The annual GymRat CHALLENGE AAU tournament for girls was played in these parts (New York's Capital Region) this past weekend, and there was a plethora of top-level talent on display.
A good many of the standout players here appear destined for MAAC teams at some point, which isn't unusual. Almost every conference team has at least one, if not more, GymRat alum.
Here's a look at some of the better players here who are involved in the recruiting process with MAAC teams. The majority, if not all, of these players are currently high school juniors about to enter their senior seasons:
- Kristin Schatzlein, a 6-0 forward who played for the NEBC Bombers and attends Tolland High School in Connecticut. She told talent evaluators here that she has already given a verbal commitment to Fairfield. She is a 6-foot-0 swing player with great court awareness and a terrific passing ability ... a "point forward" if you will. She is a very unselfish player who probably needs a little more strength, as do most high school players, to be a factor at the college level. Otherwise, she looks like she'll have success at Fairfield.
-Morgan Orlander, a 6-3 center, also of the NEBC Bombers. Although she did not reveal her college interests, she looks like a MAAC-level player. And her brother, 6-11 Ryan Olander, will be a senior at Fairfield this season. Morgan is very reminiscent of her brother in that she is tall and slender as a high school player, but very skilled.
- Lizzy Ball, a 5-7 piont guard who played with the NH Rivals team here and attends New Hampton H.S. Rider and Siena have both expressed interest thus far, along with a variety of America East schools. She is a feisty, scrappy player with terrific court vision and passing ability.
- Alee Lateria, a 5-11 forward who plays for the NH Rivals team and attends Hopkinton H.S. A couple of MAAC schools have made initial contact with her.
- Ashley Perez, a 5-8 point guard with the Ct. Starters (Manchester H.S.), who your hoopscribe also saw play in another tournament sponsored by the Albany Capitals' AAU program lst month. She would be a terrific MAAC player, but seems to be getting interest from higher levels (Providence, some CAA teams) as well. But, several MAAC schools have made contact with her.
- Tara Flynn a 5-6 point guard with the United NJ AAU Team who attends Bayonne High School. Although your hoopscribe did not see her play, she did express interest in several MAAC schools. The post-tournament report on her is that she can run a team and distribute, but is also a standout shooter.
- Briana Thomas, a 5-7 combo guard who plays for the Basketball Results AAU team. She is in contact with Manhattan, as well as some CAA and low-level Big East teams. A real scorer and strong physically.
- Anastasia Williams, a 5-11 forward who played for the Basketball Results AAU team. She said recruiting interest is coming from Siena, Northeastern and Providence. She had a strong build yet was fairly athletic and played tough and physically inside.
- Maddy Blais, a 6-0 small forward who played for the NH Rivals team. A slender perimeter player with a very nice shot out to 3-point range and a good ball-handler/decision-maker. She ia getting interest from Marist, Providence and Virginia Tech, among others.
- Stevie Ray, a 5-10 guard who played for the Central New York Rim Rockers. She is a good-sized guard who really pushed things in transition, showed the ability to hit from 3-point range and passed the ball well. Niagara is involved with her.
There were undoubtedly numerous others, but these players specifically mentioned MAAC schools as potential programs they were considering for their future.