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Former Syracuse basketball stars form Boeheim's Army for national tournament

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SYRACUSE (WBNG) -- Since its inception in the summer of 2014, The Basketball Tournament, known as TBT, has provided hoops-hungry fans the opportunity to watch some of the top players in the world compete in a 5-on-5, single elimination basketball tournament. One team competing in the tournament is Boeheim's Army, a squad made up entirely of former Syracuse Orange players. 

"The Basketball Tournament is basically like March Madness on steroids," said Boeheim's Army General Manager Kevin Belbey. "The format is very similar where you have four regions, 64 teams, and you need six wins to win it all."

Syracuse is the three-seed in the Northeast Region of The Basketball Tournament, and the goal this year is to win all six games.

"There's a lot of talent in the tournament," said former Syracuse guard Trevor Cooney. "But, I mean I think we stack up with any team out there. So hopefully we can play well out there and win."

After last year's Super 16 exit, the team is relying on more preparation and that Syracuse hoops culture.

"The first word that we say when we come to Syracuse is 'family,'" said former Syracuse guard Eric Devendorf. "You know everybody is together. Everybody is family."

A family, this time around, that includes several familiar names, like Eric Devendorf, Donte Green, C.J. Fair, Trevor Cooney, Brandon Triche, and even John Gillon.

"We're all like a fraternity of brotherhood," said former Syracuse forward Ryan Blackwell. "Myself, I'm 40 years old. The youngest guy, John Gillon, maybe 23. For us to get together. That's very unique and fun."

For the next four weeks, Cuse Nation has a chance to watch some former Orange greats take the court on a national stage.

"Cuse fans, they're going to have your back forever and that's something that I cherish," said former Syracuse forward C.J. Fair. 

With the tournament being broadcasted across the ESPN family of networks, players are hungry to win.

"You lose, you go home, and nobody wants to go home," said former Syracuse forward Donte Green. "So at the end of the day, you know everybody is going to come out there and give it their all."

Why else is this summer tournament so competitive?

"I know for a lot of people in the summers when they come home, there's not much to do," said former Syracuse guard Brandon Triche. "They just train. So it's good just to get real competitive basketball in."

"At the end of the day, one team is happy and 63 teams aren't," said Belbey. "But in this tournament, the one team that's happy is happy because they won, but also because the prize money is $2 million dollars."

Boeheim's Army's first round game is in Philadelphia this Saturday against 14-seed DuBois Dream at 6 p.m. on ESPN 3. According to GM Kevin Belbey, if the team wins the tournament, they will pledge $50,000 dollars to the Jim and Julie Boeheim Foundation. 

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