GymRat CHALLENGE EVENT BUILDING NEW REPUTATIONS
By STEVE AMEDIO
GymRat CHALLENGE Director of Communications
Bigger, better, and the place for emerging young talent to earn their basketball reputation. That’s the annual GymRat CHALLENGE AAU boys’ tournament that had its 15th Memorial Day Weekend event on May 26-27, 2012 at various sites throughout Upstate New York’s Capital Region.
A reputation builder? In 1999 almost no one knew the name of a lanky, young big man from Houston, Emeka Okafor, who had a breakout event. The current NBA standout has repeatedly confirmed that the GymRat was the confidence-building platform he needed to prove both to himself and college recruiters he could play at a high level.
A few years later, it was Glens Falls’ Jimmer Fredette, then an undersized shooting guard who shocked observers by putting up huge point totals as a 14-year old participant. That was his proverbial breakout performance. A year later, he was an age division’s MVG (Most Valuable GymRat) and, in the 2010-11 NCAA season while at Brigham Young he led the country in scoring and, later, became a Lottery Pick of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
And, so it is with the GymRat CHALLENGE where nine former participants became NBA Lottery Picks, several dozen others got time in the pro league and where hundreds of its alum have moved on to play Division I basketball.
Call it a proving ground for reputations, a place for the sport’s future stars to start shining and emerging.
In essence, the annual event is a who’s who of who’s next.
Who’s next from this year’s event?
You can start with a smallish 5-foot-7 point guard Justin Robinson of the B.C. Eagles and Kingston High School, the 17-under division’s MVG after leading his team to an age-group championship.
Robinson, who has received only a few low-to-mid major level inquiries so far, spoke after his championship game effort of how his play here would open recruiting doors for him.
A GymRat CHALLENGE MVG award has that kind of reputation-building impact.
Or, maybe, it will be young emerging big men such as 6-foot-9 Evan Maxwell of the J.B. Hoops program or 6-8 Sam Eckstrom of the Buffalo United Dragons, both only rising juniors and playing up a level in the 17-under division, who helped their own efforts to secure Division I scholarships.
For sure, the largest GymRat event in its history with 276 teams competing in six age brackets (with 12-under being contested for the first time) was filled with players aspiring to do what Okafor, Fredette and hundreds of others have done before them … emerge and build a reputation, attract college interest and, just maybe, go beyond that in the sport.
But the GymRat is about more than just individual play. In every bracket contested this year the themes of championship squads were teamwork, intelligent play and hard defense … the intangibles that go beyond individual talent required to win games anywhere.
Team Scan of the Bronx might have had the greatest collection of individual talent this event has ever hosted at the 15-under level. The talent is enough for the program to be rated No. 4 nationally among 15-under AAU programs. But, it wasn’t until Team Scan finally eschewed individual play and put together a few eye-popping moments of smothering defense and unselfish offense at the end of a pool-round game that was able to overcome a 12-point deficit with 2:37 remaining and sneak away with a one-point victory and continue on to a division title.
And so it went, it seems, in every age bracket.
At the 17-under level it was Robinson almost flawlessly directing a precise offense that enabled the B.C. Eagles to capture a GymRat CHALLENGE crown.
Kyle Wilson, coach of the 16-under champions Team Insane cited watching the team-oriented play of opposing programs and adapting it to his own group of players for his squad’s success.
Despite Team Scan’s talent at the 15-under division, merely advancing beyond pool play was in question before the attempt to provide individual highlights gave way to playing as a unit at both ends.
Even at the younger levels, Shooting Stars’ coach Scott Leip cited his team’s conditioning and dedication to defense for its championship in the 14-under division; York Ballers’ coach Pat McGlynn pointed to an unselfish style of team play for that program’s 13-under age bracket crown; and, Ring City Elite coach Roger Cameron pointed to a concerted defensive effort for his team’s championship-game victory.
It all proves, once again, that the GymRat CHALLENGE not only is a proving ground for individual talent but place where young players can show they can also play successfully within a team framework.
Those that can combine both … emerging talent and a willingness to contribute to winning … are the “Who’s Next” of basketball. And, the GymRat CHALLENGE continues to be the place where those skills are identified.
17:U AGE DIVISION
ROBINSON EMERGES TO LEAD B.C. EAGLES TO TITLE IN OVERTIME
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — AAU basketball, at its best, provides an opportunity for young players to showcase big-time talent, and the GymRat CHALLENGE, over its 15 years of competition, has proven to be one of the nation’s best at providing a big stage for reputations to be made.
Justin Robinson entered this year’s GymRat CHALLENGE with a low profile, getting some looks mostly from low-level Division I programs. His play here, helping deliver a GymRat CHALLENGE 17-under championship for his B.C. Eagles’ team, should be a springboard that puts him on the recruiting lists of higher-level programs.
The 5-foot-7 point guard had a team-high 14 points to lead his squad to a 58-54 overtime victory over the Houston Lynx in Sunday night’s championship contest at Skidmore College in what was one of the most competitive, exciting championship contests at any level in the GymRat CHALLENGE’s storied history.
Not only did the game’s smallest player run the Eagles’ offense to near perfection, but he took over in the overtime session, dishing to an open teammate for the extra session’s first basket and then, keeping the ball in his own hands as the Lynx squad was forced to foul to regain possession in the closing seconds. Robinson made three of four free throw attempts in the final 40 seconds to help deliver a 58-54 victory.
The effort not only brought a tournament title to his program, but earned Robinson the event’s MVG (Most Valuable GymRat) Award.
Robinson immediately knew what all of that, accomplished against some of the best AAU competition nationally here, could mean to him personally.
“I hope this opens some eyes, gets me on the recruiting lists of some big programs,” said Robinson, a rising senior at Kingston High School.
“Right now I’ve been hearing from Marist, a little from Siena and from some low Division I-level and Division II programs,” he said. “My goal is to someday play in the Big East. I definitely want to play in Division I, and at the highest level possible. This should help.”
Those watching saw a tournament in which Robinson’s skills and contributions certainly belied his height. He used quickness, athleticism and rare court smarts to get into the lane for finishes or assists, to get and connect on open shots and, usually, just direct a well-run team-oriented offense.
Robinson had seven assists in the championship game, and his work often found wide-open teammates who delivered and helped the winners overcome build a seven-point lead with 2:38 left in regulation. The Lynx, though, rallied back and when guard Jordan Manse connected on a driving bucket in the closing seconds the game went into overtime.
And, Robinson took over again. He drove the lane to find teammate Tyler Sayre for an open bucket and, then, he made a free throw. The Lynx pulled to within two late in the OT, but was forced to foul Robinson with eight seconds left and he calmly sank both ensuing free throws to clinch the game, the championship and his MVG credentials.
“This is an awesome championship for our program,” said Eagles’ coach Jim Smith. “Justin Robinson is our catalyst. Both offensively and defensively….he runs the show.”
The B.C. Eagles, with players from New York’s Hudson Valley region, is now 29-5 in AAU games so far this spring.
“We’ve got players committed to team play and to good defense,” added Smith. “We’ve just got a bunch of good guys.”
Robinson epitomizes the squad’s team-first style.
“We’ve definitely got everyone playing together. We’re a real team,” he said. “Winning AAU games isn’t that hard if you’ve got a team committed to playing defense.”
Robinson said that he learned the lessons he’s employing now from a former Kingston High School standout, Tay Fisher who had a standout career at Siena College and now plays with the Harlem Globetrotters.
Like Robinson, Fisher was an undersized guard, but overcame that perceived deficiency to have a strong college career at Siena that included 229 made three-pointers.
“He has worked with me since I was little, and has really helped me learn the game,” said Robinson. “He is an inspiration to me.”
An example, too, showing that an undersized guard can have success at the Division I level, as long as someone is willing to take a chance.
Robinson’s performance in this year’s GymRat Challenge is likely to ensure a significant Division I program will give him a chance, too.
17:U MVG-MOST VALUABLE GYMRAT
Justin Robinson (5-7 PG) B.C. Eagles/Kingston H.S.: The smallest player on his team came up big throughout this event, playing superlative defense, running the team like a prototypical point guard and delivering big points when they were needed. Has the ability to go by defenders at will, and enough strength and leaping ability to finish at the rim against contact. He is adept at drawing and dishing, or pulling up for mid-range jumpers if the defense doesn’t compensate for his penetration. Good long-range shooting ability, too. Has heard from Marist, Siena and Monmouth, but looks like he might start drawing looks from higher-level programs.
17:U ALL-GYMRAT CHALLENGE TEAM
Kamahl Walker (5-9 PG) Bishop Elite//Bridgton Academy: Solid and quick point guard. Good decision maker with a smooth three-point shot and pull-up jumper. Can get to the glass and do damage there. A smooth left-hander who plays bigger than his height. Try team leader who leads both by example and vocally. Deceiving “ups” and is a quick and explosive driver. Getting looks from NE 10, but plans on a post-grad year at Bridgton.
Jonte Rutty (6-6 F) B.C. Eagles/Putnam Science Academy: Aggressive scorer who connected on three treys in a minute’s time in the championship game here. Crafty player with a nice long-range shooting touch. Also showed the ability to drive and pull up. Works hard on both ends of the floor. Has basketball smarts and should continue to improve. Put up big numbers and dominated all three pool-play games here.
Jamal Mosley (6-1 G/F) B.C. Eagles/Don Bosco H.S.: An athletic player who can really score. Strong and physical and uses those traits to his advantage. Sweet touch around the hoop as well as from three-point range. Active on both ends of the floor. Getting looks from America East and NEC teams. Plans on doing a post-graduate year at Putnam Science Academy.
Anthony Firkser (6-3 G) N.J. Cyclones/Manalapan H.S.: Has ability to play the point, and has great size and strength for the position. Can break down a defender off the dribble with quickness/handle or strength. High IQ player that stays composed under pressure. Lefty shooter with range. Offers from UNH and Monmouth. Hearing also from Ivies, America East teams and service academies.
Heriberto “Eddie” Rodriguez (5-8 PG) Springfield Heat/Holyoke H.S.: Tremendously skilled guard that scores at a high rate, but also plays at the point. Slight build, but deceptively quick and tough. Incredibly savvy with the ball and uses his smarts for scoring opportunities and to find open teammates. Good long-range shooter. He never gets rattled and is a real floor leader. A “sleeper” pick up for some program. Looking at junior colleges right now.
Mike Leniw (6-3 SG/SF) Wayne PAL Wolfpack/Mahwah H.S.: Solid guard that can score in a multitude of ways. Very smart with the ball, great decision maker. Very strong on-the-ball defender who also has great anticipation off the ball. Can play the point, and sees the court very well.
Craig Fitzgerald (6-5 PF) Evo Elite/Winchester H.S.: Great motor, a forward who goes after every rebound. Has great energy, provides the type hustle and determination that can change a game. Solid hands with long arms. Great touch around the rim.
Adam Weir (6-4 SG/SF) 716 Crusaders/Canisius H.S.): Great all-around player. He is skilled with the ball and can shoot it well from three-point range. Solid build already, and uses that strength to get to the rim. Needs to work on shot selection, but is highly competitive and a composed player. Getting looked at by, among others, Colgate, Hamilton and Cornell.
Jermaine Crumpton (6-5 PF) 716 Crusaders/Niagara Falls H.S.: Great hands and footwork for a power forward. Strong player who carves out space with his wide frame. Deceptively athletic player. Runs the floor exceptionally well for a “big.” Catches everything thrown to him in the post. Has heard from mid-majors, including Canisius and Boston University.
