BELL COUNTY, TX — Professional men's basketball players from across Central Texas, took a break from their pro careers and are joining forces to play in The Basketball Tournament, a single-elimination tournament that will air on ESPN.
A shooting guard on the team is Cameron Delaney, a former Harker Heights High School Knight.
“As a kid, growing up, and being able to do something like this… this is what a kid dreams about,” he explained, thinking about his career leading up to this point.
Now, alongside his teammates, he’s back on the Harker Heights hardwood, gearing up for a big game.
“It’s honestly a surreal feeling to be back in my high school gym,” he said, smiling. “I never thought I'd be back in my gym doing something like this.”
Delaney graduated from Harker Heights in 2013 and kicked off his collegiate career at the University of Denver.
After a one-year stint, he transferred back to the Lone Star State and suited up at Sam Houston State University.
From there, he played a few seasons overseas.
Now, the Fort Hood Wounded Warriors brought him back home.
“Coming from the city, that’s the mentality that you have growing up, and for all of us to put our talents together on one team and play, it just means alot to us,” he explained.
He’s not the only one from Bell County.
Cedric Brooks, the team’s general manager is from Killeen.
Brooks played in the tournament before and knows what it takes to get there.
“It takes not only support, it takes the players,” he said. “It takes grind, it takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears, literally, it's gonna be it's gonna be a dogfight.”
The tournament is in Wichita, Kansas, on July 16-20.
ESPN will have the coverage.
Up for grabs? A million dollars.
But, in true Central Texas fashion, the team plans to donate some of that money back to the Wounded Warriors Project.
An organization that hit’s home for the Killeen native.
”I have a long, long, long family tree of people meaning military going to war,” Brooks explained, pausing throughout the sentence.”It’s more emotional for me, this would mean a lot.”
Now, on Memorial Day weekend, that cause is weighing heavy on the players.
“Iit means a lot, man, because [soldiers] really go out there every day, and lay it on the line for our country,” Delaney said. “Without them, I mean, honestly, I wouldn't feel secure, and I'm pretty sure nobody else in this nation and around this world would feel secure.”
The team plans to fly to the tournament, but needs help getting the funds together to get there.
So, in an effort to gain support, they put together apparel you can buy, player appearances and even training sessions.
All purchases go back to helping them get on the big stage.
The team's email is Fthoodwarriors.email@example.com.