AfterShocks prepare for 2021 TBT following bracket reveal


Kaylee Stout / The Sunflower

Wichita State alumni Ron Baker and Zach Bush meet with the media following the release of the TBT bracket inside the Charles Koch Arena media room on June 22.

The Basketball Tournament, a $1 million winner-take-all basketball tournament which features an array of alumni basketball teams, released its 2021 tournament bracket Monday morning.

Wichita will be a regional host site for the second time. The AfterShocks first game will be against the Ex-Pats, a team made up of graduates from the Patriot League. A win in its first game means a potential match-up with Purple and Black, the University of Kansas alumni team or Omaha Blue Crew, the Creighton University alumni team. 

“As far as matchups go, we’re excited,” general manager Ron Baker said. “We don’t know a whole lot about the Ex-Pats but we do see the Creighton and K-State right above us so that’s exciting I think for the tournament itself especially because Wichita is centrally located and will hopefully draw some fans to those games in general.”

During Wichita’s debut as a host site in 2019, Charles Koch Arena shattered the previous TBT attendance records. Now, after more than a year of waiting, Wichita will have the chance to full up the arena at full capacity.

“It’s huge,” AfterShocks head coach Zach Bush said. “I think that’s something that was really exciting to us when trying to put this back together, to come back to Wichita is ‘hey, you guys haven’t been able to be back in this arena at full capacity for over almost a year now’. So this is a cool thing for the fans and the players.”

Baker, who was named the General Manager of the AfterShocks in May, said that through the success of 2019, it will make it easier to recruit players for the team in future. 

Baker also said that this tournament can also pay dividends for the WSU basketball program and head coach Isaac Brown in recruiting. 

“It’s huge for the current players when you can put a successful roster that we feel like we’ve done over the past couple months and show that as a player you can come here and be successful, go be a pro and can come back to an event like the TBT’s going to produce here and play in front of your fans again,” Baker said. 

“This is going to show current recruits and players that just got here last week, ‘wow, the culture here and environment that Isaac Brown and even Coach Marshall created here at Wichita State is special.’ This is huge for not only ex-players to come back but this is huge for Coach Brown.”

Bush said that this tournament can be valuable for Brown and the Shocker program is bridging the gap between current and former players. 

“We really value that brotherhood and want that legacy to continue. It means a lot when you’re a part of that family, we want that thing to be legacy is forever, you’re always welcome here,” he said. 

“We want guys that are here now to know the former players. It shouldn’t be this thing where there’s this bridge because you didn’t play with them, you don’t know them, you don’t have access to pick their brain.”

Both Baker and Bush are hopeful for the TBT to turn into a reunion for years to come. They have already sent over 300 invitations to former players while also making the Champion’s Club available to Shocker alumni during the games. 

“You never want to make any promises of who will be here, but I think fans will be excited with who we think will be in attendance playing or not playing.”

The AfterShocks’ first round matchup with the Ex-Pats will take place on Friday, July 16 at 8 pm CT. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.