Marcus Hall can be forgiven if basketball isn't exactly on the forefront of his mind this week...even with a $2 million winning jackpot within reach for Team Colorado.
Since completing his eligibility with the University of Colorado men's basketball team in 2008, Hall has spent the bulk of his professional career playing in Turkey. While Team Colorado gets set for the Super 16 round of The Basketball Tournament, a pro-am competition with a $2 million winner-take-all payoff, Hall has been glued to the television and internet for updated reports from Turkey, where a failed military coup last week resulted in over 7,000 arrests, 1,400 injuries, and more than 200 deaths.
"It's something that's been brewing over the past year," Hall said. "Let's hope it all gets sorted out in the safest way. I have coaches and teammates and friends there. My girlfriend has friends there. I've been trying to check in with everyone but they're worried. You can sense that."
With everyone in his immediate circle accounted for and currently out of harm's way, Hall will be looking to regain the scintillating scoring touch that led to a pair of Team Colorado victories in the opening rounds of The Basketball Tournament.
In Team Colorado's opening win against Shaare Zedek, Hall posted 27 points while going 11-for-16 from the floor. He was even better in the second round against the former Boston College players that comprised Skinner's Frate Train, going 6-for-8 from 3-point range before finishing with 31 points in 31 minutes.
Hall was always a solid outside shooter at CU — he finished his four-year career with a .439 overall shooting percentage and a .353 mark from 3-point range, and his 152 made 3-pointers ranks sixth all-time in program history — yet he has taken those credentials to another level so far in The Basketball Tournament.
“A lot of people are becoming familiar with CU basketball in the (Tad) Boyle era, but before that Marcus Hall was a four-year starter,” said Team Colorado co-organizer Trent Beckley. “He played with David Harrison. He played with Chris Copeland. He's not going to take this lightly. He'll be aggressive when he needs to be, but he knows he has to get (Richard) Roby going. He knows he has to get (Marcus) Relphorde going. He knows this is his team and it's been great to see him really live up to that.”
Team Colorado faces a formidable foe in the Super 16 in Team 23, a squad that features a number of former Arizona players. Team 23, the top seed in the West Region, was the tournament runner-up a year ago, and it handed Team Colorado a solid thumping in a first-round defeat in the CU alums' first foray into The Basketball Tournament a year ago.
The teams meet for the rematch Friday in Philadelphia at noon MDT in a game that will air live on ESPN3.
"The first thing is we're trying to stay in shape over these two weeks," said Hall, who spent the 2014-15 season with Iowa of the NBA Development League. "We just have to keep playing the same team ball that we've been playing. It could be Richie (Roby), or Levi (Knutson) could come in and hit four or five threes. When you look at the tournament it's just like anything else — you have to play well together and defend and rebound."