UMass alumni team ‘The Commonwealth’ to open TBT play July 24

By KYLE GRABOWSKI

Staff Writer

Published: 06-21-2023 6:59 PM

A longtime rivalry will welcome the UMass men’s basketball team’s alumni squad when it makes its debut in The Basketball Tournament.

The Commonwealth, a team composed of players panning the program’s past decade, will face The Rhody Way, a Rhode Island alumni team, at 9 p.m. July 24 in Syracuse.

Whoever wins will face the winner of Blue Collar U (Buffalo alumni) and Big 5 (a collection of alumni of Philadelphia schools) at 6 p.m. July 26.

The Basketball Tournament is a winner-take all single elimination summer basketball event founded in 2014. There have been 64 teams involved since 2019.

The Commonwealth’s roster includes Carl Pierre (2017-21), Luwane Pipkins (2016-19, C.J. Anderson (2014-18), Donte Clark (2014-17), Jabarie Hinds (2014-16), Maxie Esho (2011-15), Cady Lalanne (2011-15), Chaz Williams (2011-14), Freddie Riley (2009-13), Terrell Vinson (2009-13) and will be coached by Holyoke native Mike Mannix, who is the assistant athletic director and head boys basketball coach at Wilbraham Monson Academy. Patrick MacWilliams, Five College Movers owner and founder of the Massachusetts Collective NIL collective, is serving as GM.

There will also be Pioneer Valley connections to We Are D3, a collection of former Division 3 players coached by former Amherst College assistant Michael Rejniak, a Southampton native.

We Are D3 will face Mass Street, a Kansas alumni team, in the opening round at 9 p.m. July 19 in Wichita, Kansas. The program is fielding a team for the fifth event. They are 0-4 so far despite close finishes against Power 5 alumni teams.

The Nerd Team, which made waves in the Syracuse region last summer, is once again intact with some local flavor. GM Aaron Toomey, an Amherst College alum who is the head coach at the University of Hartford, has a team that once again looks to make some noise in the event. Matthew Goldsmith, another Amherst College alum who is the head coach at The College of New Jersey, is tabbed as the squad’s head coach, while the roster includes Northampton native and Amherst College standout Willy Workman.

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