Greg Senet (6-7 PF) R.I. Breakers/Marianapolis Prep: Large, strong frame. Has a great motor when pushed competitively. Strong with back-to-basket moves. Very tough around the hoop. A beast both on the defensive end and on the glass. Huge upside and potential. Getting looks from Holy Cross and Lehigh.
Ryan Kelley (5-11 PG) N.J. Thunder/Roxbury H.S.: Scrappy point guard with tremendous quickness/toughness/ball-handling ability. Extremely tough to keep in front of defensively. Gets others involved and makes teammates better. He seemingly wills his teams to victory and never lets down on either side of the floor.
Pete Rankowitz (6-3 SG/SF) ABC-Krumins/Staples H.S.: Streaky scorer that can get it going and creates points quickly. Very strong to the rim. He can finish in a variety of ways around the goal. Tough on-ball defender. Puts forth maximum effort at all times. Some D-I interest from Colgate/Dartmouth.
Emmitt Holt (6-6 SF/PF) RAP-Zenkel/Webster Schroeder H.S.: Big power player with a great body and knows how to use his frame. Posted double-digit rebounds in all three pool games. Great hands and feet. Only a rising junior. Needs to work on 15-foot jumper and get in great shape to reach his peak. An under-the-radar guy who looks to be at least a low-to-mid Division I recruit.
Sam Eckstrom (6-8 C) Buffalo United Dragons/Olean H.S.: A prototypical big-body space eater. Gets great early position on the offensive end and, then, can finish over both shoulders. Great post moves for a young player. Only a rising junior. Decent range from 15-feet already. He has a high upside and should be a mid-major player. Already has an offer from U. Buffalo.
J.J. Wilkins (5-11 PG) Buffalo United Dragons/Niagara Falls H.S.: Lefty point guard who is great at attacking the rim and finishing with contact. Very active on defensive end. Had a trip double in pool play (points, rebounds, steals). A consistent jumper is the only thing holding him back from being a mid-major level recruit. Interest mostly from D-II level so far.
Bryson Lassiter (5-11 PG) NYC Jaguars/H.S. of the Arts: Lightning quick guard who can get to the rim and finish. Very quick shooting stroke. Gets it off in a hurry and against bigger guards. Strong build allows him to finish with contact. Excellent in transition. Good court vision when he is attacking the defense. Hearing from a number of schools from the MAAC.
Kevin Drian (6-6 PF) Syracuse Select-Pudney/Baldwinsville H.S.: Long post who plays really hard at all times. Great hands and finishes well inside. Goes after it on the offensive glass. Runs past other bigs in transition. Legit back-to-basket threat.
J.C. Show (6-2 PG) JB Hoops-Black/Abington Heights H.S.: Strong and tough point guard. Physically college ready right now and is only a rising junior. Great vision and always makes people better. Gets to the basket and finishes at will. Good shooter from 15 feet and even out to three-point range, although needs to be more consistent from beyond the bonus stripe to be a higher level D-I player. Has heard from St. Joe’s, Boston U, among others. Also a high-major (ACC/Big East) football recruit.
Eric Lofton (5-8 PG) Team N.J. Select/Union H.S.: Lightning quick point guard … might have been the quickest player here. Can get to any spot on the floor any time he wants. Height is the only thing holding him back from a high-major Division I future right now. Shoots it well from 15 and OK from three-point range. Needs a little more consistency from long range. Hearing from a number of MAAC schools.
Aaryngston Bibens (6-4 Wing) Albany City Rocks/Mt. Anthony H.S.: Strong, long wing player. He is an elite-level defender who completely shut down other teams’ best player in every game. Got to the basket off the dribble. Made a couple of shots here, but not a great shooter. Very hard to stop in transition. Potential reclassification and could wind up at a high level with another year of development. Was “Mr. Basketball” in Vermont this past season.
Joe Lufkin (5-9 PG) Albany City Rocks/Argyle H.S.: A scoring point guard. Averaged over 30 points per game in high school as a junior. A shoot-first player who can really get it going. Great finisher in transition. Crafty getting off a shot against bigger players. Very strong body. Size only drawback right now.
Joel Berroa (6-4 SF/PF) New England Storm-Silver/Central Catholic H.S.: A thick, physical wing who handles enough to create for himself or others. Good motor, particularly on the glass. Strong enough to finish in traffic. Showed a solid mid-range game and should be able to turn that into mismatch ability at the next level. Hearing from low D-I level and some NE 10’s.
Isaiah Helson (6-6 PF) New England Storm-Black/North Adams H.S.: Underrated, physical face-up power forward. Tremendous hands off the glass and on the block. Nice stroke from three-point land, making him the ideal trailer. Finishes through contact using his strength to create space. Very willing defender with good enough feet to guard multiple positions. Should have great pick-and-pop success. Fordham has shown early interest.
Matthew Farrell (6-1 PG) Raritan Roundballers/Point Pleasant Beach H.S.: Great tempo point guard. Slick handle, excellent change of speed and great with angles to get in the lane. Can finish in traffic but excels as a distributor. Has a knack for the big moment, and did show quick-release range in spots. Strength and stroke will determine his ultimate location. Just a rising junior. Hearing from Ivy League schools right now.
Steven Weidlich (6-0 G) Raritan Roundballers/Watching Hills H.S.: Slightly undersized shooting guard with a pure stroke. Showed a quick release off both catch and shoot, and coming off screens. Nailed five three-pointers in a mild upset over Albany City Rocks here. Handled ball well enough as a back-up point guard.
Matt Mobley (6-2 wing) Blackstone Valley Chaos/Worcester Academy: Explosive post-grad wing player. At his best in open spaces and attacking the rim. Loved to draw contact in transition and get to the line. Efficient with every bounce. Patient and smart in the lane. Decent stroke, but will need to extend range. Will also need to show aggressiveness at both ends at all times. LIU, Towson, Holy Cross, NE-10’s interested.
Colin Richey (6-2 PG) Blackstone Valley Chaos/Choate Rosemar Hall School: Smart PG with leadership skills and shooting ability. Only a rising junior. Showed great streak-shooting ability from three-point range … one make lead to two. Intelligent decision maker in the mid-range with solid elbow pull-up jumper. Tight handle and decision-making will carry him to the next level. Hearing from Vermont, Bryant and NE-10’s.
Evan Maxwell (6-9 C) JB Hoops-Purple/Arlington Heights H.S.: Extremely long, square young (rising junior) big with great potential. Pushed around a bit, but his length affected shots all weekend. Good feet on the block. Comfortable with both hands over both shoulders. Moves well for his size and willing to work. Added strength will improve aggressiveness and confidence. Chance for a double-double future at the college level.
Brendan Miller (6-3 G) New England Storm-Silver/North Andover H.S.: Sleeper wing with tools. Sneaky athlete on the break, attack contact near the basket. Handles enough now, but feel will enable him to be a more-competent handler. Great motor, good defender. Range will determine his ultimate level. Has time, as a rising junior, to continue development.
Mike Duffy (5-11 G) York Ballers/Southwestern H.S.: Sturdy, skilled combo guard. He can make shots from deep with quick, short release. Handles enough to protect and creates with great heads-up vision. Good physical frame and uses good angles to allow him to keep quick PGs in front. “Tweener” size will be a question mark, but dead-eye stroke makes him a player.
Joe Flannery (6-3 Wing) New England Storm-Silver/Canterbury Prep School: A big, strong and an athletic wing finisher. Great motor. Drives through contact to get to the rim. Made a few 3’s here, but not a pure shooter. Very willing defender that can guard up. Does all the little things that will make him an effective glue guy at the college level. Hearing from NESCAC level, possible interest from some NE 10’s.
Reveal Chukwujekwu (6-3 Wing) Houston Lynx/Strake School: Very strong wing player who excels at finishing around the basket, even against contact. He is very skilled and is built like a middle linebacker. Very aggressive player on both ends of the court. Really gets after it defensively and attacking the glass. Hearing mostly from Bucknell so far.
Larry Wilkins (5-10 SG) Houston Linx/The Kinkaid School: A rising junior with tremendous shooting stroke. He doesn’t need a lot of room to get his shot off with his quick stroke. Athletic enough to get to the basket and finish at the rim against contact. Handles fairly well, but looked to be a shooting guard here. He has a very quick first step. Attracting interest from TCU.
Edward Alade (6-9 C) Houston Lynx/Kemper H.S.: Has a long wingspan that makes him very effective around the basket. A defensive monster who blocks or alters shots. He excels on offense at catching and finishing around the basket. Showed some ability to catch and shoot mid-range jumper. Can get off his feet well. Has potential to dominate games at this level. A great get for Navy.
Dwayne Daniel (5-10 PG) L.I. Lightning-Ahem/Lawrence H.S.: Lightning quick guard who can get to the basket at will. He has great court vision and really makes his teammates better with passes that result in easy layups. Has a solid outside shot and can be a terrific on-the-ball defender. Just a rising junior. Has already drawn interest from Iona and Hofstra.
Dalique Mingo (6-2 Wing) L.I. Lightning-Ahem/Farmingdale H.S.: An athletic, scoring wing who is at his best attacking the basket. As a wing he does a great job of going to the glass on either end of the floor. Plays hard. He is an active on-the-ball defender who gets his share of steals and deflections with quick hands. Early interest from Hofstra, Quinnipiac.
Stephen Vasturia (6-6 SG) Jersey Shore Warriors/St. Joseph’s H.S.: Makes the game look easy. Great size for a shooting guard. Has a tremendous shooting stroke from all over the court. Does a great job of shot faking and taking one or two dribbles into a pull-up jumper. Can shoot off the dribble or off the screen. Tremendous IQ and vision when he takes a turn at the point. Committed to Notre Dame.
Greg Noack (6-8 PF) Jersey Shore Warriors/Liberty H.S.: Very mobile power forward who makes athletic finishes around the basket. Will be even better when he adds weight/strength to his frame. Already does a great job of crashing the offensive boards. Not afraid of contact or mixing it up. Showed a nice shooting touch here. Hearing from Siena, Fairfield and Monmouth.
Amar Stukes (6-2 G) Jersey Shore Warriors/LaSalle College H.S.: Smooth, athletic guard who does a great job of getting into the lane where he is a capable passer or scorer. Tremendous on-the-ball defender with quick hands. Never let down on the defensive end. Also is capable of knocking down open shots. Good handle. Hearing from La Salle, Siena and St. Joe’s.
Kyle Green (6-5 SF) Jersey Shore Warriors/Camden Catholic H.S.: Plays the game with high energy at all times. From the small forward position he does a great job of helping out on the boards. Also showed ability to catch-and-shoot very well. Clutch player who knocked down big shots when needed here. Getting some interest from Temple and U. Albany.
Stephen Small (6-8 F) Jersey Shore Warriors/La Salle College H.S.: Really looked great as a “stretch” 4 here. He is a deadly outside shooter who made countless big shots for his team. Opposing “big” has to come out and guard him. Showed great toughness on the glass and a desire to rebound and do all the necessary dirty work. Has heard from Fairfield.
Michael Reid (6-2 PG/SG) LP Fam Bandits/Malcom X. Shabazz H.S.: An athletic and quick scoring guard. He has the quickness and ball-handling ability to get into the lane at will. He is a tremendous on-the-ball defender. On the defensive end he gets more than his share of steals and deflections. Capable of moving over to play some point. Hearing from Quinnipiac.
Ryan Yerwood (6-6 SF) LP Fam Bandits/Benjamin Cardoza H.S.: Jack of all trades type forward. He is capable of scoring off the dribble or attacking the glass. A solid on-the-ball defender that will occasionally gamble too much. But, he is capable of getting off his feet and blocking shots on defensive end. Hearing from Norfolk State and Adelphi.
