Iowa State alumni basketball team set to play in tournament with $2 million prize

Curtis Stinson of the Iowa Energy takes the ball to the basket past Dewitt Scott of Fort Wayne in the second half of their NBA D-League game Dec. 3, 2009 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Photo: Dave Eggen/NBAE via Getty Images

Aaron Marner

For the past three years, college basketball fans have watched The Basketball Tournament (TBT) in great anticipation.

The Tournament centers around a very simple premise:

Assemble a team without any current NBA or NCAA basketball players. Play a single elimination tournament against other teams. The final team standing after the 64-team tournament wins a big cash prize.

The prize has grown over The Tournament’s history. It started at $500,000 and now stands at $2 million.

The winner of the inaugural tournament in 2014 was a team made up of former Notre Dame players who weren’t quite good enough to stick in the NBA. Ever since then, alumni teams have popped up throughout the country to play in TBT, but for the first three years, Iowa State alumni didn’t form a squad.

That’s changing this year.

Led by head coach and former first round NBA Draft pick Marcus Fizer, the Hilton Magic Legends have come together in hopes of reigniting some of the Iowa State flair with various former Cyclones.

Devin Perry, media manager for the Hilton Magic Legends, said the first two former Cyclones on board with the team were Fizer and Curtis Stinson.

Stinson, who played at Iowa State for three years under coach Wayne Morgan, is a former NBA D-League MVP and league champion.

Additionally, the Hilton Magic Legends roster includes former NBA player and former Cyclone Diante Garrett.

“Iowa State teams have been guard-heavy in the past and we knew that from the get-go,” Perry said. “So getting two big, notable guards that we’ve had in the past 15 years is huge for us.”

One of the challenges in compiling the roster was the difference in eras. How could the team include players from the early 2000s along with players from the past few years?

To help with that, Iowa State brought in Darrell Bowie, who finished his Cyclone career last March.

“Darrell Bowie was a great pickup for us,” Perry said. “That will bring in a lot of fans that might not remember or might be too young to remember Curtis and Marcus. We just wanted to get a good mix of very talented players to give Cyclone Nation a good team to watch.”

With a name like Hilton Magic Legends, it’s hard to get the full effect of Hilton Magic when the games aren’t in Ames. But the team got the next best thing.

The Hilton Magic Legends’ first game — and second game, if it wins the first game — will be played this weekend at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois. Peoria is less than a five-hour drive from Ames.

As the No. 5 seed in the Midwest region, Iowa State will first take on a team mostly comprised of Chicago-area players. The game is scheduled for 10:45 a.m. this Saturday and can be seen on WatchESPN.

“That was huge,” Perry said. “It’s great for us. There’s already a ton of fans that bought tickets and t-shirts. A lot of people have reached out to us through social media asking what time they should go over, what time the games are.

“We fully expect to have a packed house. I think that will work in our advantage. We couldn’t be more excited.”

For Hilton Magic Legends to win the championship and the $2 million prize, it will have to win the final game in Baltimore, Maryland, next month. That could include a game against two-time defending champions Overseas Elite. Overseas Elite’s roster includes former Cyclone DeAndre Kane, who was part of the team that won the championship last year as well.

Could a championship game against Kane happen? Perry said it would be great to play Kane in the championship game.

“We hear Baltimore is nice in August,” Perry said.