While The Basketball Tournament got underway across the country on Saturday, Best Virginia still has another week before it will play its opening-round game of the TBT.

Saturday, however, was the first time Mountaineer fans saw this year’s Best Virginia squad in action. Best Virginia held a scrimmage at Fairmont State, where John Flowers hit seven 3-pointers as part of his team’s 41-point win over WVU Tech.

It was also just the second time this summer that every member of the Best Virginia roster was on the court together at the same time. The first: One day earlier, during the group’s first full-team practice.

“That’s probably why they have us as one of the better teams in this TBT,” said former WVU forward and NBA Draft pick Devin Ebanks. “Because a lot of people know that we have a good chemistry.”

Five players on this year’s Best Virginia roster have played with the team in the past. The other four players are playing with the team for the first time.

But there is common bond that ties most of them together. They played for West Virginia, and they were coached by Bob Huggins.

“We all played for Huggs, and we all played in this program. So, there’s a couple things that we all kind of added to our game while we were here that we kind of made it a part of our game,” said former West Virginia guard Juwan Staten. “You’re going to see a lot of different principles, you’re going to see a lot of talking and chemistry just because we’ve all been in the same program.”

Of the nine players on the Best Virginia roster, seven played for Huggins at some point in their collegiate careers. Only West Virginia Wesleyan’s Tanner McGrew and Fairmont State’s Jamel Morris did not.

Morris, however, played with Best Virginia in 2021. McGrew, like Morris and others, is a veteran pro player, who is used to having to gel with new teammates quickly.

“At this point, we’ve been together so long, and you know I’ve played some of the highest-level basketball that you can get,” said McGrew on Saturday. “I did the (NBA) Summer League, I did Team USA, so I’ve played NBA players and some of the best overseas players there are. So, I’ve been around, and I’ve seen good competition, and I know where I fit in and how I can be a little bit of help to the team. And that’s all I try to do.”

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While Ebanks, Flowers, and Jones did not play collegiately with any of the other Mountaineers in the group, some have crossed paths overseas. Ebanks, for instance, has played with former WVU sixth man Jaysean Paige in Puerto Rico, and says he has played with “a lot of West Virginia guys as a pro.”

But then there are other former WVU players on this Best Virginia squad that Ebanks and others will have to get used to playing alongside.

“I like Jermaine (Haley). This is my first time really getting to see him,” said the former Los Angeles Lakers second-round pick. “I like what he can do, and help this team for sure.”

Flowers, one of the founding members of the WVU men’s basketball alumni team, said following Saturday’s scrimmage that chemistry with all players is still something the team is working on.

That is to be expected, given that they’ve practiced together as a full team just once.

However, he and some of the more veteran players have the ability to pick back up where they left off in the Final Four in 2010.

As for the others: “We’re getting used to it – we’re getting used to the chemistry. We added them on the team for a reason. They’re all good players. They’re professional players,” said Flowers.

The Basketball Tournament continues with the West Virginia Regional, beginning on Sunday, July 24, at the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center in West Virginia’s state capital.

Games will be televised live from Charleston on ESPN2 and WatchESPN.