17:U ALL GYMRAT HONORABLE MENTION
Hugh Morris (6-7 C) House of Hoops/Ridge H.S.
Jordan Compas (6-3 G/F) House of Hoops/St. Anthony’s H.S.
Zachary Gratten (6-8 C) Bishop Elite/John Stark H.S.
Mabor Gabriel (6-8 C) Bishop Elite/Trinity H.S.
Majak Wentin (6-6 F) Bishop Elite/Manchester Memorial H.S.
Tyler Sayre (6-4 F) B.C. Eagles/Albertus Magnus H.S.
Kyle Smith (5-8 G) B.C. Eagles/Burke Catholic H.S.
Kip Stewart (5-11 G) R.I. Breakers/The Met School
Matt MacDonald (6-3 G) 716 Crusaders/ Canisius H.S.
Ramir Burton (6-2 G) 716 Crusaders/Niagara Falls H.S.
Rodney Morton (6-2 G) Evo Elite/Malden H.S.
Alex Perlman (6-4 F) CWB/Lakeland H.S.
Jack Eisenberg (6-0 G) CWB/Pleasantville H.S.
Ryan Curran (6-4 F) N.J. Thunder/Delbarton H.S.
Daniel Morse (6-1 G) Cortland Basketball/Tully H.S.
Josh Stacey (6-0 G) Racing Elite/Howard S. Billings H.S.
Chipper McClelland (6-0 G) ABC-Galvin/Ridgefield H.S.
Jamell Lockhart (6-0 G) NY Falcons/North Rockland H.S.
Jack Sullivan (6-0 G) N Falcons/Albertus Magnus H.S.
Michael Signer (6-4 F) Wayne PAL Wolfpack/Morris Knolls H.S.
Jamarie Hall (6-7 C0 Bay State Magic/Dennis-Yarmouth H.S.
Marcus Middleton (6-0 G) Bay State Magic/Stoughton H.S.
Joey Feinberg (6-0 G) B.C. Eagles-NUTT/Don Bosco H.S.
Andrew Nutt (6-4 PF) B.C. Eagles/Burke Catholic H.S.
Eric Souler (6-7 F) Lone Wolf Athletics/MMU School
Zach Bouton (5-7 PG) Cornwall Dragons/Cornwall H.S.
Weston Wilbur (6-4 F) ABC-Krumins/Wilton H.S.
Tom Lacey (6-6 F) N.J. Cyclones/Seton Hall Prep
Carson Murphy (6-5 F) D-Squad/Mohawk Central School
Dan Decker (5-11 G) Monmouth Power/Timothy Christian
Doug Gamel (6-5 F) NE Storm/Central Catholic H.S.
Mitch Herman (6-4 F) Rap-Zenkel/Webster Schroeder H.S.
Zachary Ayers (6-9 C) Rap-Zenkel/McQuaide H.S.
Hasson Harrington (5-7 G) Mt. Pleasant Bulldogs/ Marianna Brascetti H.S.
Kyle Lobis (6-2 G) Buffalo United Dragons/Berkshire Prep
Tyree Tyson (65 F) Buffalo United Dragons/East H.S.
Aaron Smith Jr. (6-2 G) N.J. Trailblazers/Ferris Jersey City
Hamilton Capellan (6-2 G) N.J. Trailblazers/Bound Break
Jonathan Rodriguez (5-9 G) N.J. Trailblazers/Cardinal McCarrick H.S.
Earic McCallum (6-7 C) Newburgh Zion/Newburgh Free Academy
Raymond Hayes (6-2 G) Team N.J. Select Stars-Orange/Linden H.S.
Ryan Wilson (6-4 F) NYC Jaguars/Holy Cross H.S.
Chris Turnbull (6-3 G) NJ Gym Ratz/Ridgewood H.S.
Domonic Derrick Wilson (6-4 F) NJ Gym Ratz/Cresskill H.s.
Danielle Pierrot (6-2 G) L.I. Knights/St. Anthony’s
Ryan Hickey (5-11 G) L.I. Knights/Ward Melville
Bryce Boggs (6-1 G) Shooting Stars/Xavarian
Stephen Edmonds (5-9 G) Shooting Stars/Attleboro
Isaiah Robinson (6-6 F) Shooting Stars/St. John’s Prep
Josh Gillard (6-2 G) Syracuse Select/Oswego
Patrick Twiss (6-4 F) Syracuse Select/Mexico
Adrew Moran (6-4 F) JB Hoops-Black/Scranton H.S.
Patrick Mensah (5-11 G) Hudson River Hornets/St. Joe’s Regional
Terrance McNair (6-5 F) Hudson River Hornets/Nyack
Rashaan Johnson (6-5 F) Team NJ Select Stars ADK/Passaic
Damon Lynn (5-11 G) Team NJ Select Stars ADK/Union Catholic
Nate Robinson (6-7 C) Albany City Rocks/CBA
Alex Doche (6-6 F) Albany City Rocks/Fairport
Keegan Ryan (6-7 C) Lake Champlain Lakers/Beekmantown Central
Connor Costello (6-5 F) Blackstone Valley/Nobles & Greenough
Matt Clark (6-5 F) JB Hoops-Purple/Dunmore
Brandan Federici (6-3 F) Game 7 Sharks/Colts Neck
Austin Uhl (6-4 F) LL Running Rebels/Salisbury
Taaj Williams (6-2 G) LL Running Rebels/Lincoln Leadership Academy
Andrew Ruffen (6-2 G) NE Storm-Black/Salem
Mason Dietrich (6-4 F) York Ballerrs/Danagle
Ethan Sutton (6-0 G) York Ballers/Dallastown
Caslin Hayman (5-9 G) Bay State Flash/Rivers School
Devon Williams (6-0 G) Bay STate Flash/Thayer Academy
Jared Neves (6-7 F) Bay State Flash/St. Paul’s School
Luke Petrasek (6-9 C) LI Lightning/Joyce/Northport
Jon Schreer (6-2 G) Raritan Roundballers-Told/Gill St. Bernards
Ryan McDonnell (6-6 F) Raritan Roudballers-Gold/Newark Academy
David St. Peter’s (6-8 C) Bay State Flash/Gloucester
Josh Ivey (6-3 G) Salt City Shakers/Nottingham
Rickwon Walker (6-9 C) LP Fam Bandits/Linden
Dwayne Dixon (6-5 F) LP Fam Bandits/Malcom X. Shabazz
Abel Yekah (6-7 C) LP Fam Bandits/Malcom X. Shabazz
Pat Caruso (6-3 G) Team Albany/Queen City Prep
Michael Parkey (5-8 G) Radiant Suns/Watchung Hills
Calvin Dean (6-0 G) Houston Lynx/Bellaire
Kerry Green (6-10 G) Houston Lynx/Fort Bend Elkins
Jordan Manse (6-2 G) Houston Lynx/Lake Travis H.S.
Merdic Green (6-3 G) Jersey Shore Warriors/Harry S. Truman
Mike Cannizzo (6-0 G) Mechanicville H.S.
Ralph Erickson (5-9 G) Dream Team/La Salle
Thiago Randazzo (6-4 F) East Coast Panthers/Kennedy H.S.
Hunter Sabety (6-7 C) LI Lightning-Ahem/Oceanside
Mike Lumic (5-9 PG) Syracuse Select/Cicero North
Nick Simpson (6-3 G) Boston Warriors-Blue/Brighton
Max Risch (6-6 F) Boston Warriors-Blue/Williston North
Thomas Banacum (6-6 F) Jersey Hot Shots/Scotch Plains-Fenwood
Clayton Hess (6-5 F) Buffalo Titans/Tonawanda
Jack Fay (6-7 F) ABC-Rubin/Suffield Academy
Jack Hewitt (6-7 F) ABC-Rubin/Scarsdale
16:U AGE DIVISION
TEAM INSANE EMULATES OTHERS’ SUCCESS TO EARN GYMRAT TITLE
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Team Insane head coach Kyle Wilson knows it doesn’t hurt to pick up some pointers from other teams that have had AAU tournament success.
The program, from the Philadelphia area, saw its regional counterpart the Jersey Shore Warriors capture the 17-under GymRat CHALLENGE age bracket title in 2011 and tried to learn from that.
“We watched that team when we were here last year, and told our players that’s what an AAU team should be,” said Wilson.
And, then, Team Insane met the Jersey Shore Warrior’s 16-under level team in the first round of this year’s event, and trailed by four points late in the contest.
“We came back to win (52-50), but we saw that the Warriors knew how to play,” added Wilson. “They really executed plays. We knew we had to play more like that.”
The lessons learned from that game, and from observing last year’s 17-under championship team’s performance, finally paid dividends in this year’s event.
Wilson’s Team Insane squad continued to advance through this year’s tournament and, eventually, captured the 2012 GymRat CHALLENGE title with a well-executed 57-45 victory over the B.C. Eagles in Sunday’s championship contest Sunday at Union College.
Wilson’s son, 6-foot point guard Chase Wilson, was the division’s Most Valuable GymRat. He had 17 points in the close tournament-opening victory over the Warriors and followed that up with double-figure scoring efforts in every game while running the offense to near perfection.
“He provided with a little bit of everything,” said Wilson, the coach. “He made good decisions here. We struggled at times because of the heat and because we only had eight players here. But, we played well together.
“That’s the way we have to play. There were a lot of teams here with real `A’-level players. We don’t have anyone like that. We have a lot of ‘B’ players and, maybe, a couple of `A-minus’ players. It means everyone has to fill a role and play well together.
“And, then, getting our first win on Saturday in this tournament against the Jersey Shore Warriors, a terrific team, really gave us a confidence boost.”
That confidence grew as Team Insane continued to advance and different players emerged in just about every game.
Armand Sorrentino, a 6-foot-4 forward, led Team Insane with 20 points (including 18 points on six three-pointers) in the championship game. Wilson added 11 points and 6-5 forward Kevin McFall and 5-11 guard Matt Scamuffo chipped in with 10 points apiece.
The championship game’s balanced effort epitomized the team’s effort throughout the GymRat event.
And likely marked Team Insane’s play as something to be emulated by others.
16:U MVG-MOST VALUABLE GYMRAT
Chase Wilso (6-0 PG) Team Insane A/Wissahickon H.S.: A scoring point guard who also runs a team well. He got the championship team out in transition and delivered passes to open teammates. A more-than-capable shooter who can score when called upon, including a team-high 17-point effort in the event’s semifinal round that included 14 points in the second half in a come-from-behind victory. Active defender and a true team leader.
16:U ALL-GYMRAT CHALLENGE TEAM
Jaron Smith (6-1 SG) N.J. Crusaders/Marist H.S.: The go-to guy on his team, and a vocal leader. Incredibly aggressive getting into the paint. Gets to the free-throw line often and finishes through contact. Solid mid-range game with a deadly pull-up jumper out to 12-to-15-foot range.
Mark Flynn (6-5 PF) Rising Stars-Hughes/St. Dominic H.S.: An active and aggressive performer with a strong body who uses it to play physically. Pulls down rebounds in bunches. A leader on the floor both with his actions and vocally in big situation. Has massive hands, and catches everything thrown to him. A terrific athlete and high-level baseball (pitcher) recruit.
Mitchell Cohen (6-8 C/PF) New Jersey Thunder/Sparta H.S.: A strong body that is still developing. A post player who doesn’t struggle getting up and down the floor. Excellent student of the game. He is active at both ends and goes out of his area for rebounds. Post moves a work in progress, but shows good poise with the ball on the block and passes out of the post well. Early Patriot League interest.
