The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, June 30, 2020 1:00 am

Local club drops out of tourney

2 players test positive for COVID; 1 injured

JUSTIN A. COHN | The Journal Gazette

The Fort Wayne Champs have withdrawn as an alternate for The Basketball Tournament, a 24-team event starting Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.

The team, which has multiple former Mad Ants, announced two players had tested positive for COVID-19 and one was injured.

Stephan Hicks will now compete for Armored Athlete in the $1 million, winner-take-all event.

The Champs, managed by Fort Wayne's Garrett Martz, also had ex-Mad Ants Ben Moore, Trey McKinney Jones, Travis Leslie and Sadiel Rojas.

The Champs had been in the field every year since 2015, when they made the semifinals of a 64-team tournament. They were an alternate in 2018 and eventually made the Super 16.

The tournament was pared down this year because of the coronavirus, and the Champs became a bubble team after others had to withdraw, including a West Virginia alumni team with Daxter Miles Jr.

There are still Fort Wayne ties in the tournament.

Men of Mackey, a Purdue alumni team, has Fort Wayne native Rapheal Davis and is managed by Fort Wayne's Ryan Kay. Deshaun Thomas of Fort Wayne is with defending-champion Carmen's Crew, an Ohio State alumni team.

Eberlein Drive is managed by Fort Wayne native Matt Mitchell. And JaKeenan Gant, who played last season for the Mad Ants, is with Power of the Paw, a Clemson alumni team.

ESPN networks will televise the tournament, which runs until July 14. Players began entering a quarantine bubble Sunday.

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