ESPN producing documentary about 2008 SEC basketball tournament and tornado that hit Georgia Dome

The 2008 Southeastern Conference men’s basketball tournament was packed with gripping storylines.

A tornado slammed into the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta, forcing the event to move to Georgia Tech.

A Georgia team that tied for the worst regular-season record in the conference won three games in about 30 hours, captured a miraculous championship and saved their coach’s job.

Now that tournament is being chronicled with a documentary for ESPN’s SEC “Storied,” to air in the coming school year. The series is from ESPN’s content development group that produced the “30 for 30” films.

“It’s hard to judge when you’re a part of it what the scope of it is going to be,” said former Georgia center Dave Bliss, who made a buzzer-beating bank shot in overtime in a first-round win and has been contacted to be interviewed for the documentary. “To me at the time, it was obviously the biggest turn of events I could think of.”

Rory Karpf, the filmmaker behind “Herschel,” last year’s documentary about former Georgia Heisman Trophy-winning running back Herschel Walker, is directing the SEC tournament project.

Georgia also has put him in touch with former Bulldogs players Sundiata Gaines, Terrance Woodbury and Zac Swansey, part of the team that won the program’s only SEC tournament title since 1983.

The project is still in the filming and early production stages, ESPN spokesperson Jennifer Cingari said. An airdate and the exact focus of the documentary is not known at this time.

Tim Brando, the national and SEC broadcaster, posted on his Twitter account Sunday that he was being interviewed by a crew working on the documentary. He tweeted about Alabama’s Mykal Riley sinking a shot that may have saved lives.

Riley hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to send a quarterfinal game with Mississippi State into overtime. That’s when the F2 tornado hit the Georgia Dome. Without Riley’s shot, fans would have been exiting the dome when the tornado struck.

Bliss, who helps with opponent prep as a video analyst for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder, said he thinks about Georgia’s run under then-coach Dennis Felton, now a scout with the San Antonio Spurs, every March come tournament time.

“I think it’s a great story and it will be fun for everybody that was a part of it to retell the tale and have a little record of it,” said Bliss, “and hopefully tell that story to other people that maybe didn’t realize what was going on or didn’t maybe realize the full extent of it.”

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