By David Cordova
It’s always good when you reunite with old friends and do something big. It’s even better when that something big is playing in a basketball tournament with the opportunity to win a grand prize of $1 million.
For former St. John’s stars Paris Horne and D.J. Kennedy, the chance to compete together again after so many years was made even sweeter by bringing home the giant check with Overseas Elite.
Horne and Kennedy led their team to a 67-65 win over Team 23 in the final of The Basketball Tournament Sunday at Fordham University in a game broadcast live on ESPN.
“It feels great to be playing together again,” Kennedy said. “We played together in college and winning this was great.”
Both players have been playing in countries across the globe, Horne with the Chiba Jets in Japan and Kennedy with the MHB Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany. But the opportunity to play in The Basketball Tournament alongside players such as Erick McCollum II and former McDonald’s All-American Myck Kabongo made it better. Overseas Elite started their journey July 10 in Atlanta and steamrolled through the competition to get to Fordham.
In the semifinal game against City of Gods, a team comprised of players from the Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia area, the Johnnies duo dominated. Horne scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds, while Kennedy dropped 13 points and grabbed six boards to lead Overseas Elite to an 84-71 victory that punched their ticket to the title game.
The final was one for the ages. Overseas Elite squared off against Team 23. Its star guard Davin White scored 34 points, but Kennedy and Horne put the clamps on the rest of the opposition defensively, keeping the rest of their guards to single digits.
Kennedy scored 24 points for Overseas Elite, with Horne adding another 10. But one of the biggest rewards was the payoff. Horne left with $107,000 and Kennedy with $90,000.
The single-elimination tournament was made up of a field of 97 teams and more than 125 players who had either NBA or NBA Development League experience.
“It was awesome playing against great competition,” Kennedy said.
Although Kennedy and Horne led the Red Storm to an NCAA tournament as seniors, they never won a championship at St. John’s. This was certainly a consolation, made even better by doing it side by side.
“It was a great battle.” Horne said. “I’m happy that we were able to see this through and play in a great tournament.”