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Two former York County basketball standouts team up with Sideline Cancer in TBT event

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
Kennard-Dale High graduate Charlie Parker, right, and Dallastown High graduate Four McGlynn, third from left, pose for a photo after Sideline Cancer's victory on Tuesday. McGlynn and Parker are part of the squad that reached the final eight in The Basketball Tournament.
  • Four McGlynn and Charlie Parker are part of Team Sideline Cancer in TBT.
  • McGlynn plays for the team while Parker is the head coach.
  • Sideline Cancer plays Boeheim's Army Saturday on ESPN at 4 p.m.
Charlie Parker

When Charlie Parker was approached to play in the inaugural The Basketball Tournament in 2014, he wasn’t sure what to think.

The Kennard-Dale High School and Millersville University standout had participated in different tournaments during his playing career, which included stops in the NBA G-League and overseas. The TBT event, however, seemed different from the start.

“When somebody calls you and says, ‘We’re going to play in this basketball tournament called The Basketball Tournament,’ you’re like, ‘What kind of name is that?’” Parker said with a laugh.

Once he learned about the cash prize for the winning squad, Parker stopped laughing.

For TBT’s first event in 2014, the top team earned a $500,000 prize. Parker couldn’t believe it and was ready to join.

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The offer came from Sideline Cancer general manager Billy Clapper, a coach for the Penn State Altoona men’s basketball team at the time who had coached against Parker when Parker was at Millersville. Before Parker could even start to dream about what he would spend his share on, Clapper let him know that each player would sign a contract for $1 to comply with tournament rules and the rest of the winnings would be donated.

Sideline Cancer gets its name from the foundation created to raise awareness for the disease that claimed the life of a man close to Clapper. Greg Griffith died from pancreatic cancer at the age of 50 in 2011. When Clapper got the chance to start a TBT team, he knew he could use the opportunity for good.

“I’m not going to lie, the air kind of went out of me for a second because he just got finished telling me we had a chance to win half a million dollars and now we’re going to pretty much play for free,” Parker said. “It only took about 10 seconds to think about it and I said, ‘Heck yeah, let’s do this. I will play.’” 

The team didn’t win the money, but years later Parker is now the head coach of Sideline Cancer and leads a group looking to continue to raise awareness for the disease that took Griffith’s life and features another standout York County hoops player.

While trying to host an event during a global pandemic, TBT officials had to institute some new rules. Included in those were at-home COVID-19 tests for all players and coaches before arrival in Columbus, Ohio. One of Sideline Cancer’s players tested positive and the team needed a replacement.

Four McGlynn

Adding Four McGlynn: Parker threw a name out to Clapper and assistant coach Jordan Griffith, the oldest son of Greg Griffith. It was a player that Parker knew would be ready on short notice. Dallastown High graduate Four McGlynn has played professionally overseas for the past few years after he graduated from Rhode Island and is familiar with Parker.

McGlynn was a counselor last summer at a camp that Parker held for high school basketball players as part of his skills development company, Crunchtime Hoops. Once he realized the team could replace the player that tested positive, Parker mentioned McGlynn.

“I’m like, ‘Hey, this guy is right down the street, I know he wants to play and I know he can shoot the ball with the best of them,’” Parker said. “We needed to make sure whoever we added was going to be reliable and was going to be able to drive all the way to Ohio.”

Much like Parker was when he got the call to join the team in 2014, McGlynn jumped at the opportunity. Since European basketball seasons run for nine months McGlynn tries to stay ready to play year round and had started to play some pickup basketball after restrictions had been lifted in York.

“I was super excited when I found out I had the opportunity to do it,” McGlynn said. “Thankfully I was in relatively good shape to come here.”

Sideline Cancer exceeds expectations: Under normal circumstances, TBT features a 64-team field with eight-team regional rounds, with a winner-take-all cash prize of more than $2 million. This year the event featured 24 teams and a $1 million prize because of the costs the organization has incurred holding the event during the COVID-19 pandemic. Parker said the entire hotel the teams are staying in has been rented for two weeks and the supplied meals and almost daily COVID-19 tests (each costing $150) cut into the prize money.

Sideline Cancer entered as the No. 22 seed, despite reaching the round of 16 in 2019. The team is led by Marcus Keene (Central Michigan), Remy Abell (Xavier) and Maurice Creek (Indiana). Sideline Cancer added a pair of former NBA players to the team before this year’s tournament in Diamond Stone (Los Angeles Clippers, Maryland) and Jamel Artis (Orlando Magic, Pittsburgh.)

Despite the low seed, Sideline Cancer pulled upsets in its first two games over No. 11 Team Hines and No. 6 Team Challenge ALS.

McGlynn said it’s been odd to play without fans in attendance, but the squad has found its own way to create momentum without a crowd to get them excited.

“Most of the game, if you look at our bench, we’re standing up, cheering on our teammates that are playing,” McGlynn said. “We’ve kind of figured out a way to bring our own energy in a sense, but it’s definitely different because it’s really quiet.”

Toughest test looms: Sideline Cancer will face its toughest test of the competition in the quarterfinals against Boeheim’s Army at 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN. McGlynn and Parker are confident that their squad has what it takes to show that a pair of guys from York County can knock off the No. 3 seed led by former Syracuse University stars Eric Devendorf, Brandon Triche and Donte Green.

“It’s not just like facing Syracuse, it’s facing some of the biggest names that have ever come out of Syracuse,” Parker said. “These guys are pros and have gotten better as professional players. You’re literally facing an all-star lineup of Syracuse Orangemen, so it’s going to be a big-time match-up on Saturday and I can’t wait.”

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.