By Tom Ballato
General manager Terry Huges has organized and built a team that has been around playing tournaments for over ten years.
His teams in these tournaments go by the name of Team Loyalty. Loyalty is the foundation of what his teams believe in and are build upon. “We are loyal to our cause. We can win, I can’t win.” A lot of people might not get that right away, Hughes told us. It takes a collective effort and understanding that you might not always be the go-to guy.
Before The Basketball Tournament (TBT), the highest prize they’ve played for was $25,000. Team Loyalty has played in tournaments all over the country, including competitions in Texas and New York.
They head into their second year in The Basketball Tournament as Florida TNT with the hopes of winning the $2 million but are no stranger to TBT.
In 2019 it was their first year as Florida TNT. They were formerly the original Team DRC, but that relationship didn’t work out. The year before that, they combined their guys along with players on Pedro’s Posse that featured Jason Williams. That was their first year in TBT.
Florida TNT entered the 2019 TBT in the Greensboro Region as a 5th seed. In their first matchup, they beat 4th seed Primetime Players 71-68 on a game-winning three-pointer by former Ole Miss standout Christopher Warren. The next game they lost to Team Hines the one seed 91-82.
That loss was something that drove Hughes and his coaches to make changes going into this year’s TBT. “That game hurt because going into the Elam Ending, it was a two-point game. We were right there, and on the drive home myself and the two other guys I run the team with, it was just apparent to us we needed more help.”, Hughes said.
Florida TNT needed more players to get a bucket when needed. “In crunch time, you need that guy; you can tell you go out and get me a bucket.” Christopher Warren was that guy in 2019, and Hughes spoke very highly of him and his game.
From that game forward, Florida TNT has been working on getting Warren help, and they have.
Returning to Florida TNT from last year’s team are DeVaughn Akoon-Purcell, who averaged a double-double, Eric Griffin, and this year’s team captain Christopher Warren.
They’ve added a ton of talent that features former Chicago Bulls shooting guard, Antonio Blakeney. They’ve also added guards Kenny Boynton (Florida), Chad Brown (UCF), Rob Gray (Houston), and center Andrew Smith (Liberty).
Recently added to the roster is Fletcher Magee (Wafford), who is college basketball’s all-time leader in three-pointers.
Florida TNT has depth and is loaded at the guard positions. A team with some NBA and high overseas level experience. Hughes and his head coach Iren Rainey have been recruiting since they lost last summer. They have their team before other teams in TBT has even announced their players.
According to Hughes, the team will have no more than ten players, and they are happy where they stand right now. They will fill that tenth roster spot only if that player can bring something special to the table.
Florida TNT will have the ability to play some small ball with their guards and cause some problems defensively, but they also have bigs that can run the floor and cause havoc. It will be interesting to see the lineups they throw out, but Hughes is excited to see these guys on the court.
Christopher Warren spoke about his experience playing with Florida TNT. He said, “Under the name Florida TNT this would be my second year with them, but we’ve been running together in money under different names for years. My experience is different every year. It’s always different players. So it’s dealing with a different game, personality, chemistry, etc.. It’s always fun. If it wasn’t fun, I would have left years ago.”
Warren is excited about the journey and seeing how fast or slow it will take to gel.
Florida TNT will look to make a splash in the 2020 TBT. They will have no shortages on who can get a bucket when needed.