LOUDONVILLE, NY – Before embarking upon his professional playing career in Sweden later this year, recent Siena Basketball graduate Brett Bisping will first be taking his talents back to a familiar locale. The Peoria, Illinois native is set to suit up for his hometown Peoria All-Stars in The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take-all $2 million event. Moreover, Bisping and the Peoria All-Stars will open play in the 64-team tournament Saturday at Bradley University in Peoria.
“It’s not necessarily about the money – that’s cool – but it’s really about the opportunity to play competitive basketball in the summertime with guys I grew up both playing with and against,” said Bisping. “But the best part of all is definitely having the chance to come back to Peoria and play in front of the hometown crowd.”
Seeded 11th in the Midwest Region, Bisping and the Peoria All-Stars will face No. 6 seed Fort Wayne Champs in the First Round of The Basketball Tournament Saturday at 6:45 p.m. ET at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois on ESPN3. Should they advance, the Peoria All-Stars would return to Bradley Sunday to play the winner of No. 3 Always a Brave, Bradley’s alumni team, and No. 14 Mid American Unity.
Now in its fourth year, The Basketball Tournament is an open-application, single-elimination event featuring a winner-take-all, $2 million prize. The Basketball Tournament features 64 teams broken up into four, 16-team regions held in Philadelphia, Charlotte, Peoria, and Las Vegas. The “Super 16” and regional championship games will be held in Brooklyn July 20-23 and televised on ESPN and ESPN 2. Both the semifinals and $2 million championship game will be contested in Baltimore on Aug. 1 and Aug. 3, respectively, and televised on ESPN.
Bisping and The Peoria All-Stars gained entry into the 64-team field by winning a pair of play-in games in the TBT Jamboree June 17-18 in Philadelphia. Bisping posted a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 73-70 triumph over Philly Dimes, and then led all scorers with a game-high 23 points and nine rebounds in an 84-72 win over Reach 1 Teach 1 which punched Peoria’s ticket into the tournament.
“We knew that if we won both games not only would we qualify for the field, but that we’d also get to come back home and play in Peoria,” explained Bisping. “A lot of the guys on the team have played in different places and haven’t had the chance to come back and play in front of the home crowd, so it definitely was a big motivation for us.”
Bisping recently signed a professional contact to play for Boras Basket in Sweden’s premier league, the Basketligan, following a decorated career with the Saints. He graduated as the only player in Siena Basketball history to eclipse both 1,500 points and 1,000 rebounds for his career, and ranks 11th all-time in program history in scoring (1,528), and fourth in rebounding (1,024). He was named an NABC District I Second Team, Second Team All-MAAC, and MAAC All-Tournament Team selection this past season after leading the conference and ranking 24th nationally with 9.7 rebounds per game. Bisping also averaged 12.3 points and posted 13 double-doubles this winter.
Bisping was previously named Siena College's Male Student Athlete of the Year, an NABC District I First Team honoree, and a unanimous First Team All-MAAC and MAAC All-Tournament Team selection in 2015-16. He was heralded as the 2014 College Basketball Invitational MVP after leading Siena to the College's first Division I national postseason tournament championship, and was also one of just five players who were recently named to the CBI All-Time Team.