The top 25 remaining players in the 2019 TBT

Between a wild Cinderella story from the No. 8-seeded Jackson TN UnderDawgs and Overseas Elite keeping its pursuit of perfection alive, the sixth iteration of The Basketball Tournament is living up to the hype.

This is just the beginning, though, as the tournament's quarterfinal round begins Thursday (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), with eight teams looking to complete their quest over the next week at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago for the $2 million winner-take-all prize.

As we reshuffle the deck, we take a look at the top 25 players who could have the biggest impact on this tournament. Our rankings are not based solely on past collegiate or pro achievements -- they are a cumulative look at the player's history in TBT, how they are performing this summer, and what they have accomplished recently, either in the NBA or overseas:

Top 25 players|Game schedule and broadcast info

1. D.J. Kennedy, Overseas Elite

College: St. John's, 2007-11

NBA experience (regular season): Cleveland Cavaliers, 2011-12

No one has produced a better TBT career than the ex-Red Storm forward Kennedy. The superstar is not only a former event MVP but has responded to every challenge that comes with being the best player on the best team in TBT history. This summer, Kennedy is averaging 18 points, 10.5 rebounds and 4 assists per game while posting a strong defensive rating of 8.

2. Dwight Buycks, Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni)

College: Marquette, 2009-11

NBA experience (regular season):Toronto Raptors, 2013-14; Los Angeles Lakers, 2014-15; Detroit Pistons, 2017-18

Buycks may not have as much historical TBT success as Kennedy, but the ex-Marquette guard can fill it up in a hurry. He leads remaining players in the event in scoring (29.5 PPG) despite averaging just 28.8 minutes. Beyond his success this summer, the 30-year-old played with three NBA teams and had the most successful stint of his professional career in France, where he captured the French Leaders Cup and a French Pro A Foreign MVP.

3. Jaylen Barford, Jackson TN UnderDawgs

College: Arkansas, 2016-18

NBA experience (regular season): None

Barford is best described as a scoring machine. The former Arkansas guard is averaging 25.7 points, second in TBT for players still participating, while grabbing 6.7 rebounds and dishing out 5.7 assists per game. He has guided the eighth-seeded Jackson TN UnderDawgs on a remarkable, unexpected run to the quarters, dropping 35 in the second round before adding 29 in a round-of-16 victory over Louisiana United.

4. Jerome Randle, Eberlein Drive

College: California, 2006-10

NBA experience (regular season): None

Cal's all-time leading scorer continues to be a clutch standout at TBT, as he leads Eberlein Drive in points (20.7 PPG) and assists (3.3 APG). Randle hit game-winning shots in the first two rounds, a wild 3 with a hand in his face to defeat Team Utah and a smooth layup to top the L.A. Cheaters. That offensive punch and fearless mentality has extended to the professional ranks, where he has won an NBL MVP in 2017 and a championship in Lithuania.

5. Mike James, Team Hines

College: Lamar, 2010-12

NBA experience (regular season): Phoenix Suns, 2017-18; New Orleans Pelicans, 2017-18

The former NBA player has taken his game to the next level this summer, averaging 21.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game. While Nick Calathes (whose TBT is over, as he is en route to Greece for national team duty) has been the team's top playmaker and Kyle Hines is crashing the glass consistently, James seems to be nearly unstoppable. A former Southland tournament MVP and the first two-way player in NBA history to sign a standard contract, there is no way to argue against James' talent and overall credentials.

6. Jamil Wilson, Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni)

College: Oregon, 2009-10; Marquette 2011-14

NBA experience (regular season): LA Clippers, 2017-18

While Wilson has played only one game with the Golden Eagles so far this summer, his impact in the Super 16 was everything Marquette fans expected. The forward scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds while providing a secondary option for Buycks. Wilson's recent NBA success separates him from others on this list -- he started 10 games with the 2017-18 Clippers, averaging 7 points per game in successfully helping to replace an injured Blake Griffin.

7. Jeremy Pargo, Overseas Elite

College: Gonzaga, 2005-09

NBA experience (regular season): Memphis Grizzlies, 2011-12; Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers, 2012-13

Kennedy is Overseas Elite's best player, but Pargo isn't far behind. The guard is averaging 16.5 points, 6.5 assists and 5 rebounds per game while contributing with solid defense. In addition to his NBA experience, the 33-year-old won four Israeli League championships, was an All-EuroLeague second-team member and captured the Israeli League MVP in 2010.

8. Pierre Jackson, Loyalty Is Love

College: Baylor, 2011-13

NBA experience (regular season): Dallas Mavericks, 2016-17

While Darius Johnson-Odom's scoring prowess has emerged as a critical piece for Loyalty Is Love, Jackson's all-around abilities cannot be overlooked. The former Baylor guard is third on the team in scoring (16 PPG), first in assists (7.5 APG) and second in rebounding (7.5 RPG). His 26 points in the first round helped DeMarcus Cousins' squad hit the 107-point mark in a nine-point victory over Hoopville.

