— Four former Georgia Bulldogs – Kenny Gaines, Albert Jackson, Travis Leslie and Charles Mann – will participate in the 2019 edition of “The Basketball Tournament,” which tips off on Friday. Known more commonly as simply the “TBT,” a 64-team bracket is competing for $2-million in winner-take-all prize money.
Interestingly, three of those Bulldogs will face off in one of the opening games of the tournament’s Lexington Regional. On Friday at 3:00 p.m. ET, Leslie and the “Ft. Wayne Champs” will face “Showtime,” the team for which Jackson and Mann are playing. That contest is set to be streamed on ESPN3.
Leslie was an All-SEC performer for the Bulldogs in 2011 and scored 1,099 points in three seasons with the Bulldogs before declaring for the NBA Draft. He was drafted by the L.A. Clippers in the second round of the 2011 Draft and has played primarily in France during his professional career. Last season, Leslie averaged 12.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game for Boulazac.
Jackson was a four-year letter winner from 2006-10 who moved into the Bulldogs’ starting five late during the 2008 campaign. Jackson had a pair of double-digit outings in Georgia’s improbable run to the 2008 SEC Tournament title when the Dogs won four games in four days – including two in one day – to secure an NCAA Tournament bid.
Mann was a SEC All-Freshman selection in 2013 and an All-SEC performer in 2014. He started 106 games for the Bulldogs, including 98 of 100 games during his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He has since played professionally in Europe, Canada and the G-League. Mann ranks No. 15 among Georgia’s career scoring leaders with 1,411 points. Much of those came at the free throw line, where he is the Bulldogs’ all-time leader in attempts (896) and makes (618). In fact, he ranks second to only Pete Maravich in SEC history in trips to the free throw line.
Gaines will play for “Jimmy V,” competing in the Syracuse Regional beginning next Friday. They will face “Brotherly Love” on July 26 at 1:00 p.m. The “Jimmy V” team is competing in an effort to raise proceeds for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
Gaines also was named All-SEC in 2014, and he ranks No. 21 on the Bulldogs’ career scoring leaders ledger with 1,324 points. Among Georgia’s career statistical leaders, Gaines also ranks No. 4 in 3-pointers (213), No. 5 in 3-point attempts (569) and No. 7 in 3-point percentage (.374). Since graduating from UGA, Gaines has played professionally in France and Lithuania. He recently signed to play in Italy during the 2019-20 season.
"We are honored to work with the V Foundation in this year’s TBT,” said Alex Neumann, the team’s general manager. “To be able to play for such an incredible organization that does the kind of work for cancer research that they do is a special opportunity for us. We’ve seen teams participate in TBT in past years for great causes, and it’s an inspiration to see the way people can rally around them. We’re hoping to garner that kind of support playing for Jimmy V this year. We are excited about the roster that we have constructed and can’t wait to start turning some heads in July and for years to come."
About The Basketball Tournament
TBT is a 64-team, single elimination summer tournament airing on ESPN where the winning team takes home $2 million. TBT’s 2019 format divides a 64-team field into eight regions for Rounds 1-3, with each region seeded 1-8. The last team standing will claim a winner-take-all prize of $2 million and the champion of each regional will receive a cash prize equal to 25% of the ticket sales of that particular region.