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Best Virginia withdraws from TBT after team member tests positive for COVID-19

The West Virginia alumni team was set to face Marshall alumni in the opening round of this year’s tournament

Dave Ryan | Twitter @ddryan

In an unfortunate turn of events, Best Virginia — the West Virginia Mountaineers alumni team — announced today that they have withdrawn from the 2020 TBT basketball tournament.

In a release issued today from The Basketball Tournament, the league states they were was informed on June 18th by Best Virginia that one of its team members had tested positive for COVID-19. Although it was determined that the timing of the positive test could have permitted the remainder of the team to enter into a 14-day self-quarantine and frequent-testing protocol, Best Virginia opted to withdraw from the 24-team field. They will be replaced with the team Playing For Jimmy V, led by former Gonzaga star Josh Perkins, who will now face the Marshall Thundering Herd alumni in the opening round.

Best Virginia and the Final Fourcast crew issued the following statement via their website, apologizing to fans for being unable to make their second year return to the tournament.

This is not how we wanted things to end.

Since our second-game loss in The Basketball Tournament (TBT) in 2019, we’ve been excited at the idea of playing again for West Virginia. We had gathered a team of incredible Mountaineer alums that each shared the dream of bringing a trophy home.

We also were excited the TBT was coming to Charleston. To have this tournament at home, to reward our fans for turning up in our first TBT games, was a dream come true for so many of us.

Like everything, our plans were changed by COVID-19 - in more ways than one.

We learned late Thursday that one of our own had tested positive for COVID-19, a test taken out of precaution, though no symptoms were visible. Out of an abundance of caution, all parties at our recent practices were notified, as well as the appropriate local health agencies, and our players and staff were tested.

Because of the heightened nature of safety and security in TBT this year due to the virus, we will not be participating. This is not the news West Virginians want to hear. It was a tough decision to come to. But this is the reality of where we are now, and safety is everything.

We hope all teams that are able to participate in TBT this year see this as an opportunity to tighten their own safety practices and keep everyone safe to ensure a fun, safe tournament for themselves and their fans.

We are not just sad for our own chances to play, but what this team meant to so many in West Virginia. It is the love for the Mountaineers that prompted us to form this team, and keeps us going to play and practice harder and harder.

We will continue working with TBT to continue Best Virginia’s presence in future tournaments, as well as the hopes they consider bringing the tournament to West Virginia next year.

We love you, West Virginia. We’re sorry we can’t play for you this year.

— Best Virginia.