9. Darius Johnson-Odom, Loyalty Is Love

College: Marquette, 2009-12

NBA experience (regular season): Los Angeles Lakers, 2012-13; Philadelphia 76ers, 2013-14

Johnson-Odom has been a pleasant surprise this summer, as the ex-Marquette guard has emerged into Loyalty Is Love's top scorer by averaging nearly 21 points a game. The lefty was unable to stick at the NBA level but has been a star in the G League, averaging 22.5 points per game for the Iowa Wolves in 2018-19.

10. William Buford, Carmen's Crew (Ohio State alumni)

College: Ohio State, 2008-12

NBA experience (regular season): None

Aaron Craft's defensive work and all-around leadership make him the most indispensable player on Carmen's Crew, but it's Buford's scoring that has taken the Ohio State alumni's team to the next level. Buford is averaging 21 points, including dropping 23 in the squad's 14-point Super 16 win over Red Scare (Dayton alumni) and 24 in a second-round victory. The guard was a two-time second-team All-Big Ten honoree with the Buckeyes before transitioning to the D League and eventually a career overseas.

11. Isaiah Austin, Loyalty Is Love

College: Baylor, 2012-14

NBA experience (regular season): None

The former Baylor center is playing his first stint of competitive basketball in the United States since being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome in 2014. Austin has picked up right where he left off with the Bears, as he's averaging 18 points and 2 blocks per game. The 7-foot-1 center has formed a dangerous big three for Loyalty Is Love alongside Jackson and Johnson-Odom.

12. Justin Burrell, Overseas Elite

College: St. John's, 2007-11

NBA experience (regular season): None

The No. 1 overall seed must have three players in the top 15, right? Burrell certainly deserves this honor, as the former St. John's big man is averaging a double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) while serving as one of Overseas Elite's top rim protectors. The 6-foot-10 forward has been a force overseas, too, averaging double figures in points with four teams over the course of five seasons abroad.

13. Donald Sloan, Eberlein Drive

College: Texas A&M, 2006-10

NBA experience (regular season): Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Hornets, Cleveland Cavaliers, 2011-12; Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Hornets, 2012-13; Indiana Pacers, 2013-15; Brooklyn Nets, 2015-16

The former NBA journeyman shot a combined 9-of-35 from the field in his past two games, but he put up 20 points in an opening-round victory over Team Utah and has contributed in more ways than one. Sloan is averaging 15.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game and has developed into the No. 2 option for the No. 1 seed in the Salt Lake region. The 6-foot-3 guard played five seasons in the NBA, with his best campaign coming in 2014-15, when he averaged 7.4 points in 53 games with the Indiana Pacers.

14. Elgin Cook, Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni)

College: Oregon, 2013-16

NBA experience (regular season): None

A game-winning 3-pointer in the Golden Eagles' matchup against Team Colorado might have single-handedly placed the Milwaukee native Cook on this list. However, the ex-Oregon Duck (that's right, he's not a Marquette alum) scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds in the first round before dropping 26 points in that last-second win in the second round. Cook scored only a single point in the Super 16, but his first-team All-Pac 12 honor in 2016 speaks for itself.

15. Novar Gadson, Team Brotherly Love

College: Rider, 2008-12

NBA experience (regular season): None

After reaching the Super 16 last year, Team Brotherly Love is taking things one step further. It was supposed to be Jason Thompson who guided the Philadelphia-area squad (Thompson is expected to join the team this weekend), but instead, it's been all about Gadson. The ex-Rider forward is averaging 19.7 points, 5 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game, producing his best game in an upset victory over Boeheim's Army (Syracuse alumni).

16. Willie Reed, Loyalty Is Love

College: Saint Louis, 2008-10

NBA experience (regular season): Brooklyn Nets, 2015-16; Miami Heat, 2016-17; LA Clippers and Detroit Pistons, 2017-18

The former NBA staple has become a perfect complement to Loyalty Is Love's big three. Averaging 13.7 points and 9.3 rebounds per game, the big man provides a soft touch and physical play around the basket while adding valuable experience. The 6-foot-11 forward had a successful D League career -- he was an All-Star in 2015 -- before logging time with four teams in the NBA.

17. Aaron Craft, Carmen's Crew (Ohio State alumni)

College: Ohio State, 2010-14

NBA experience (regular season): None

Craft has essentially been a coach on the floor his entire career, and his stint with Carmen's Crew this summer is no different. The point guard is averaging 11 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game, while making his presence felt on the defensive end, per usual. His 3.3 steals per outing ranks first on the team, and his consistent energy has helped the Ohio State alumni squad allow only 72.3 points per game.

