On Friday, Boeheim’s Army will begin its defense of its 2021 TBT Championship, and with that in mind, we caught up with Boeheim’s Army Assistant General Manager Shaun Belbey on the Juice on the Cuse Podcast, presented by SNY.tv.
The 2022 edition of the team returns many familiar faces, including former Syracuse players CJ Fair and Andrew White, and also several non-Syracuse players from last year’s team (DJ Kennedy and DeAndre Kane).
But the collection of mostly former Orange alums brought in several new players this year as well, with Tyler Ennis, Rakeem Christmas and Jimmy Boeheim headlining the additions.
“We added some new pieces that are hungry and ready to go. We have a really good group of some vets and some young guys who haven’t played in TBT before,” Belbey says. “Everyone is ready to go and run it back to win another championship.”
Another key piece has been booster Adam Weitsman. His relationship with Christmas was a huge reason why the former All-ACC center joined the team.
The dominoes began to fall after, with Ennis, who played for one season at SU from 2013-14, joining the team in part because of his friendship with Christmas.
“Once we got (Ennis), that’s what ultimately led to Kyle (Wiltjer),” Belbey said of the former Kentucky and Gonzaga forward. “They played together back in Turkey. They wanted to play together again.”
Other relationships Belbey and others had led to more non-Syracuse players joining the roster. Jimmy Boeheim, Boeheim’s Army most recent addition, played with guard Matt Morgan at Cornell.
When Belbey was looking for another play-making point guard to pair with Ennis, he turned to his own network.
“I knew Dee (Bost) through his agent,” Belbey says. “We were looking for another scoring point guard who could make plays.”
All of his roster moves were also done in consultation with Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim, who has played a “larger role than most people know,” he said.
Finishing the roster has capped a busy year for Belbey, who played at Syracuse from 2015-20, and appeared in 27 games. He’s also the brother of head general manager, Kevin Belbey.
After graduating, Belbey has worked as an NBA Skills coach, and recently returned to Syracuse as the women’s basketball team’s video coordinator.
He’s now looking for a role in an NBA organization and interviewed with several teams recently during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
But any pro role will come after the TBT, and that’s where Belbey has his attention focused on now.
Boeheim’s Army opens TBT play against India Rising on Friday at 7 p.m. at SRC Arena, and it will also be aired on ESPN. Belbey is counting on fan support, which has been a consistent since Boeheim’s Army was formed.
“We hope that (SRC Arena) is going to sell out,” Belbey says of Orange fans. “We can’t wait to see you guys. We have a great group. We hope that you’ll all come out and support, help us win these three games in Syracuse and help us move on to Dayton.”
Afterward, editor in chief Brad Bierman calls in to break down what happened at the 2022 ACC Kickoff event.