Bo Ryan is Wisconsin’s all-time leader in wins, amassing 357 victories in just 14 seasons…the Badgers claimed the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles with a 16-2 league mark to go along with a 36-4 overall record in advancing to the Final Four for the second straight year and the Championship Game for the first time since 1941…11 players, including two starters, are expected to return in 2015-16, led by junior forward Nigel Hayes (12.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and junior guard Bronson Koenig (8.7 ppg, 98 assists)…Wisconsin will be making its first 2K Classic appearance.
Georgetown Hoyas – Head Coach: John Thompson III (Big East Conference) The Hoyas went 22-11 under the direction of head coach John Thompson III, who, in 11 seasons at Georgetown, has won 249 games…the Hoyas feature a roster with 10 players expected to return next season, including a trio of starters…junior guard D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera led Georgetown with a 16.3 ppg average as well as with 101 assists in earning first-team All-Big East honors…freshman forward Isaac Copeland averaged 6.8 ppg and 3.8 rpg…this will be Georgetown’s first 2K Classic appearance since 1998.
VCU Rams – Head Coach: Will Wade (Atlantic 10 Conference) VCU will be under the direction of new head coach Will Wade in 2015-16, who returns to VCU after two successful seasons at Chattanooga…the Rams, 26-10 this past season, boast a roster featuring 10 players who are expected to return, including three starters…among those expected to return are junior guard Melvin Johnson (12.4 ppg, 60 assists) as well as sophomore forward Mo Alie-Cox (7.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg)…this is the Rams’ first ever 2K Classic appearance.
Bryant Bulldogs – Head Coach: Tim O’Shea (Northeast Conference) The Bulldogs posted a 16-15 record in advancing to the semifinals of the Northeast Conference tournament…head coach Tim O’Shea will enter his eighth season at Bryant, having taken over when the school made the jump to Division I…three starters return, led by second-team All-Northeast Conference pick Dan Garvin, who was second on the Bulldogs in scoring (10.9 ppg) and first in rebounding (7.9 rpg)…senior guard Shane McLaughlin led Bryant with a 4.8 assist per game average while netting 7.5 ppg.
Prairie View A&M Panthers – Head Coach: Byron Rimm II (Southwestern Athletic Conference) Head coach Byron Rimm II is in rebuilding mode at Prairie View where he looks to replace four starters from a squad that posted a 15-18 mark a year ago and reached the semifinals of the SWAC tournament…senior guard Jacoby Green played in all 33 games last season, starting 10, and posting an average of 3.7 ppg…junior guard Jayrn Johnson also played in all 33 games and netted 4.4 ppg…the Panthers last appeared in the 2K Classic in 2008.
Radford Highlanders – Head Coach: Mike Jones (Big South Conference) The Highlanders recorded a 22-12 ledger in advancing to the quarterfinals of the CBI for the second straight season…the 22 wins also marked the second-straight 20-win season for Radford, which won 20 games in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1998…head coach Mike Jones will enter his fifth season at Radford and has turned around the Highlanders, winning 19 games in his first two seasons and 44 in his last two…two senior starters return: guard YaYa Anderson (9.3 ppg, 50 assists) and center Brandon Holcomb (6.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg).
Siena Saints – Head Coach: Jimmy Patsos (Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) Siena returns three starters from a year ago, one of which appeared in only six games…senior forward Brett Bisping, the MVP of the 2014 CBI, had surgery on his toe in December and missed the reminder of the season…junior point guard Marquis Wright (12.5 ppg) is the Saints’ leading returning scorer while junior swingman Lavon Long posted 10.4 ppg and a team-high 4.9 rpg…head coach Jimmy Patsos is in his third year at Siena.
Matchups for the Championship Rounds, Regional Rounds, and Subregional Round will be announced at a later date. Wounded Warrior Project is the beneficiary of the 2K Classic. The mission of Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is to honor and empower wounded warriors. WWP’s purpose is to raise awareness and to enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members, to help injured servicemen and women aid and assist each other, and to provide unique, direct programs and services to meet their needs. WWP is a national, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla.
The 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project is produced by the Gazelle Group of Princeton, N.J. The Gazelle Group is a sports marketing firm, specializing in event production and management, client representation, and sponsorship consulting. Gazelle produces numerous nationally-recognized events, such as the Legends Classic, the Gotham Classic, the College Basketball Invitational, and the All-American Championship. For more information on the Gazelle Group, please visit gazellegroup.com.
The Northeast Conference (NEC) is the sponsoring conference of the 2K Classic benefiting Wounded Warrior Project. Now in its 34th season, the NEC is a NCAA Division I collegiate athletic association consisting of 10 institutions of higher learning located throughout six states. For more information on the NEC, visit the official website at www.northeastconference.org or follow on Twitter @NECsports.