18. Frantz Massenat, Team Brotherly Love

College: Drexel, 2010-14

NBA experience (regular season): None

The former Drexel Dragon dropped 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting in a second-round upset against Armored Athlete and is averaging a stellar 17.7 points, 5 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game. He was a two-time first-team All-CAA member during college and now plays for Andorra of the Liga ACB league in Spain.

19. Andrew Rowsey, Golden Eagles (Marquette alumni)

College: UNC Asheville, 2013-15; Marquette, 2016-18

NBA experience (regular season): None

Playing in his first TBT, Rowsey has shined as a consistent fourth scorer for the Golden Eagles. He hasn't shot the ball particularly well from beyond the arc, however -- the guard is averaging 12.7 points and has scored in double figures in all three games of the tournament.

20. Quincy Miller, Loyalty Is Love

College: Baylor, 2011-12

NBA experience (regular season): Denver Nuggets, 2012-14; Sacramento Kings and Detroit Pistons, 2014-15

Miller provides more depth for Loyalty Is Love, as the ex-Baylor Bear is averaging 12 points and 7.3 rebounds per game. The forward was a second-round pick in the 2012 NBA draft and had the best season of his career (4.9 PPG in 15.2 MPG) with the Denver Nuggets in 2013-14. He never found a consistent home, though, bouncing around the NBA before thriving overseas.

21. Bobby Brown, Overseas Elite

College: Cal State Fullerton, 2003-07

NBA experience (regular season): Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves, 2008-09; New Orleans Hornets and LA Clippers, 2009-10; Houston Rockets, 2016-18

While Kennedy, Pargo and Burrell get all the headlines, Brown is flying under the radar as a lethal option. A solid 3-point shooter and an effective scorer, the 34-year-old is picking up where he left off during his NBA days. Brown, who is averaging 15 points per game, played with the Rockets as recently as 2017-18.

22. Kyle Hines, Team Hines

College: UNC Greensboro, 2004-08

NBA experience (regular season): None

While Nick Calathes (whose tournament has concluded) ranked as our best player on Team Hines before the tournament, team namesake Kyle Hines has developed into the second-most-potent star on the roster behind Mike James. The 6-foot-6 forward is averaging nearly a double-double (9.0 PPG, 8.3 RPG) while supporting the best average defensive rating (6.0) on the team. Hines' excellent play in TBT doesn't come out of nowhere, as he is a four-time EuroLeague champ, a two-time EuroLeague Best Defender and a five-time VTB United League champ with CSKA Moscow.

23. David Lighty, Carmen's Crew (Ohio State alumni)

College: Ohio State, 2006-11

NBA experience (regular season):None

Lighty's 15.7 points per game rank second on Carmen's Crew, while his 4.7 assists top Craft and the rest of his teammates. The guard's ability to score, distribute and take care of the ball helps the Ohio State alumni team run efficient offense. His valuable experience through winning three LNB Pro A championships has proved to be critical.

24. Ricky Ledo, Team Hines

College: None

NBA experience (regular season): Dallas Mavericks, 2013-14; Dallas Mavericks and New York Knicks, 2014-15

Ledo never got onto the court at Providence due to eligibility issues, but the guard is a born scorer dating back to his days as a top-25 recruit. Since then, Ledo was a second-round NBA draft pick before playing with the Mavericks and Knicks. The style of play in TBT suits Ledo's game perfectly, as he is averaging 11.3 points while posting a decent 3.7 average defensive rating.

25. Jason Thompson, Brotherly Love

College: Rider, 2004-08

NBA experience (regular season): Sacramento Kings, 2008-15; Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors, 2015-16

Thompson was unable to play during Brotherly Love's run to the Syracuse regional title, but you can expect him to make up for lost time this weekend. The 33-year-old has 588 games of NBA experience to his credit -- his last meaningful timewas during the Raptors' 2015-16 playoff run -- and at 6-foot-11 will be a matchup problem for Team Hines in the next round.

Schedule, results and broadcast info

All times Eastern

Championship Week -- Aug. 1-6, Wintrust Arena, Chicago

Aug. 1 -- Quarterfinals

  • (1) Carmen's Crew (Ohio State alumni) 79, (1) Eberlein Drive 71

  • (1) Golden Eagles alumni (Marquette alumni) 79, (8) Jackson TN 62

Aug. 2 -- Quarterfinals

  • (1) Overseas Elite 86, (1) Loyalty Is Love 73

  • (1) Team Hines 88, (3) Brotherly Love 75

Aug. 4 -- Semifinals

  • (1) Carmen's Crew (Ohio State alumni) 71, (1) Overseas Elite 66

  • (1) Golden Eagles alumni (Marquette alumni) 68, (1) Team Hines 62

Aug. 6 - $2 million, winner-take-all championship

  • (1) Carmen's Crew (Ohio State alumni) vs. Golden Eagles alumni (Marquette alumni), 9 p.m. (ESPN)

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