Tim Walsh (6-0 SG) Mass Premier Elite/Attleboro H.S.: Might have been the best shooter in the tournament. Great form, quick trigger and a consistent/true release on every shot. Other skills still developing, but his lethal shooting and ability to move without the ball impacts the whole game. Defenders can’t help off him or dare to play zone against his teams.
Jesse Bunting (6-6 PF) South Shore Wolf Pack/Plymouth North H.S.: A bruising forward who plays with a phenomenal motor. Pulls in rebounds with authority and has a good knack for blocking shots despite not having overwhelming length. Showed a good touch on the block, too. Mae multiple hook shots from the post in this event.
Kyle Lentini (6-5 PF) Evo Elite/Pingree H.S.: A really strong young man who turns rebounds into offense on the offensive glass. Terrific outlet pass off defensive rebounds. Tough and very physical inside player. He can handle the ball in short spurts and also showed a good jumper out to three-point range when his feet are set.
Chima Azuonwu (6-11 C) Team Frenji/Stepinac H.S.: Biggest player (6-11, 255 pounds) here. He only started playing less than a year ago and is still a bit raw on the offensive end. But, he is already a solid defensive presence. Long with a pro body and, maybe, the best future prospect here. He runs the floor well, blocks shots and can rebound.
Matt Staubi (5-8 PG) Team Frenji/Rye Country Day School: A natural floor leader with superlative court vision. He also has a consistent outside shot. Can handle the ball really well in any situation. Small in stature, but doesn’t back down from anyone. Runs an offense, passes well and makes teammates better. Played hard at all times during this event. He is a great competitor. Some early interest from Siena.
Kevin Degnan (6-7 PF) Team Frenji/Pearl River H.S.: He is a face-up power forward with a great skill level. Very versatile forward with good size and a build that will fill out. He can shoot from the outside, post up or attack you off the bounce. Very good court IQ. Handles the ball well enough for his size, and finds open teammates with good passes. Showed a great feel for the game here.
Dontay Caruthers (6-0 PG/SG) Rochester Playmakers/East H.S.: A dynamic combo guard with great explosiveness and a quick first step that regularly got him past defenders. Very aggressive player who is always in an attack mode. Aggressive on the defensive end, too, and loves to play defense. Capable of playing either guard spot well. Excellent physical build with good athleticism. Can get into the lane and dunk. Early interest from U. Buffalo.
Dominic Antonelli (6-0 SG) Central Penn Ballers/Red Land H.S.: A solid, all-around player with a consistent outside shot. Very versatile player. Does a lot of good things while playing within himself. Always seems to make the right play. Outstanding hoops’ IQ. He is a good defender and clearly has a good feel for the game. Getting early interest from Ivy League schools.
Zack Heeman (6-8 C) New Jersey Panthers/Mt. Olive H.S.: A big (250 pounds) physical inside presence. He has solid low-post moves and is an effective finisher under the basket. Already has a college-sized body. He moves well up and down the court, as well as in the offense, for someone his size. Rebounds the ball well and has good hands. Catches everything thrown to him.
Josuwha Ford (5-6 PG/SG) N.J. Gym Rats-Allen/Fort Lee H.S.: A very quick guard with excellent one-on-one moves and a natural knack for scoring. A little small for a shooting guard, but he played both there and at the point in this tournament. He has a solid, strong build. Showed a nice mid-range game here. When driving to the basket he had one of the best first steps in the tournament. Getting D-I interest.
Zachary Allen (6-4 C) NC Ballaz/New Canaan H.S.: Only a rising sophomore, but showed an advanced level of footwork and understanding of the game for someone so young. He has a good build (200 pounds), and has a nice shooting touch around the rim. Already a decent passer. Uses his body well at both ends. A good rebounder. He plays a hard, clean game.
Jake Dadika (6-0 PG/SG) New Jersey Pirates/Spotswood H.S.: An excellent outside shooter, who can play either guard position. Very good ball-handling skills and an ability to create his own shot when pressured. Very competitive and plays extremely hard on every play. Very quick player, with a good feel for the game.
Garry Baumer (6-0 PG/SG) New Jersey Pirages/East Brunswick H.S.: An excellent catch-and-shoot player. He is a shrewd offensive player who knows how to move well without the ball. Showed a nice ability to use screens to get open for shots. Also has the ability to attack the basket when pressured. Capable of playing at either guard position.
Kharee Hudeen (5-8 PG) Hard2Guard/Brearly H.S.: A solid point guard with a consistent 3-point shooting ability. He possesses excellent ball-handling skills. A very quick player, he is capable of going past defenders. Short in stature, but good physical build and uses strength as part of his game. A good floor leader with good passing skills. Early interest from Wagner and Penn State.
Kamil Brown (6-4 SG/SF) Hard2Guard/Elizabeth H.S.: A highly skilled guard. Uses his skill arsenal … quickness and dribbling skills … to get to the basket at will. Still developing physically, but already tall enough to finish when he gets into the lane. Smooth player with a very good first step. Showed ability to hit outside shot if left open.
James Ezell (6-2 SG) Central Penn Ballers/Harrisburg H.S.: A high-level athlete with a very quick first step that enables him to get past the initial defender and to get into the lane at will. A good, solid physical build already enables him to do damage in the lane on the offensive end. Plays hard, a real high-energy player who uses his will to get more than his share of rebounds.
Joshua Trumpy (6-7 PF/C) Central Penn Ballers/Trinity H.S.: A good athlete with good height who will continue to improve as his frame fills out. Already has a nice touch around the rim. He can face up and attack the basket and finish strong with above the rim. Can shoot the short jumper and has good hands. Has a skill set that would enable him to play any front-court position.
Fred Rivers (6-4 PF/SF) Boston Warriors/New Mission H.S.: A highly skilled player with a nice shooting touch both inside and outside. He can create off the bounce and score from the low post. He has a nice feel for the game, and he’s very mobile for his size. Already a good, strong (240 pounds) body. If he keeps developing there’s no reason he shouldn’t be a Division I-level player.
Shaquan Murray (5-11 PG/SG) Boston Warriors/New Mission H.S.: He plays with a lot of poise. Always seems to be one step ahead of the defense. Very good court IQ. He can create off the bounce for himself, or penetrate and dish to open teammates. Outstanding in the transition game offensively with a great feel for the game. Showed ability to play either guard spot in this event.
Nick Tarantino (6-7 C/PF) Boston Warriors/BB&N School: A big (210 pounds) young man with good mobility. He is very active on the boards. Can score from the block, but also showed a nice touch out to the 3-point line. Also good shot-blocker and rebounder under the basket. Has good hands. Catches everything. Looks to have Division I potential if he keeps growing.
Olufemi Olujobi (6-6 C) Team Express/Brentwood H.S.: A skilled big man (240 pounds) with a nice shooting touch not only around the rim but out to the free-throw line. He can put it on the floor and attack the basket, as well. Has a very high motor, rebounds well and is a solid shot-blocker. Plays hard at all time and is fighting for every loose ball.
David Jenkins (6-0 SG) Maryland Hoopmasters/Franklin H.S.: A very crafty one-on-one player with excellent ball-handling skills. Very good first step, enables him to get past initial defenders and, then, he can finish in traffic. Very good ball-handling skills for an off-guard. He can also shoot from the perimeter when left open.
Juwan Dorsey (6-5 C) Maryland Hoopmasters/Liberty H.S.: Still a bit raw, but has a developing physical body and showed decent footwork here in the post. Also exhibited a nice shooting touch around the rim. Has very soft hands and catches everything. Always ready to accept a pass from driving teammates, and to create offense once he receives it.
Eric Anderson (6-6 F) Jersey Shore Warriors/Haverford School: A forward who affects the game in multiple ways with a variety of physical skills. He is extremely skilled for a 6-foot-6 player, and showed a high basketball IQ. He can shoot from deep, dribble well for his size and makes nice passes. He rebounds well and has a nice break-starting outlet pass. A tough match-up based on size and skill. Interest from Fairfield, Davidson, Princeton so far.
Jules Brown (6-5 PG) Jersey Shore Warriors/Lower Merion H.S.: A tall, long lead guard who is still growing. He has great vision and is an exceptional passer. His height gives him the advantage of a higher sight line from the point. He creates in the full court and is always thinking pass first. Knows how to finish in traffic and on the break. Will get even better as confidence grows. Only a rising sophomore.
Chris Glover (6-4 SF) Jersey Shore Warriors/St. Joe’s Prep: A young (rising sophomore), solidly built (200 pounds) small forward who is very athletic. His shooting range extends to the three-point line. Combines his athleticism with a high motor. Very good rebounder and finisher around the rim. Scores inside with post moves and can break defenders down from the perimeter.
Tyrell Long (6-4 SF/PF) Jersey Shore Warriors/Bishop McDevitt H.S.: A long and lanky athletic forward. He explodes to the rim for dunks and is capable of finishing with either hand. He is highly competitive on the defensive end, and he impacts the game at both ends. Handles the ball well in the open court. Has good enough inside moves to produce points in the paint.
Jacquen Ingram (6-6 F) Firm AC Elite: A long and athletic forward who is very active at both ends. He is a rebounding machine, despite his slender build (165 pounds), using his length and motor to snatch rebounds or keep balls alive. He dunks in space with ease. In the post he has a nice lefty hook that he can go to when he catches it deep.
Purnell Wilson (5-9 PG) Team Insane/Perkiomen H.S.: He has Division I quickness and it is absolutely impossible for defenders to stay in front of him. Exceptional at attacking the rim in the open floor. He changes speeds well and creates for others when help collapses. He can finish in traffic. He impacts the game defensively, too, with quick hands and deflections.
Narcisese Kalamba (6-6 Wing) QC United/St. Jean Baptiste School: A long and athletic wing with a basketball body. He is very smooth in the open floor and glides easily to the basket. He is capable from outside the arc but he is always attacking because opponents have a hard time keeping him out of the paint. Uses his length and athleticism to defend and make plays. Plays on Canada’s 17-under National Team.
Joel Tshimanga (6-7 Wing) QC United/St. Jean Baptiste School: An extremely long, athletic wing. He has a high upside because he is still learning how good he can be. Excels in transition and in getting to the rim. He has a quick second jump. In the half court he can change direction to beat his defenders. Always active on the defensive glass and in competing to get deflections.
Jason Ganley (6-5 F) Blackstone Valley Chaos/Northridge H.S.: A forward with good length, toughness and bounce. He is a solid all-around player with a particular knack for scoring. He can make contested shots, and has a shooting range out to 17 feet. Averaged 17 ppg. as a varsity sophomore this past high school season. Very active on the glass on both ends. Showed a nice pull-up jumper.
Carl Charles (6-4 F) Radiant Suns/Rutgers Prep: A rising sophomore who was a key component on a state championship team this past high school season. Already 6-4 and, probably, still growing into his lanky frame. He does it all and does everything well. He rebounds, defends and is constantly talking and encouraging his teammates. He scores by slashing to the rim and uses his high motor to do little things needed to help teams win.
Ben Hackett (6-3 F) Syracuse Select/Bishop Ludden H.S.: A super athletic forward who is very good at exploding and finishing above the rim. His tip dunk may have been the single-most impressive display of athleticism at this age level. He has a strong frame, long arms and a great basketball frame. When he develops his jumper consistently he will be hard to stop. Early interest from St. Bona’s, Boston U.
