The annual boys' GymRat CHALLANGE AAU basketball tournament was held in the upstate New York area over the Memorial Day weekend.
The event drew 328 total teams, its largest field in the 17-year history of the tournament.
And, as always, there was a good representation of players who are being recruited by MAAC schools.
Traditionally, a good number of them wind up playing in the league. Of recent vintage, former Iona standouts Momo Jones and Sean Armand were GymRat participants, as was Manhattan's George Beamon and Siena's Rob Poole.
And, that's just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The number of GymRat grads that have played at MAAC schools since the AAU tournament's beginning is well over 100.
Your scribe is involved in the event, as the director of a crew of talent evaluators who watch games and help select all-star teams.
This year's all-star teams, at each of six age-level divisions, will soon be available on the event's website (www.gymratchallenge.com) in relatively short order.
But, here's a more concise look at some players who listed interest coming from conference programs, with a synopsis of their abilities, in no particular order.
There are dozens and dozens more players from this year's event either being recruited by D-1 programs above and/or below the MAAC level. Only players who specifically mentioned conference interest are listed.
- Dave Krmpotich, a 6-foot-8 forward on the Jersey Shore Warriors: His team won the upper division (17-under) championship in a 104-team field. Krmpotich was the MVG - Most Valuable GymRat. He is a slender (180-pound), multi-talented forward who moves like a small forward and attacks the paint like a power forward. He has heard mostly from lower-level D-1's so far, but the staff at the GymRat believe mid-majors and larger will soon be getting involved. His program, the Jersey Shore Warriors, has won the GymRat in four of the last five years and always produces several eventual D-1 players (including Siena's Poole).
- LaTerrance Reed, a 6-3 guard, from the Northeast Shooters (Canisius H.S.): An athletic guard who can play either position. Outstanding three-point shooter with good speed and athleticism. Already a solid build and gets to the basket. Western N.Y. schools Canisius, Niagara, Buffalo and St. Bona's are involved.
- Joel Winkowski, a 6-2 guard from Northeast Shooters (Lake George H.S.): Upstate New York basketball fans know him as the leading scorer in the region (about 28 points per game) this past high school season. Winkowski didn't need to score so much here with a good group of teammates, but was able to still excel against better, quicker opponents while exhibiting a rare and instinctive passing ability. Your scribe saw him during high school play this past season, and he looked better in the AAU event than he did during the year. Siena and Boston U. are showing the most interest right now.
- Jordan Roland, a 6-1 guard from the Syracuse Select-Lobello AAU Team: Quick and athletic, capable of creating a shot at will. Finishes in the lane over taller defenders and causes opponents problems with his defense. Marist is involved, as is George Washington and Bucknell.
- Tyler Reynolds, a 6-7 forward from the Syracuse Select-Lobello team: A little slender (200 pounds), but a tough matchup here as he posted smaller defenders and could go around bigger opponents. Effective shooter with good court vision and a physical rebounder. Interest being shown by Siena, UAlbany and St. Bona's.
- Kevin Huerter, a 6-4 guard playing for the Shenendehowa Pride team: The son of former Siena player Tom Huerter (Class of 1991) played up an age level, yet still stood out. Handled the ball well and is an exceptional long-range shooter. Some early interest from Siena and a number of other mid-major schools.
- Kieran Hamilton, 5-10 point guard playing for the NYC Jaguars: Another son of a standout from a MAAC school, Kevin Hamilton who played alongside Jeff Ruland at Iona. The younger Hamilton is a little on the smallish side, but is extremely quick and a true playmaker. Outstanding in transition and just made his team better here. He is just starting to get D-1 interest, and will likely be hearing from MAAC schools.
- Cameron Jones, a 6-2 off guard from the Jersey Shore Warriors: A strong guard and an exceptional 3-point shooter. Also showed the ability to finish off drives here because of his strength. He already has an offer fro Rider.
- Jake Silpe, a 6-2 point guard from the Jersey Shore Warriors: Hard-nosed player with a high court IQ. Outstanding defender and a good 3-point shooter, as well. Getting looks from several MAAC schools
Jason Dunne, a 6-4 wing from the Shoreshots AAU program (Matawan H.S.): A very effective scorer even out to the 3-point line. Lengthy and height makes it tough to block his shot. Also showed an ability here to attack and finish above the rim. Monmouth, along with Bucknell and Army have shown early interest.
- Jordan Little, a 6-8 power forward from the N.J. Trailblazers AAU program: A high-energy player who is long and athletic., Active on the glass and scores effectively on put-backs. Evaluators here believe he needs to add strength, but has a positive upside. Saint Peter's and Monmouth have shown interest.
- Ricky McGill, a 6-2 point guard from House of Sports Elite AAU program: A very quick point guard who excels in the open court and has an ability to drive, dish and find open shooters. Good mid-range game and quick hands on defense. Originally committed to Manhattan, but has reopened his recruiting.
- Jonathan Nwanko, a 6-9 center from House of Sports Elite AAU program: One of the top bigs here; long and athletic and runs the floor well. Good rebounder, shot-blocker, finisher around the basket. Perimeter skills need work but he is said to have a huge upside and might soon be drawing high-major interest.
- Yasim Smith, a 6-3 point guard from the N.J. Trailblazers program: A tall point guard with athleticism and a good feel for the game. Right now prefers to drive and can either finish in traffic or dish to open teammates. Fairfield has shown interest.