Friday, June 15, 2012

Girls' AAU GymRat Challenge Brings In Top Players

The boys were here in New York's Capital Region three weeks ago and, now, it's the girls' turn to compete in the GymRat CHALLENGE AAU basketball tournament, the largest of its kind for females on the east coast.

In all, 236 teams and close to 2,400 players from 12 states and Canada will invade the area to play in games Saturday and Sunday.

Games begin at 8 a.m. on Saturday, continue until the wee hours and, then, resume at 8 a,.m. on Sunday. Championship brackets begin early Sunday afternoon with champions determined in four age brackets Sunday evening.

Games will be played at UAlbany, Skidmore and Union colleges, Schenectady High School and Saratoga Recreation Center. Divisions are for 16-under, 15-under, 14-under and 13-under.

Admission is $10 per day or $15 for both days, and covers any game at any venue. Reasonably priced concessions, merchandise and game programs with full rosters are also available.

There are 19 Capital Region-based teams involved with close to 200 local players, and the best-of-the-best come here for the event..

We were looking at the local high school all-star teams selected by a staff of evaluators for local TV Channel 13 (where Rodger Wyland is the sports director), and every one of his 10-member all star teams for the past four years has played in the GymRat.

The event also draws considerable talent from elsewhere. The best ever to appear hear was probably Epiphany Prince, who came to the event two different years and, now, is the leading scorer in the WNBA. Three years ago we recall Breanna Stewart, a 6-foot-4 center, coming here and she was rated the top high school player nationally this past season and will play at UConn next season.

In the interest of full disclosure, your Hoopscribe is directly involved, helping organize and be part of a group of "talent evaluators" who watch games over the weekend and pick all stars.

When the event is over, I'll be writing about each of the top-level all stars (between 20 and 80 at each of the four levels) as well as writing a report on the championship game at each division.

Is all of that well-received? In past years, there have been more than 1.2 million hits to the site ( within two weeks after the reports get on line. That will happen early ... either Tuesday or Wednesday ... next week.

And, as I have done in the past, I'll do a special MAAC Blog report that you can read here later next week, describing the abilities of players who have indicated they have drawn interest from conference schools.

Better yet, come out and watch yourself to get a look at college's future stars and, in many cases, the future stars of the MAAC.

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