How a Team of Former Marquette Basketball Players Won $1 Million Yesterday

In case you weren’t watching ESPN yesterday, the Golden Eagles came home with a lot of dough.

A hoops squad mainly comprised of former Marquette University basketball players captured a $1 million, winner-take-all basketball tournament on Tuesday night. 

The Golden Eagles capped off the event, known simply as The Basketball Tournament, or TBT, with a 78-73 win over Sideline Cancer in the championship game to take home the jackpot. Travis Diener hit a 3-pointer from the corner to seal the win in a game broadcast live on ESPN. The TBT games incorporate an Elam Ending scoring rule, which sets a target score by adding eight points to the highest total at the first dead ball after the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter. 

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Teammates swarmed the 38-year-old Diener, who helped lead Marquette to the Final Four in 2003 and played five seasons in the NBA, as the Marquette crew took the title of the 24-team field for the tournament, which was played under quarantine over an 11-day stretch at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. 

Jamil Wilson had 16 points to pace the Golden Eagles. Darius Johnson-Odom added 15 points and earned the TBT’s Most Valuable Player award. Wilson and Johnson-Odom were selected to the All-Tournament team. 

Eight of the 11 players on the team played for Marquette, as did the Golden Eagles’ general manager, Dan Fitzgerald, who put the team together, and coach Joe Chapman, who made the All-Tournament team for his role. 

Each of the players and Chapman earned $90,000 for the championship. Fitzgerald received $80,000.

Diener used a portion of his winnings to pay a nearly $2,000 tab for customers at his family’s bar, The Press Box in Fond du Lac. 

Last summer, the Golden Eagles made it to the championship game before losing to Carmen’s Crew, made up primarily of former Ohio State players, marking the furthest run the team had made in the TBT. This summer’s tournament marked the fifth consecutive year the Golden Eagles have competed in the event, which launched in 2014.

Here’s the Golden Eagles’ championship roster, with the years each member played for Marquette. Those from other colleges are noted.

  • Travis Diener (2001-05)
  • Maurice Acker (2007-10)
  • Dwight Buycks (2009-11)
  • Darius Johnson-Odom (2009-12)
  • Jamil Wilson (2011-14)
  • Derrick Wilson (2011-15)
  • Luke Fischer (2014-17)
  • Andrew Rousey (2016-18)
  • Elgin Cook (Oregon)
  • Jarvis Williams (Minnesota State-Mankato)
  • Mo Charlo (Nevada-Reno)

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Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.