Avery Feldman (6-2 PF) L.I. Lightning-Rothman/Hewlett H.S.: A very skilled player with a high basketball IQ. He is a flat-out scorer with a great touch around the basket. Best when picking and popping. Deadly jumper from 17-feet and in. He competes and has a variety of fakes to score and get fouled.
Liam Bruno (6-3 SF/PF) Massachusetts Bearcats/Newton North H.S.: A very thick (220 pounds) and physical power forward who is very skilled. Extremely productive when using his lower body to help secure rebounds. Great feel for the game. Can shoot, dribble and pass. Very unselfish player who creates by beating taller players off the bounce.
Alex Hilger (6-2 SG) Massachusetts Bearcats/Naticle H.S.: A shooting guard with an all-around game. He is very aggressive in transition, attacking the basket. He also showed a nice pull-up jumper with range extending to the three-point line. He has a high motor, enabling him to get more than his share of rebounds. High motor and very competitive on the defensive end.
Travis Dickerson (6-2 PG) L.I. Lightning-Law/St. Dominic H.S.: One of the best players at this level and a true coach’s dream. He competes at both ends on every possession. He is extremely fast and stops on a dime. He is aggressive attacking the rim and is tall enough to finish in traffic. Also has great court vision and is very unselfish. An exciting player to watch. Early interest from Boston College.
Kieran Hamilton (5-10 G) NYC Jaguars/Holy Cross H.S.: A 3-point shooter who can put up big numbers. Named to the Puerto Rico 16-under national team. Comes from a basketball family (dad played in the NBA, and brothers play professionally overseas). Smart player who reads the defense and pulls up for a 3-pointer, drive or penetrates and pitches. Great body control. As body continues to develop he can be special. Many D-I programs already interested.
Jeremy Bonifacio (6-5 C) NYC Jaguars/Holy Cross H.S.: A rebounding machine. All overall the boards and sticks with it until he either secures the ball or scores it. Excellent “ups” Good size already and is only a rising sophomore. Good inside game. Has a pivot move that results in a turn-around-jumper. Excellent shot-blocker. Finishes with his right or left hand.
Qadry Calloway (5-8 PG) House of Hoops/Bayonne H.S.: Quick and athletic guard who plays either backcourt position. Gets to the glass in transition. Can put up big numbers in a hurry. Good distributor, makes teammates better. Crafty, left-handed scorer. Keep an eye on him. He’ll go as far as his physical development allows.
Calvin Crawford (6-8 F) BC Eagles-LaFrance/Valley Central H.S.: Long and lanky forward who can play inside and out. Three-point shooter, nice touch. High-post game yet can throw down a dunk. A special player. Excellent hands. Good turnaround jumper and solid pivot game. A factor on the boards. A player who worked hard and earned recognition here. If he gets stronger, so will his game. Excellent hi-low passer. Much potential.
Benny Brown (6-2 G) B.C. Eagles-LaFrance/Burke Catholic H.S.: Long and athletic. Good ball-handler and has a nice outside shot. Has the ability to draw and dish. Drives to the hoop well. Keep an eye on him, potential to get interest at a high major level. Cuts hard without the ball. Attacks the defense off the dribble. Big-time “ups,” and crashes offensive boards.
16:U ALL-GYMRAT CHALLENGE HONORABLE MENTION
Ryan Byrnes (6-3 G) House of Hoops/Ridge H.S.
Mike Coffey (5-11 G) B.C. Eagles/Monroe-Woodbury
Travis Cook (6-3 F) B.C. Eagles-LaFrance/Middletown
Jack Dwyer (5-9 PG) B.C. Eagles-LaFrance/St. Benedicts Prep
Anthony Salmon (6-1 G) B.C. Eagles-LaFrance/Newburgh Free Academy
Daniel Alexander (6-2 F) NYC Jaguars/Elmont H.S.
Mark Campbell (6-5 F) NYC Jaguars/Elmont H.S.
Isaiah Scott (5-11 PG) New Jersey Pirates/West Orange H.S.
Isaiah McNeill (6-3 C) New Jersey Pirates/West Orange H.S.
Francis Depina (5-7 PG) Boston Warriors/Snowden H.S.
Kareem Murrell (6-0 SG) Boston Warriors/Snowden H.S.
Justin McCarthor (5-11 PG) Central Penn Ballers/Susquehanna Township
Anthony Wright (6-5 F) Central Penn Ballers/Central Dauphin East
Treyvaughn Davis (6-4 F) New Jersey Panthers/Morristown
Jesse Warech (6-2 G) New Jersey Panthers/Montville
Alex Wightman (6-6 PF) New Jersey Panthers/Oratory Prep
Matthew Alden (6-3 F) Renegades-Whalen/William Tennent H.S.
Evan Dourdas (5-5 PG) Syracuse Nets/JDHS
Vincent Pace (6-3 SG) Raritan Roundballers/Bridgewater-Raritan
Pavin Parish (5-9 PG) Lone Wolf Athletics/Rochester
Chris Collins (6-5 C) Lone Wolf Athletics/U-32
Brendan O’Shea (5-9 PG) Lone Wolf Athletics/St. Johnsbury
Anthony Gaines (6-1 G) Newburgh Zion Lions/Kingston H.S.
Elijah Ghrael (6-4 PF) Newburgh Zion Lions/Newburgh Free Academy
Jakwan Jones (6-6 PF/C) Newburgh Zion Lions/Newburgh Free Academy
Paul Endin (6-2 G) Team Frenji/Edgemont
Sean Springer (5-11 G) Vermont United/Mount Mansfield Union
Tommie Banks (6-7 PF) Rochester Playmakers/East High
Thomas Kanaley (6-3 F) Rochester Playmakers/DeSales
Kamren Small (6-6 F) Rochester Playmakers/Edison Tech
Jake Sinicki (6-2 G) Southern Tier Basketball/Maine-Endwell
Michael Reinerstein (5-8 G) L.I. Rising Stars/St. Anthony’s
Matthew Pondolfi (6-3 F) L.I. Rising Stars/Southside
Austin Nydegger (6-0 G) Albany City Rocks/Burnt Hills
Josh Brodie (5-9 G) Team Insane B/Central Buck South
Michael Hershman (6-2 G) Mass Premier Elite/Mansfield H.S.
Rocky DeAndrede (5-9 G) Mass Premier Elite/Mansfield High
Armand Sorrentino (6-4 F) Team Insane A/Archbishop Carroll
Tyler Robinson (5-11 G) Kingston Komets/Kingston
Samuel McClellan (6-6 F) N.J. Thunder/West Morris
Anthony Morris (6-4 F) N.J. Thunder/University Newark
Ryan Funk (6-4 F) The Crusaders/Clarence H.S.
Cody Zafran (6-0 PG) L.I. Lightning-Rothman/East Meadow
Kevin Martinez (6-2 SF) NY Gym Ratz-Ryan/Clarkstown South
John Madsen (6-6 PF) Massachusetts Bearcats/Needham
Jordan Jachim (5-6 PG) LVBS Elite/ Notre Dame Green Pond
Matt Scamuffo (5-11 ) Team Insane/Central Bucks
Dante Gray (5-9 PG) B.C. Eagles/Monroe-Woodbury
Jake Silpe (6-0 PG) Jersey Shore Warriors/Cherry Hill East
Eric Stafford (6-3 G) Jersey Shore Warriors/Pitman H.S.
David LaBassiere (6-2 SF) Evolution-Vidal/Stoneham
Charlie Irwin (5-10 P) Stamford Peace/Ridgefield
Jordy Idikayi (6-8 C) QC United/Honore Mercier
James Suber (6-2 F) Mt. Pleasant Bulldogs/Sayre H.S.
Abdul Hill (6-3 F) King Street Kings/Columbia
Eddie Dominguez (6-2 G) King St. Kings/St. Anthony’s
Robert Gordon (5-10 G) King St. Kings/Columbia
Tyreke Woodward (6-3 F) Kings St. Kings/Columbia
Dan Kaigler (6-5 PF) Syracuse Select/Bishop Ludden
Kenadeed Gilmore (6-1 SF) NY Golden Eagles/New Paltz
Aden Gilmour (6-3 PF) NY Golden Eagles/New Paltz
Morgan Jackson (6-0 SG) NY Golden Eagles/Peekskill
Isaya Dolson (5-7 G) NY Golden Eagles/Washingtonville
Arjun Natarajan (6-3 SG) Hard2Guard/Blair Academy
Andre Williams (6-1 G) Hard2Guard/Brearley
Wafig Reid (6-5 PF) Hard2Guard/Elizabeth H.S.
15:U AGE DIVISION
TEAM SCAN GETS TESTED, DELIVERS ON WAY TO GymRat CHALLENGE TITLE
SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — There almost always comes a time in any competition that a team aspiring to reach the top gets tested.
Those tests serve as the greatest measurements of the heart of a champion, and that test came relatively early for Team Scan in the 15-under age division at this year’s GymRat CHALLENGE tournament.
The test came in the second game of pool play late Saturday night against the Renegades of the Philadelphia area. In that contest Team Scan, which came into the event rated No. 4 nationally among AAU programs at its age level, trailed by 12 points with 2:37 left in the contest.
Heart of a champion? Team Scan had all of that and more, clamping down on the defensive end and putting its talent to work offensively to rally back and earn a 45-44 victory that allowed it to advance to the championship bracket.
Once there, Team Scan dominated play including earning a lopsided 61-39 victory over the Pennsylvania Cats Basketball Club to capture the age division title and maintain its position as one of the top AAU programs nationally.
Team Scan’s greatest test, though, came a day earlier in the contest with the Renegades.
“We knew the Renegades would be a tough opponent, and when we were down late in the game against them we took a timeout and just looked at each other and the guys said: `Let’s get three or four stops in a row, and just don’t settle for anything on the offensive end,’ ” said Team Scan coach Terrance Williams. “We knew we had to run our plays, and run them quickly.”
Over the last 2:37 Team Scan went on a 14-1 run with the scoring evenly distributed down the stretch to pull out the victory.
“We just woke up and played together as a team,” added Williams. “We’ve got a team full of shooters who can score the ball. We blocked a couple of shots. We had good, unselfish floor balance and we ran some great plays. Our kids like playing together.”
Chris Atkinson, an athletic 5-foot-7 point guard, ensured that Team Scan played well together down the stretch against the Renegades, often getting into the lane and finding open teammates.
“He’s the point guard and sets the whole table for us,” said Williams. “He’s a great decision maker.”
After beating the Renegades, the decision about what team would capture the division title was just about made. Team Scan won all four of its championship bracket games by double figures.
15:U MVG-MOST VALUABLE GYMRAT
Chris Atkinson (5-7 PG) Team Scan/Long Island Lutheran: He is the player who makes Team Scan go. A superb ball-handler with an explosive first step. Makes all the good decisions required of a point guard, and makes them even at a fast pace. Extremely valuable player at both ends of the court. He can take over a game whenever necessary. Exceptional passer, and he can shoot from three-point range. Scored a team-high 14 in the division’s championship game.
15:U ALL-GYMRAT CHALLENGE TEAM
Omar Little (5-7 PG) Firm AC-Perez/Loyalsok H.S.: Terrific shooter with excellent range, out to three-point territory and beyond. A lefty point guard who runs a team well, too. He has a nice touch and uses quickness, dribble skills to get to the hoop off the dribble and finish once he gets there.
Patrick Racy (6-4 C) Stamford Peace/Ridgefield H.S.: A player with good size. Slender, but long. Has a versatile game, a variety of skills. Good hands. Catches the ball in the post and looks for open teammates. Passes the ball very well for a big man.
