Get to Know Boeheim's Army's Next Opponent: Always A Brave

The team of Bradley alums will have a home court advantage on Wednesday.
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Boeheim's Army knocked off Heartfire in the second round of The Basketball Tournament 68-62. The Army now faces Always A Brave in the third round. Always A Brave is a Bradley alumni team. With games being played on their home court, Always A Brave will have an advantage. Here is what you need to know about them going into the matchup.

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1st Round Game: Beat (10) Chicago Hoopville Warriors 75-73

2nd Round Game: Beat (15) Jackson TN Underdogs 70-50

Head Coach: Daniel Ruffin (player/coach) - Former Bradley point guard and current high school head coach. Also plays for Always A Brave. 

Player: Andrew Warren
Height: 6-5
Position: Shooting Guard
College: Bradley
College Stats: 
TBT Bio: The 6-foot-5 shooting guard was a 2-time All-Missouri Valley Conference performer who led The Valley in scoring as a senior in 2010-11 and finished his career 10th (now 12th) in program history with 1,621 points … Completing his 10th pro season by helping MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg to the best record in the German BBL.

Player: Daniel Ruffin
Position: Point Guard
College: Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: A 3-year TBT veteran as the Always A Brave point guard from 2016-18, Ruffin returns to Bradley alumni team as head coach in TBT 2021 … Completed his first year as boys basketball varsity head coach at Peoria High School, where he teamed with Shaun Livingston for the 2003 Illinois 3A state championship … Point guard for Bradley teams that reached the 2006 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16, 2007 NIT second round and 2008 CBI championship series, then came out of basketball retirement to lead Always A Brave to the 2016 TBT semifinals … Ruptured an Achilles tendon early in that semifinal game against Team Colorado … 2-time All-MVC point guard played his entire senior season in 2007-08 as the nation’s active career assists leader and still ranks third in Bradley history with 644 career assists.

Player: Darrell Brown Jr.
Height: 5-10
Position: Point Guard
College:Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: The only student-athlete to lead Bradley Basketball in scoring and assists in each of his four seasons, Brown ranks fifth in Braves history in both scoring (1,860 points) and assists (491) … The Most Outstanding Player of 2020 Arch Madness, Brown led Bradley to back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference championships in 2019 and 2020 … In addition to his scoring and assists ranks, the 3-time All-MVC selection also ranks fourth in Bradley history with 225 made 3-pointers and sixth with 483 made free throws … Godson of 4-time NBA All-Star and current University of Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway.

Player: Dinma Odiakosa
Height: 6-8
Position: Center
College: Illinois State
College Stats:
TBT Bio: Dinma Odiakosa played collegiately at Illinois State for four seasons. During his junior season, Dinma was named to the Missouri Valley Conference All-Defensive Team and led the MVC in offensive rebounds (1010) and field goal percentage (.618). He has had a productive professional career playing overseas with clubs in Spain, Lithuania, Israel, and most recently France. The 2020-21 season he spent with Lille Metropole Basket Red Giants in France.

Player: Donte Thomas
Height: 6-7
Position: Small Forward
College: Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: Thomas transitioned from college to professional basketball by joining Always A Brave for the 2018 TBT … Earned All-Missouri Valley Conference second-team honors as a senior in 2017-18 after averaging 11.7 ppg and 7.2 rpg … Ended his Bradley career ninth in program history with 718 rebounds, the most by any Braves player in the previous 28 years … His steady college improvement has carried over to his professional career, which has led him to Cantu in Italy Serie A for his third pro season.

Player: Jimmy Gavin
Height: 6-3
Position: Guard
College: Winthrop, Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: Gavin continues to build on a remarkable basketball journey after illness prevented him from playing high school basketball beyond his freshman year … Began his college career as a traditional student at Mississippi State in 2011, but resumed his basketball career after enrolling at Bradley in 2012 and making the team as a walk-on following a fall semester tryout … Scored 13 points in 10 games as a Brave … Transferred to NCAA Division II Wisconsin-Parkside, where he starred for two seasons before returning to the D1 ranks as a graduate transfer at Winthrop in 2015-16 … Highlighted by a 38-point outburst against NC State, Gavin earned All-Big South first-team honors by averaging 18.7 ppg for the Eagles in 2015-16 … Played for the Orlando Magic during the 2016 Summer League and now has played professionally overseas for the last five years … Averaged 15.1 ppg and shot 42 percent from 3-point range during the 2020-21 season for BC Beroe Stara Zagora in the Bulgarian NBL.

