Arizona Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Nick Johnson, Ryan Luther Competing in The Basketball Tournament


Former Arizona players Nick Johnson and Ryan Luther are expected to be on ESPN soon playing in The Basketball Tournament (TBT).

It is the same event that brought former Arizona player Kyle Fogg some notoriety (and money) in 2017 and 2018 when he played with Overseas Elite.

TBT is still on schedule to be played at Columbus, Ohio, from July 4-14 on ESPN with 24 teams competing in a single-elimination format for the championship prize of $1 million.

Nick Johnson

TBT is labeling itself “A fully quarantined tournament” in regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In past years, TBT was played in nine different cities but this year it will be held only at the Nationwide Arena at Columbus with players and staff living in quarantine, complete with testing. No spectators are allowed.

“All participants will adhere to strict health and safety guidelines,” the TBT Web site states.

Johnson, the 2014 Pac-12 Player of the Year, will play with the Money Team, a team that is sponsored by boxer Floyd Mayweather. Former Gonzaga standout Kyle Wiltjer is on the team. Johnson and Wiltjer were teammates last season on Turk Telekom in Turkey.

Ryan Luther

Former Washington guard Tony Wroten and UCLA guard Bryce Alford are also teammates of Johnson.

Luther, who played with Arizona in the 2018-19 season as a graduate transfer from Pitt, will play with Herd That, a team comprised mostly of former Marshall players. Luther plays professionally in the Latvia-Estonia league overseas.

If Johnson or Luther win the championship their winning share is $150,000.

The TBT will include the “Elam Ending.” Former Ball State professor Nick Elam came up with the idea to shut the game clock off halfway through the fourth quarter and set a target score for the winner to prevent an abundance of fouls at the end of the game to stop the clock.

Luther will play at 11 a.m. on July 5 with Herd That against Playing for Jimmy V on ESPN. The winner of that game plays Johnson and Money Team is at 11 a.m. on July 9, also on ESPN.

Former Arizona player Chase Jeter attempted to play in TBT but his team (Team 23) was not accepted. Teams have to apply and have enough sponsor support to be accepted.


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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon.

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