Luke McLaughlin (6-4 F) NY Falcons/Tappan Zee H.S.: Good-sized forward who can score inside and out. Hits the baseline jumper with regularity. Can face but can also play with back to the basket. Moves well without the ball. Should have a bright college future if he continues to grow.
Hanad Yusuf (5-9 PG) Ottawa Phoenix/Ottawa Louis Riel H.S.: The unquestioned floor leader of his team. Handles the ball well, runs the team and has great court vision. Sees the whole court. Very quick guard who excels at going past defenders, driving into the lane and dishing off.
Elijah McNeely (5-11 PG) L.I. Lightning-Mark Blue/Cardoza H.S.: A very athletic point guard who can really handle the ball. He has the ability to see the court and to make other players better. Excellent passer in transition. One of the top true point guards in the tournament.
Travis Atson (6-4 F) L.I. Lightning-Mark Gold/Christ The King H.S.: Has very good hands. Rebounds well in traffic. Can shoot from perimeter, but also works well inside and finishes around the hoop. Very strong going to the bucket. Looks to have a bright future.
Mark Karmiy (6-2 F) Bay State Jaguars/Newton South H.S.: Very aggressive player who overcomes his relative lack of height for a forward to get things done. Moves very well and gets to the hoop well in transition. Showed ability to finish at the hoop when he gets there.
Andrew Schultz (6-2 F) CWB/East Charter H.S.: A very adept scorer who has a nice touch on short jumpers, even on bank shots. Can finish around the hoop. Moves well without the ball. Good offensive rebounder for his height.
Kelly Hogan (6-6 C) Sports U Team Izod/Seton Hall Prep: Very strong low-post player. Decent footwork around the hoop. Showed an effective spin move in the post. Uses his size/strength to draw fouls. A bit of a throwback from an earlier era in that he is a true low-post player.
Chase Kumor (6-3 F) Renegades Nichols/Plain Charter H.S.: Very nice player on a well-balanced team. He is a consistent player, always plays hard yet under control. Good passer for a forward. Looks to find the open man and delivers good passes. Showed the ability to finish strongly in transition.
Thomas Bryant (6-9 C) Team Scan/Bishop Kearney H.S.: A big, long and athletic big man. Plays well above the rim. Finishes strong. Athletic for his size. Will also block and alter opponents’ shots. Showed a great right-handed baby hook. Already an accomplished player and could get even better.
Cheick Diallo (6-8 C/F) Team Scan/Our Savior New America H.S.: A long, athletic player who scores with ease around the basket. Very good offensive rebounder. Gets off his feet well. Uses his jumping ability and timing to block and alter more than his share of shots. Looks to have outstanding upside potential.
Tahir Wharton (6-1 G/F) Philly Triple Threat-Elliott/Philadelphia Electrical School: An extremely versatile player who goes to the hoop well. Can give you a little bit of everything. Strong enough to accept contact and draw fouls. Also showed an ability to pull up off the dribble and make mid-range jumpers.
Cameron Ciero (5-9 PG) Castle Knights/Horace Greeley H.S.: Extremely valuable player who has all the requisite point guard skills. Goes hard and strong to the bucket. Attacks at all time. Very adept at penetrating, drawing defenders and, then, dishing to open teammates.
Ryan Boulter (6-2 F) Mass Premier Elite/Mansfield H.S.: Excellent outside shooter with feet set. Also shoots well coming off screens. Excellent range with a quick release. One of best shooters at this level. Yet, also unselfish. Makes the extra pass. Plays hard and smart at both ends of the court. Just knows how to play the game the right way.
Roy C. Kane Jr. (6-4 C/F) TMT/Norwalk H.S.: Capable of taking over a game at either end. Handles and passes well for a big man. Scores around the basket, and is an intimidator on defense. Active on defensive end. Very good athlete. World of potential, especially if he gets taller.
Matt Shifrin (5-9 G) TMT/Wilton H.S.: Undersized, slender guard who just gets things done. Terrific outside shooter with nice form. Excellent court vision. Gets outlet pass and immediately is looking up court and made several on-the-money court-length passes here. Had 24 points in a half in a preliminary round game.
Levi Holmes (6-0 G) Radiant Suns/Rutgers Prep: A terrific shooter/scorer. Excellent range on jumper, out to three-point territory. Had 29 in a preliminary round game here. Also can slash to the hoop and finish. Clearly capable of putting up big numbers in any game.
Tyree Weston (6-2 G) Bay State Magic/New Bedford H.S.: A strong guard who can really shoot, either when creating room for himself off the dribble, or spotting up. Great long-range ability, but also hit mid-range jumpers here. Handles the ball very well, too. With his height and skill he proved to be a difficult matchup for opponents here.
Tommy Mobley (6-2 F) Bay State Magic/Newton North H.S.: A strong guard/forward who finishes well in the paint with good body control. Showed a hesitation dribble. Gets to the hoop off the dribble. Capable long-range shooter who wants the ball at crunch time. Good future as a college small forward with a few more inches of height.
Devin Rodriguez (6-3 F) Conn. Hoop Stars/Coginachaug Regional H.S.: Doesn’t need to score to have an impact on the game, Rebounds and outlets the ball very well. Plays hard at both ends. Excellent passer. Tough around the hoop. Good hands and dribbles well for his size. Showed great court IQ.
Patrick Doyle (5-5 PG) Conn. Hoop Stars/Notre Dame H.S.: Diminutive size is no detriment for this young man. Very clever point guard who shoots well with his feet set. Smart player who does all the things required to make a team better. Good passer, ball-handler and dribbler. He plays hard at all times.
Tremaine Elder (6-3 F) NYC Lightning/George Westinghouse H.S.: One of the best scorers in the tournament. Finishes around the hoop. Strong enough to draw fouls and get to the free-throw line. Unorthodox jump shot that just goes in the basket. He knows how to put up points in a big way.
Jalen Rose (6-2 G/F) NYC Lightning/Bread & Roses School: A nice, strong basketball build already. He uses his strength to slash to the hoop, or create room to take, and make, jump shots. Has some big-time moves that enable him to be productive. Looks to have nice upside.
Aalim Jones (5-7 PG) N.J. Panthers/International H.S.: Extremely quick, possibly the quickest guard here. Impossible to guard in the open court. A pass-first pint guard who makes good passes while on the move. An unselfish playmaker. Likes to drive and dish. Great spin move while in transition game.
Matt Walsh (6-4 C) Penn Wildcats/Manheim Central School: A big man who can play facing the basket. Showed the ability here to hit the 15-foot jumper with regularity. Yet, is also strong enough to play inside. Knows how to operate in the post on both ends.
Kassoum Yakure (6-6 F) Team Scan/Our Savior New American School: Tremendous vertical leaping ability. Plays well above the rim. A left-hander with long arms that he puts to use particularly on the offensive end to rebound. Looks to have a very bright future.
Jourdain Bell (6-0 G) Bishop Elite/Bishop Brady H.S.: Nickname is “Turbo,” and it’s clear why. He is “Mr. Transition,” and can change directions on a dime. Smooth and cool under pressure. Excellent handle and driver. Distributes well. Explosive and gets to the glass. Leader by example and vocally. Works hard on both ends.
Kabongo Ngalakulondi (6-4 F) Bishop Elite/Manchester Memorial H.S.: Strong, solid athlete. Quick driver. Rebounds strong on both ends. Active on top of press. Has three-point range, yet enough ups to finish with athleticism. As hoops IQ increases through playing and his left hand develops he will be a solid D-I prospect.
Damarcus Miller (6-0 G) Westchester Hawks/Stepinac H.S.: Great speed and quickness with the ball. Nice pull-up jumper, and can also get to the rim. Unselfish player who reads the defense and scores or dishes to a teammate. Comes off pick and rolls well. Goes hard on the offensive end. Excellent 1-on-1 breakdown player.
Aali Schahid (6-3 F) Westchester Hawks/Urban Assembly School: Tremendous ups. Great eye for the ball off the rim. Runs floor well and hustles on defense. Moves well without the ball. Active at all times. Unselfish on offense. Solid give-and-go passer. Brought down the house with a HAMMER dunk in a game here.
Marques Vaval-Paris (5-6 PG) B.C. Eagles/Middletown H.S.: Smallish guard whose skills belie his size. He can slash to the bucket and finish or dish to teammate.One of best PGs at running a team at this level. Delivers passes well. Finds open teammates every time. Uses quickness and quick hands to advantage on defense.
15:U ALL-GYMRAT HONORABLE MENTION
Manny Calloway (5-10 G) Firm AC-Perez/Wyoming Valley West
Brandon Woods (5-10 PG) Brooklyn Leaders/Banniker H.S.
James Wells (6-4 F) Vermont Irish Cats-Gold/Rice Memorial
Darcell Womack-Brown (6-2 G) L.I. Lightning-Law/Springfield H.S.
Shawn Witherspoon (6-0 G) Philly Triple Threat-Carr/La Salle College H.S.
Torean Thomas (6-6 F) Boston Warriors
Randy Glenn (5-11 PG) Boston Warriors/New Mission H.S.
Jesse Curtin (5-10 G) Albany City Rocks/Cohoes H.S.
Tristen Ross (6-2 F) Ottawa Phoenix/Vermont St. Johnsbury H.S.
Ismail Kaba (6-2 F) Ottawa Phoenix/Ottawa Sir Robert Borden H.S.
Garrett Stephenson (6-6 C) North Central Blaze/Hawthorne Brook
Thomas Huerter (6-3 F) Albany City Rocks-Black/Shenendehowa H.S.
Kevin Hurter (5-9 G) Albany City Rocks-Black/Shenendehowa
Matthew Penecale (6-2 G/F)_ Renegades Nichols/Abington H.S.
Cody Fitzgpatrick (5-9 G) Renegades Nichols/Archbishop Wood H.S.
Aaron Ray (6-2 G) Team Scan/Middletown H.S.
Josh Sharkey (5-5 G) Philly Triple Threat-Elliott/Abington Friends H,.S.
Darius Webster (6-5 F) Castle Knights/Business of Sport School
Jack Sixsmith (5-9 PG) Team Express/Holy Trinity
Matt Anderson (6-8 C) Mass Premier Elite/Lakeville School
Chase Ta (6-1 SG) Next Level/Montgomery H.S.
Josh Huffman (5-7 G) Buffalo Dragons/Canisius H.S.
Max Kirsch (6-3 F) New England Storm/Timberlane H.S.
Asem Johnson (6-4 F) New Jersey Panthers/Patterson Eastside H.S.
Dylan Bleacher (5-8 G) Pennsylvania Wildcats/Hempfield H.S.
Connor Evans (6-0 G) Syracuse Select/Bishop Grimes
Keisean Scott (6-0 G) Syracuse Select/Henninger
Jordan Roland (6-0 G) Syracuse Select/Westhill H.S.
Tyler Reynolds (6-6 F) Syracuse Select/Westhill H.S.
Dylan Kelly (5-11 G) NY Falcons/Tapanzee
Charles Valbrun (6-4 F) YABC/Boston Prep
Tucker Lesko (6-1 G) Penn. Wildcats/Cocalico H.S.
Nick Miller (6-2 F) Penn Wildcats/Cedar Crest H.S.
Matthew Zignorski (6-0 G) Geam Scan/Pope John H.S.
Keeghan O’Leary (6-3 F) Adirondack Rocks/Queensbury H.S.
Liam Stewart (6-2 G) Adirondack Rocks/Saratoga H.S.
Drew Vittum (6-2 F) Worcester West Wolfpack/St. John’s H.S.
