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Two former Chippewa standouts to play in 'The Basketball Tournament'


DiLeo, Rayson and Zeigler to play as part of 64-team, $1 million winner-take-all event


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Senior guard Braylon Rayson, left, drives with the ball during the game against UAPB on Dec. 3 at McGuirk Arena.

When 'The Basketball Tournament' begins play Friday, three former Central Michigan Chippewas will be on teams vying for the $1 million prize. 

More commonly known as 'TBT,' The Basketball Tournament is a 64-team, winner-take-all single elimination tournament. The regional rounds are played July 16-28, with the championship to be played August 3 in Dayton, Ohio. 

David DiLeo, Braylon Rayson and Trey Zeigler are on teams in the tournament field. A fourth player, Marcus Keene, recently withdrew from the tournament after playing for Team Sideline Cancer and leading them to a second-place finish in 2020. 

DiLeo is on team AfterShocks, a squad comprised mostly of Wichita State alumni. Among DiLeo's teammates will be Conner Frankamp and Markis McDuffie, two standouts on Wichita State's 2017 Missouri Valley Conference tournament winning team.

"I'm very excited to get out there and play in TBT 2021 with the AfterShocks," DiLeo said. "I've been following TBT for years now and it always has looked like a great way to play some summer basketball at a high and competitive level so I'm definitely excited for the opportunity to finally play in it and hopefully make a run at winning some money."  

Rayson and Zeigler are both on the Fort Worth Funk, a team made up of mainly Texas Christian University alums. Zeigler, the son of former CMU coach Ernie Zeigler, began his career at CMU before transferring to Pitt and then to TCU. 

Rayson was a four-year Chippewa who rewrote many scoring records. He ranks top-10 in program history in career points (third), 3-point makes (third) and free throw percentage (ninth). 

"Super excited," Rayson said. "Feels good practicing again and getting game-like reps in." 

Both the AfterShocks and the Fort Worth Funk are in the Wichita Regional, which will play its games July 16-20. The AfterShocks are a No. 2 seed while the Fort Worth Funk are a No. 11 seed. 

The Funk will play in the tournament opener Friday, a showdown with No. 6 seed Team Arkansas at 2 p.m. on ESPN3. The AfterShocks will play their first game at 9 p.m. Friday against the No. 15 seed Ex-Pats, made up of Patriot League alumni. 

The AfterShocks' general manager is Ron Baker, who was a standout on Wichita State's 2013 Final Four team and its coach is former Shocker walk-on Zach Bush. 

The Funk are coached by Lee Nailon, a former TCU standout and NBA player who owns a catering company, Dough & Tips, that is sponsoring the team. 

The tournament will also feature teams made up of alums from Oregon, Ohio State, Purdue and Syracuse among others. 

The entire tournament schedule can be found here

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