James Long will return as head coach of Best Virginia for The Basketball Tournament’s summer 2023 season in its new host city of Wheeling, West Virginia. The competition is scheduled for late July, with a date TBD at the Wesbanco Arena. Fans can sign up to the TBT’s waitlist to get first dibs on their best ticket offer when tickets go on sale soon at https://thetournament.com/tbt/ticket-waitlist/.
“I am beyond excited to be back as coach,” Long said. “Selfishly, it has been the highlight of my summers. More importantly, we get to all spend time together, put the work in, and compete together. We left last year with a lot of excitement for what was next. We had a good run and know that more can be done. I appreciate everyone in Best Virginia trusting me and giving me the opportunity to coach again. This year’s location in Wheeling will be fun to start a different journey. Hopefully we can get some more people over to Wesbanco Arena. There is a lot of momentum from last year, and we are hoping to keep moving forward!”
Best Virginia is led by General Manager and player John Flowers and represents men’s basketball alumni from West Virginia University. Further team announcements will follow through the summer ahead of the Wheeling regional.
The original home of the Elam Ending, The Basketball Tournament has grown from a unique idea among friends to one of the most exciting and engaging events on the summer sports calendar, with national exposure on ESPN, social media buzz and regional championships across the country – culminating in a winner-take-all $1 million game.
Long is a Charleston, West Virginia native who played a season at Wofford before transferring back home to West Virginia. Long walked-on from 2013-15, 2016-17, under legendary coach Bob Huggins. At WVU, Long was a part of the Garrett Ford Academic Honor Roll and was a member of the Academic All-Big 12 First Team. After graduating West Virginia University with a Bachelor of Science in finance in 2017, Long came back to assist his former coach for two seasons, as Huggins named Long assistant director of basketball operations and video coordinator.
Long was able to receive his first head coach gig at WVU Tech (NAIA Division II), when he was hired in July 2019. In his first season coaching, Long led the Golden Bears to a 23-8 record, finishing in first place in the River States Conference. In the 2020-21 season, Long coached WVU Tech to the River States Conference Championship, sending the Golden Bears to two-straight NAIA National Championship appearances in 2021 and 2022.
Long coached Best Virginia to a 3-1 record in the 2022 TBT, reaching the Elite-8 in Dayton. It was the first time Best Virginia played out of the Charleston region.
He currently serves as director of basketball operations at The Carolina Factory and COO of Court XIV. The two companies serve some of the best athletes in the Charlotte area.