Kevin Durkin (6-6 C) Worcester West Wolfpack/Wachusetts H.S.
Luke Testa (6-2 G) Bishop Elite/Pinkerton Academy
Justin Bowker (6-3 C) Worcester West Wolfpack/Wachusett H.S.
Wenyen Gabriel (6-3 F) Bishop Elite/Mamnchester Memorial
Timmy Marshall (-2 F) Syracuse Select/Baldwinsville H.S.
14:U AGE DIVISION
CONDITIONING A FACTOR IN SHOOTING STARS’ GymRat TITLE RUN
SARATOGA SPRINGS — Think conditioning isn’t a factor in AAU tournament play? The Shooting Stars, based in Ashland, Mass., showed how important being in shape can be over a hot weekend of games often played back-to-back here at the GymRat CHALLENGE.
In the their 36-29 victory over the Boston Warriors in the 14-under age division’s championship game Sunday afternoon at the Saratoga Recreation Center they were clearly the fresher, faster, quicker team when it counted most.
The Stars ran out to a 19-7 lead early, saw the Warriors get to within five but held off the challenge with a hard-playing defense that only permitted their opponents to score three points over the first 10 minutes of the second half.
By then the winners had a 32-17 advantage and the Warriors only got to within the final seven-point margin with a late, desperation rally.
“This was our fourth game of the day,” said Shooting Stars’ coach Scott Leip. “We know that’s how it goes in these tournaments. We really stress conditioning so we’re the better conditioned team. I think it showed. For one, it helps you play defense. When you play that many games in a day, you need to be in condition to be playing defense in the last game you play.
“I think it showed. They (Boston Warriors) seemed to be settling for deeper shots and they weren’t going in.”
The Stars, on the other hand, showed a greater inclination to move the ball around and, eventually, create good looks.
The winners also used the tried-and-true team-oriented offensive style in the championship game. Shooting Stars didn’t have a single player score in double figures. Matt Locke, a 6-foot-4 forward, had all seven of his title-game points in the first half, including two on a basket that gave the winners a 21-10 advantage just before the intermission.
Locke also played tough inside defense and rebounded in the championship game. He was the team’s leading scorer in Saturday’s three preliminary round contests, averaging close to 20 points per contest. His efforts were rewarded with the MVG (Most Valuable GymRat) award for the 14-under division.
“Our coach (Leip) is real tough on his and he stresses running and conditioning,” said Locke. “I’m sure most teams don’t do as much conditioning as we do. But, it definitely helps. When you’re in condition, and it comes time … you’re ready as a player.
“When you play so many games in a day and it’s near the end and everyone’s tired, if you’re in better condition than the other team it gives us a better all-around game. You can continue to do things that you might not be doing if you’re tired.”
That philosophy is a no-nonsense, non-negotiable one within the program.
“It’s not easy to establish, but we have good kids who are willing to buy into the program,” said Leip. “All these guys are here because they want to be and they’re into what it takes to be a good team. To be honest, if they don’t buy into what we’re trying to do we don’t keep them.
“We consider this to be a high school preparation team … we’re trying to prepare our kids to be ready when they get to the high school level. Being in condition and playing like a team is a big part of that.”
And, it pays off. Just ask Locke, this year’s 14-under division MVG.
“It feels good to win this award and to win a championship in a tournament this big,” he said. “It’s all a result of hard work and determination.”
14:U MVG-MOST VALUABLE GYMRAT
Matt Locke (6-4 F) Shooting Stars//Rivers School: A skilled, long and athletic wing player who averaged about 20 points per game in the preliminary round games and, then, did the necessary defense and dirty work through the championship bracket. An integral part of a real team effort. He runs the floor well in transition and finds open spot-up opportunities while trailing the break. Has a quick release and decent range on his jumper. Best attribute is catch-and-shoot ability. Good ball-handler for his size. Good rip-and-drive move and can finish above the rim. Already decent size for a perimeter forward with the talent level, if improvement continues, to have a bright future.
14:U ALL-GYMRAT CHALLENGE TEAM
Nino Leone (6-4 C) Shooting Stars/ Pingree H.S.: A real strong “wide body” who has nice skills. Light on his feet. Deceptive athlete. Skilled both with back to the basket and turning to finish over either shoulder, or facing up. Knocks down 12-footer with regularity. Showed range out to three-point line. Good timing on blocking shots. Doesn’t hurry things underneath when he catches the ball. Makes good decision. If he gets taller he could be a real force.
Wesley Lafleur (5-5 PG) Pure Basketball/Bound Brook H.S.: Quick, long arms. Strong ballhandler. True pass-first mentality, yet also opportunistic scorer in the lane. Three-point shot still developing, but shows some form on it. Uses quickness and arm length to be a good on-ball defender. Runs the floor well and finds teammates well in transition and off penetration.
Justin Leip (5-2 PG) Shooting Stars/Rivers School: Coach’s son, and plays like one. Very strong hoops’ IQ and floor game. Pesky on-ball defender. Passes well with either hand. Keeps ball low when dribbling through traffic, and shifty dribbler allows him to penetrate with ease. Always looking to find open teammates and delivers good passes. His team didn’t operate as well with him out. Very good set shooter with range and quick release.
Brendan Hoban (5-11 G) Boston Warriors/Watertown H.S.: Plays both guard spots, and has big-time potential as a scorer. Good length and handle. OK foot speed, but creates space well off the dribble to get to the basket for finishes in the lane or at the rim. Knock-down 3-point shooter with range and a low release. No player at any age bracket took shots from longer distance than he did, and he consistently made them for most of the tournament. Also spots open teammates when double-teamed and delivers passes.
Jadakiss Scott (5-8 G) Syracuse Select/Liverpool H.S.: Explosive off guard. Possesses another gear in transition or attacking off the bounce in the half court. OK shooting form, but much more of an effective scorer when driving the ball at the basket. Good finisher at the rim, rarely bothered by contact when he gets there. For now much of his game is predicated off elite-level athleticism.
Tamenang Choh (6-3 F) NE Storm Black/Brooks School: Big-time upside for an already talented player. Possesses a strong frame, great length and above-average athleticism. Skill set and size allows him to play any position from point to power forward. One of the best here at attacking the basket off the bounces and finishes well against contact. Great body control and touch around the rim.
Mike Arias (5-3 PG) Rockland Rockets/North Rockland H.S.: Heady, quick lead guard. Handles out front against pressure like an NBA vet. Quick on change of pace/direction attacking the paint. Nice stroke from 3-point range with some range. Sees passes well on penetration. Makes good decisions with the ball every time, and makes players around him better.
Brian Gillen (6-0 SG) BC Eagles/Don Bosco Prep: Talented offensive player. Has the tools to be a big-time scorer. Good hoops IQ. Lets offense come to him. Good athleticism. Fast with the ball in the open court and good lateral quickness. Outside shot will become more consistent with added strength. Draws contact on drives and able to finish through contact.
Steven Eroch (6-6 F) TMT-Rogers/Norwalk H.S.: Long, fairly athletic inside player. Very, very good shot-blocker. Uses length and timing to his advantage in altering shots. Good hands. Runs the floor well. Good footwork and touch inside with back to the basket. Needs to get tougher and play a little harder. Soft touch, good finisher around the basket.
Colin McNeil (5-5 PG) Pure Basketball/Hunterdon Central H.S.: Think wirery lead guard. Long arms and good quickness. He is able to impact the game with his on-ball defense or with his passing. Good anticipation when well off the ball to swoop in for steals. Very adept at getting deflections. Fast in the open court with dribble. Finishes well in the lane on drives. Good enough 3-point shooter.
Jonathan Levine (5-5 PG) Stamford Peace/Poly Prep: Very good lead guard who runs the show out front, but is also a complete offensive player. Strong on-ball defender. Very good change-of-pace/change-of-direction ball-handler. Quick player who is also a good outside shooter from beyond the arc as well as creating off the bounce in the midrange. Good hoops IQ.
Dorian Hodge (5-9 G) Wayne PAL Wolfpack/Wayne Hills H.S.: Plays anywhere on the perimeter effectively. Bang-up job of running the point, but even more adept as a scoring off-guard. Long arms with a good handle. Slashes well to finish in the lane, at the rim or in the midrange. Crafty offensive feel. Utilizes shot fake well. Good first step off the catch.
Jalen Latta (6-0 PG) Stamford Peace/St. Luke’s H.S.: Physically gifted lead guard who has a strong frame. Plays to win. Good change of pace handle in the open floor. Explosive first step to the basket. Finishes well at the rim through contact. Outside shot is still a work in progress, but form looks good enough and shooting ability looks like it will come.
Kweshon Askewe (6-6 C) Stamford Peace/Stamford H.S.: Long, wirery, athletic big man. Plays hard on both ends of the floor. Impacts the game with his shot-blocking and rebounding skills. Good hands. Good with back to the basket. Showed a nice right-handed jump-back shot. Runs the floor well. Looks to have good upside. Potential to be a threat facing up on the low block.
Jesse McIntosh (5-9 G) Stamford Peace/Notre Dame-Fairfield: Offensively skilled off guard. Has good length and quickness that he uses to advantage. Makes shots both off the catch and off the dribble. Good catch-and-shoot ability from 3-point range. Creates space well off the dribble and can knock down the mid-range jumper with regularity.
Nwanacho Nwana (6-0 F) Stamford Peace/Brunswick School: Physical in or out forward with the ability to slash well to the basket from the perimeter. Also a capable back-to-the-basket sscorer who draws and finishes at the rim and through contact. Active on both ends of the floor. Aggressive offensive rebounder. Plays hard at all times.
Christopher Howell (6-3 C) Radiant Suns/Thomas R. Grover Middle School: Long and lanky with a decent touch from the foul line or closer. Good rebounder who will get better with added strength. Good left-hand. He gets the ball in the lane and he’s going to score. Plays hard at both ends of the court.
Javon Reis-Wilson (5-4 PG) Radiant Suns/ Deerfield Elementary School: Handles the ball with either hand and is a good decision-maker. Showed a nice shooting touch. Always looking up while dribbling, able to spot open teammates and delivers. Gets to the rim with ease but size, now, doesn’t always allow him to finish. Clever dribbler with court IQ. Could be a standout if size catches up to ability.
14:U ALL GYM-RAT CHALLENGE HONORABLE MENTION
Soren McLeod (5-8 G) Boston Warriors/BB&N
Scott Callahan (6-3 F) Boston Warriors/Westford
Franklin Holgate (5-10 F) Boston Warriors/ Oliver Ames
Tajik Bagley (5-9 F) TMT-Williams/Ansonia Middle School
Andrew Enzor (5-8 PG) TMT-Williams/New Canaan Country School.
Vincent DeCaterino (6-1 F) Mike’s Dogs/Broadalbin-Perth M.S.
Noah Schwenzfeier (5-10 F) Mike’s Dogs/Columbia H.S.
Steven Low (6-0 F) Mike’s Dogs/Albany Academy
Curtis McCray (5-5 PG) Hard 2 Guard/Elizabeth H.S.
Matt Keans (5-9 G) B2L/Belmont H.S.
Justin Wagner (5-8 G) B2L/Belmont H.S.
Jihad Wright (5-9 G) Wayne PAL Wolfpack/Passaic Valley H.S.
Najee Williams (6-1 F) Pure Basketball-Blue/Bound Brook H.S.
Mike Nelson (6-0 F) Shooting Stars
Rickeem Mixson (5-8 G) Hard2Guard/Roselle Catholic
Mitchell Petka (6-4 C) NE Storm-Black/Chelmsford H.S.
