Cowboys Ready to Be Back on the Court With TBT

Zach Lancaster

It feels like a lifetime since the last time we saw live basketball being played. For Oklahoma State fans, the last time they saw the Pokes on the court was the first-round 72-71 win over Iowa State in the Big 12 tournament back on March 11.

Well, Oklahoma State fans won't have to wait too much longer to see some Cowboys out on the court as the Stillwater Stars, the Oklahoma State alumni team in The Basketball Tournament, take the court on Saturday afternoon.

The Stillwater Stars take on Team Brotherly Love on July 4 at 4 p.m. CT on ESPN.

“It’s a great opportunity and I’m obviously pleased to be here,” said head coach Bryndon Manzer. “TBT has made such an impression on players all around the world and I know those, especially former Oklahoma State guys wanted to get something together. Our general managers Caleb Surly and Jeff Barr have done a great job and asked me to be a part of it and it’s a lot of fun.”

“The opportunity is amazing,” Thomas Dziagwa said of getting the chance to play. “I feel blessed that Caleb [Surly] and Jeff [Barr] allowed me to play with the squad. Anytime I get the opportunity to represent Oklahoma State, I think that’s a blessing within itself and I’m ready to play with the Stillwater Stars on my chest.”

Just take a look at these uniforms.

TBT is being handled a little bit different this year, as you might have guessed. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, players have been put into a quarantined bubble in Columbus, OH and will not be playing in front of fans. With it being played during the pandemic, the Stillwater Stars roster looks a little bit different than it did a week ago.

There are currently only three former Oklahoma State players: Thomas Dziagwa, Le’Bryan Nash and Brian Williams. They’ve since added former Texas and Georgia State player James Banks III to go along with Houston guard Armoni Brooks and Kansas guards Tyshawn Taylor and Naadir Tharpe.

Also, with games being played without fans, the question was asked of Manzer of whether or not the atmosphere will affect the level of play.

“It’ll be interesting,” Manzer said of having to play in a quarantined environment. “It will really be like playing at the park or at a gym. I think maybe you’d be concerned about intensity and energy and those type of things if you’re playing with young kids, but when you’re playing with pros, guys that have been on the road and played in all kinds of environments, obviously you’d love to have the fans here and this year we can’t do that, but not concerned about it. I think it will feel a lot like real basketball. Everybody that’s here, including our team, is here because they love to play and most, if not all these guys, are playing professionally.”

Also, guys like Dziagwa probably aren’t going to let the atmosphere affect him as he’s using this as an opportunity to get noticed.

“Since I’m coming straight out of college, I think it will give a good opportunity to play in front of people and showcase what I can do,” said Dziagwa. “Just having competitive practices like we’ve been doing, having one-on-one and three-on-three and stuff like that, especially with a talented group like this, it’s just raising my competitive spirit and it’s making me better.”

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