Whew, finally a chance to catch a breath. Your hoopscribe has been involved, for the past five years, with the GymRat CHALLENGE AAU tournaments for boys and girls. It's an incredibly well-organized event which gets bigger and better every year.
One of my duties is to oversee a staff of "talent evaluators," 18 of them for the boys' event, who do nothing but watch games and select all-star teams at each age division. Our "evaluators" are extremely knowledgeable, a gathering of former D-I coaches, high school coaches and current D-III coaches (who can attend AAU tournaments during a "down" period for the higher levels).
Anyway, all the information, ranging from championship game reports to the full list of all stars and honorable mentions at six age divisions that were contested are now on line at www.gymratchallenge.com
That site attracts close to 1.2 million hits in the first couple of weeks after its gets posted. We try to learn what schools are involved in recruiting some of the participants in the GymRat. And, we'll pass along some of the better players who were here who mentioned getting interest from some MAAC programs.
Arguably the best player here was 6-foot-8 forward Dominique Uhl, who plays for the Jersey Shore Warriors (the 17-under championship team in the GymRat) on the AAU circuit. Uhl, a native of Germany, has quickly acclimated to the game in the U.S. He is a multi-talented, still somewhat slender, front-court player who has full-court skills.
He has been "offered" by Boston College, Temple and Rice, but is also still actively being recruited, he said, by Fairfield of the MAAC.
A teammate, Eric Anderson (a 6-6 small forward) listed Manhattan as one of the school's he is considering. Our scouts indicate he is a do-everything type player who can knock down three-pointers, put the ball on the floor, post up and deliver accurate passes. He also plays for the Jersey Warriors' program.
Aary Biggins, a 6-4 swingman with the Albany City Rocks' Program, lists Siena as a school he is looking at. Our scouts indicate he is a long, athletic guard that contributes in all phases of the game, that he is a lock-down defender and a capable scorer with terrific athleticism.
Another City Rocks' player, Jordan Deccico, lists Niagara as a possible destination. He is a 6-1 point guard who, according to our scouts, is extremely quick and can attack the basket and score over bigger players ... a scrappy player who sees the floor well and gets teammates involved, but also an explosive scorer.
David Hawthorne of the N.J. Select Stars' program is a 6-6 forward who lists Iona as a possible destination. Our scouting report indicates that he has a high upside with a Rudy Gay-type game, at his best attacking the basket and a good rebounder.
Wil Bathurst is a 6-4 small forward from the Locker 1 program of Western New York who lists Iona, Niagara and Marist among his potential colleges. Our report indicates that he is a stat-sheet stuffer that affects the game in every aspect of play.
Louie Pillari, a 6-5 small forward from the New Jersey Cyclones' program, indicates that he is considering Monmouth. Our reports indicate that he is athletic, a streaky 3-point shooter who can get into the lane and finish in traffic and is a terrific competitor.
Canisius is listed as a potential destination for Dontay Caruthers, a 6-1 guard with the Rochester Playmakers' program. Our report indicates that he is very talented with a high motor ... a mix of athleticism and skill that enables him to create scoring opportunities from anywhere on the court.
There are probably many more receiving interest from MAAC teams, but those are the key players at the GymRat who specified interest in the conference.
The GymRat, over the years, has had many alums play for MAAC teams, including O.D. Anosike, Ryan Rossiter and Rob Poole at Siena, Momo Jones and Sean Armand at Iona, George Beamon at Manhattan, Anthony Nelson and Bilal Benn at Syracuse, Billy Baron at Canisius and literally dozens of others over the years.
This year, 292 team boys' teams participated with more than 3,000 players on hand. Traditionally, more than half of each year's players go on to play at some level of college basketball.
And, the same thing happens for girls with this year's event scheduled for June 15 and 16 at various sites throughout New York's Capital Region. We'll be reporting on some of it here, but you can get all the information ... and, the eventual full reports and all-star selections ... at the GymRat's website.