STEPHENVILLE – Tarleton men’s basketball is set to spend Thanksgiving Week in paradise.
The Texans accepted an invitation on Friday to participate in the 2022 Paradise Jam basketball tournament in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The three-game, multiple-team event (MTE) runs from Nov. 18-21.
Tarleton is a part of an eight-team field that includes Belmont, Boston College, Buffalo, Drake, George Mason, Howard and Wyoming.
“We’re extremely excited about the opportunity to play in a great tournament,” said head coach Billy Gillispie. “The competition, location and the venue are top notch, and the players will get to enjoy a new and different setting that should be fun for all involved. I’d be surprised if Tarleton does not have the largest contingent of fans there supporting our team.”
This will be Tarleton’s first-ever trip to the U.S.V.I. in any sport.
“Wow, this should be fun!” said junior guard Shamir Bogues. “When we were recruited to Tarleton, coach Gillispie promised that we would play games and be in tournaments like this against the best competition in the country. We will have fun and do our best to represent Tarleton.”
The tournament, which is in its 23rd year of existence, is hosted inside the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center. All games will be televised. The television network and streaming platform will be announced at a later date.
Each team is guaranteed three games in a championship-style tournament format. The tournament bracket will be released in the coming weeks. The final NCAA NET Rankings will be used to determine seeding and first round matchups.
Tickets and fan packages will be sold later this year through ParadiseJam.com.
About the Paradise Jam
The U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam is an annual early-season basketball tournament for Division-I men’s and women’s basketball teams. Hosted at the University of the Virgin Islands Sports & Fitness Center on St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the tournament offers excellent early season competition in an exotic island setting. Founded in 2000, many of the nation’s finest college student-athletes have converged on St. Thomas to test their skills and enjoy the tropical November weather.
Since 2001, the tournament has been played at the 3,500-seat UVI Sports and Fitness Center. Coaches and student-athletes alike have praised the venue for its custom hardwood floor, air-conditioning, and frequent sellout crowds.
The U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam also provides an outlet for youth involvement. Local high school youth are recruited as junior staff members to assist tournament administrators in running the event. Students learn about service, sales, hospitality, media relations, and other skills working alongside experienced staff members. Other youth participate in steel pan bands during welcome receptions or in school bands performing during halftime presentations.
As the second-largest tourist event on the island behind Carnival, the Paradise Jam provides an important boost to the local economy and tourism industry. The two-week, 16-team tournament brings in an estimated 3,000 people to the islands who spend tourism dollars on hotels, restaurants, transportation, service, and island souvenirs.