Player: Luqman Lundy
Height: 6-3
Position: Point Guard
College: Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: Secured his place in Bradley Basketball lore by leading the Braves back from an 18-point with 17 minutes remaining in the 2019 MVC Tournament championship game against UNI, scoring a career-best 11 points during a 15-3 run in a span of just 4-minutes, 20-seconds that pulled the Braves to within four in the eventual 57-54 win that delivered BU its first MVC Tourney title in 31 years … Started the final 20 games of the 2018-19 season, helping the Braves to a second straight 20-win season, its first MVC title in 31 years and a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.

Player: Marcellus Sommerville
Height: 6-7
Position: Small Forward
College: Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: 2016 TBT All-Tournament Team after leading Always A Brave to the national semifinals by averaging 21.2 ppg and 7.0 rpg in five games … A 3-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection, Sommerville led Bradley to the 2006 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 and remains 15th in Bradley history with 1,493 points during his 3-year Braves career … A 13-year pro, Sommerville earned all-league honors seven times before retiring in 2019 … A Peoria native who starred at Peoria (Central) High School, Sommerville has returned to his hometown in his post-basketball retirement and is CEO of Peoria Friendship House of Christian Service.

Player: Max Bielfeldt
Height: 6-8 
Position: Power Forward
College: Michigan, Indiana
College Stats:
TBT Bio: A Peoria native, Bielfeldt was the star of Peoria Notre Dame High School’s 2010-11 team, which was the No. 1 ranked team in Illinois 3A during an undefeated (26-0) regular season … Helped Michigan to a pair of Big Ten regular-season championships (2012, 2014), as well as a run to the 2013 national championship game … Played his fifth season at Indiana, where he earned Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year in 2015-16 by averaging 8.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game … Lives in Chicago, where he works for a technology security firm.

Player: Nate Kennell
Height: 6-6
Position: Shooting Guard
College: Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: The 2019 Missouri Valley Conference Sixth Man of the Year, Kennell earned All-MVC third-team honors in 2020 … Helping Bradley to back-to-back MVC Tournament championships in 2019 and 2020, Kennell was named to the 2019 MVC All-Tournament Team … Ranks second in Bradley history with 253 career 3-point field goals and fourth by shooting 41.2 percent from beyond the arc during his career … Ranked fifth nationally in 3-point field goal percentage (.447) during his senior season … From nearby Metamora, Ill., Kennell is a cousin of former Bradley shooting guard Aaron Zobrist, a Bradley Athletics Hall of Famer who helped the Braves to the 1996 MVC regular-season championship and NCAA Tournament berth.

Player: Patrick O'Bryant
Height: 7-0
Position: Center
College: Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: The ninth overall selection by Golden State in the 2006 NBA Draft following his sophomore season, which was capped by a dominant performance during Bradley’s run to the 2006 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 … Remains third in Bradley history with 147 career blocked shots … Including four years in the NBA with Golden State, Boston and Toronto, O’Bryant is a 13-year professional basketball veteran.

Player: Tony Bennett
Height: 6-0
Position: Point Guard
College: Bradley
College Stats:
TBT Bio: The heart-and-soul of Bradley’s 2006 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 squad, Bennett played professionally in Europe, Mexico and Canada for 10 seasons … Authored one of the more memorable TBT finishes, helping Always A Brave overcome a 5-point deficit in the last 11 seconds of its 2016 second-round game versus Jackson TN Underdawgs by following a Jeremy Crouch corner trey with a midcourt steal and game-winning 3-pointer … Nicknamed Mr. 40 Plus in recognition of his legendary play in the Chicago semi-pro leagues … In his post-basketball career, Bennett is a Re-Engagement Specialist for the Chicago Public Schools, building relationships between schools and families to assist dropout and truant students complete their high school education.