Joseph Bell (6-0 G) Bishop Elite/Home School
Marcus Friend (5-7 PG) Albany City Rocks/Shaker H.S.
Henassy McCanico (5-10 F) Albany City Rocks/Watervliet H.S.
Chris Merullo (5-9 F) NE Storm/Reading H.S.
Jack Walsh (6-2 F) York Ballers/St. Joseph’s School
Trey Shifflet (5-8 G) Smith Middle School
Adham Floyd (6-0 F) Shooting Stars/St. Peter’s Marian
Mike Nelson ((6-0 F) Shooting Stars/Bishop Feehan
Dimitri Rosa (5-7 G) Shooting Stars/Rivers School
Jeff Trainor (5-9 G) NE Storm/Billerica H.S.
13:U AGE DIVISION
TEAM PLAY LIFTS YORK BALLERS TO GYMRAT CHAMPIONSHIP
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — Familiarity breeds … well, in basketball it very often breeds team chemistry and, in turn, success.
And, in this case, a motto the York (Pa.) Ballers live by on the basketball court: “And, one more.”
As in one more pass, to find an open teammate more open than the player with the ball.
“That’s what coach always preaches to us,” said age division MVG (Most Valuable GymRat) Jared Achterberg, after the York squad defeated the Prime Time Ballers, 47-46, in the championship game of the 13-under age bracket here at the Saratoga Recreation Center Sunday afternoon.
It’s a motto that has been embraced by team players, one developed over years of togetherness. One that benefits from overall an overall familiarity of individuals, the result of playing together for a significant length of time already.
The team has been together since several of its key players were nine years old. That kind of togetherness brings about the type of familiarity that has benefits related to team play.
“This is a great team that has started to come together,” said team coach Pat McGlynn.
Indeed it did in Sunday’s championship game.
Brandon McGlynn made one-of-two free throws with a second remaining on the clock to break the tie in a game that was close throughout and secure the victory for the York team.
Jared Achterberg, a 6-foot-0 forward led the way with 13 points for the winners in the championship game and earned the division’s MVG (Most Valuable GymRat) award. McGlynn added 11 and Taylor Funk, a 6-3 forward, added nine for York in the championship contest.
York might not have been the most-talented team in the age division, but it certainly was the most team-oriented. Balanced scoring, predicated on an offense that found open shooters and delivered correct passes, was the key on offense. Defensively, the team was effective in every game.
That was never more clearly on display than in the championship game where the York team made on-court life difficult for Prime Time’s powerful 6-foot-0 forward Earl English, arguably the top individual talent in the division.
The team’s unselfish demeanor certainly starts from the top. Its coach, McGlynn, opted to stay out of the post championship-game team photo.
“It’s about them,” said McGlynn, gesturing to his players. “It’s not about me.”
But, it’s about more than that.
“Our players buy into what we’re trying to do in terms of team play and defense,” said McGlynn. “It a tribute to their parents who encourage them to play that way.”
It’s a philosophy that might begin at home, but is enforced on the court by the team’s coaching staff. And, it’s one accepted by a group of young players.
“We couldn’t have done this without being a team,” said Achterberg. “We have no problem playing within the team concept. We have a philosophy that we’re always up to the challenge and that we never back down.”
And, the “and one more” philosophy resulted in one more accolade for a program recognized for team play: a GymRat CHALLENGE age division championship.
13:U MVG-MOST VALUABLE GymRat
Jared Achterberg (6-0 F) York (Pa.) Ballers: This young, slender forward is as solid as can be in just about every aspect of the game. He scores, defends, rebounds and can dish the ball. Not an overly “flashy” player, he just does everything to help his team win. A real hustler who plays hard at both ends of the court. A consistent double-double player. He led his team in scoring with 13 points in the championship game. He is a humble player who doesn’t play outside his capabilities. Truly, he is the type player every coach would love to have on a team.
13:U All GymRat CHALLENGE TEAM
Earl English (5-11 F) Prime Time Ballers: A dominant big man that runs the floor and hustles for every rebound. Can play anyone defensively on the floor. A consistent scorer. Double-double potential in every game. This big man is not afraid to start, or lead, a fast break. Already has a mature, strong build. Very well may have been the top individual talent in the event at this age level. Plays hard at all times. Was a big scorer here. He has an extremely bright future if expected development continues.
Mar Simkin (5-8 G) Prime Time Ballers: A pure scorer that can produce points from any spot on the court. Game-high 20 points in the championship contest. Doubles as a point guard that distributes to everyone. Great ball-handling skills along with good court vision. Defends the ball well and has shut-down capabilities. A very gifted young player.
A.J. Stokely (6-1 F/C) N.Y. Pride: A big man the type who is a must-have for every coach. Long and agile, he is extremely difficult to handle on both ends. Fantastic touch around the rim, he can finish with both hands. Excellent ball-handler for his size. Plays inside right now, but can easily move out to the perimeter. Has a bright future.
Brandon Redendo (5-3 PG) N.Y. Pride: An honorable mention performer last year, this tenacious point guard has improved immensely since then. He is a consistent double-double threat (points/assists). He can carry a team by scoring and by distributing. Has long-range shooting skills, but his game is penetrating and dishing. Calm, cool and collective when the ball in his his hands. Improvement is a product of hard work.
Marcus Thomas (5-8 G) Kingston Komets: Explosive first step with great jumping ability for his age group. He really attacks the when with confidence at every opportunity. Also exhibited strong defensive skills, both on and off the ball. At this level, he showed the ability to be able to guard any position.
Erik Olsen (5-7 G) Evo Elite: A pure jump shooter that can create for himself. Can dribble right or left, and get into a strong, confident pull-up jumper. Hustles at all time. Right now, more advanced on the offensive end, but his enthusiasm and hard play enable him to get the job done at both ends of the court.
Aaron Wheeler (5-6 G/F) N.Y. Pride: A true contributor to the full extent of the word. This guard/forward is all over the court. He defends both on and off the ball and is an aggressive rebounder that is not afraid to mix it up. A double-digit scorer throughout this event. He just seems to always know where to be on the court.
Charles Chung (5-6 G) Albany City Rocks/Black: A solid guard that can be relied on in a variety of ways. He can score, and attacks the rim with a purpose. Also, a very good defender who uses his quick hands and feet to his advantage on that end of the court. Exceptional athleticism helps set him apart.
Will Bennett (5-8 F) Albany City Rocks/Black: A solid “big” that doubles as a guard. He can bring the ball up as needed. Very calm under pressure, never seems to get ratted. Great around the rim with soft hands. Creates as needed when the ball is stalled. He’s a good defender, and has the speed to get up and down the court.
Kian Dalrimple (5-9 G/F) L.I. Lightning: “Smooth” is an apt description. He makes scoring look easy. A player opponents must pay attention to at all times. He can finish with either hand, and also has long-range capabilities in his arsenal. Can go right and left off the dribble with ease. Really gets after it on the defensive end.
Keshion West (5-8 G) CT Defenders: An explosive scorer with great body control. This slasher also doubles as a point guard when necessary. Sees the floor well with great anticipation. Unselfish player who looks to get his teammates involved. Very quick hands, which translates into numerous steals when he’s on defense.
Alejendro Ortiz (5-7 G) CT Defenders: A true scorer who always seems to find a way to get shots. Great touch at the hoop and can finish with both hands. This guard is also a long-range threat. Also showed the inclination and ability to stop and pop the mid-range shot. Good, active defender aided on that end by quick feet.
Chris Lacy (5-11 F/C) Kingston Komets: A natural rebounder who really gets after it. This big man uses his length to intimidate on the defensive end. Shot-blocking ability seems to be in his DNA. Very aggressive player around the hoop on both ends. A threat to post a double-double in every game he plays.
13:U ALL GymRat CHALLENGE TEAM
Ronnie Silda (4-10 PG) Evo Elite
Kyle Chorlton (5-5 PG) Evo Elite
Michgor Scarlett (6-1 C) Evo Elite
Jason Hankes (6-1 C) Prime Time
Ameer Lee (4-6 G) Prime Time
Cameron Henry (5-6 G) TMT
Tylon Papallo (5-0 G) CT Defenders
Johnathon Whittenborg (6-1 F) CT Defenders
Van Auger (6-2 C) CT Defenders
Justyn Lacy (5-2 G) City Rocks/Orange
Jaquan Bertrand (5-10 F) City Rocks/Orange
Kobe Miranda (5-5 G) N.Y. Pride
Jonathan Palmieri (5-5 G) N.Y. Pride
Deandre Russell (5-5 G) TMT
Jared Groff (5-5 G) B2L
Colby Gates (5-11 F) B2L
Jack Keough (5-1 PG) L.I. Lightning
Rich Allenord (5-8 F) L.I. Lightning
Charles Slater (6-0 F) L.I. Lightning
Jacquez Casiano (5-6 G) York Ballers
Taylor Funk (6-3 F/C) York Ballers
12-UNDER AGE DIVISION
GymRat CHALLENGE TITLE GREAT FOUNDATION FOR RING CITY
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. — It never hurts to start reinforcing younger players of the often hard, but necessary lessons required for a team to play winning basketball. And, winning a championship at the 15th annual GymRat CHALLENGE AAU basketball tournament is as good a reinforcement in team play, execution and defense as it gets.
The Ring City Elite squad of the northern New Jersey area epitomized all of that, becoming the event’s first champion in the first year the 12-under level was included in the event with a hard-fought 36-35 victory over the Shooting Stars of Framingham, Mass. at the Saratoga Recreation Center Sunday afternoon.
Coincidentally, this is the first year the Ring City program, coached by Roger “Cam” Cameron, has offered AAU play for boys and the 12-under team, this spring, is currently the only program for males that it offers.
“A lot of these kids have played AAU ball elsewhere,” said Cameron. “We started the program at this level a few months ago, and put them together. We stressed that playing defense … good, hard defense … was the key to winning games.
“At first it was very hard to get them to play that way, but unless they played together they weren’t going to be very good. Right now, all these kids want is to be good.”
The GymRat titles showed that they are just that, and they got that way by doing all the things required to perform well as a team.
“This is something they’ll never forget,” added Cameron. “This is a great lesson for them and a great foundation for their basketball futures as they move on to play for other teams. Now, they know what it takes to win. They love this feeling (of winning) and, now, they know what it takes to achieve that at an event like this. They know that if they want to win in the future, wherever it may be, this is how they have to play to do it.”
Tawan Greer, a versatile 5-foot-10 forward, led Ring City with 13 of his team’s points in the championship game, which was close throughout. The winners held a three-point lead in the closing seconds before Shooting Stars scored to get within a point. Ring City then in-bounded the ball and was able to run out the last few seconds to secure the victory.
“Winning here helps me as a player because it shows what we did (team play, good defense) really works,” said Grier.”
“We’re trying to show them that they have to win as a team,” added Cameron. “Initially Shooting Starts got a lead on us, but we came back to win. It was all because of teamwork and playing hard defense.
“We reinforce those things all the time. We talk about it a lot just before we come out on the court before every game.”
And, a GymRat CHALLENGE title, based on teamwork and defense, reinforces that’s what it takes to be a winning team.
12:U MVG-MOST VALUABLE GYMRAT
Tawan Grier (5-10 Forward) Ring City Elite: Solid build, and he uses it to his advantages. Has a quick, explosive power move to basket in the post and a sweet baseline driving ability. He was his team’s key in capturing the division’s title. Gets position and boxes out; posts up, uses his body and strength to get position and angle to the glass. He powers up to the glass yet doesn’t rely solely on his size. Has excellent body control and is an emerging shot-blocker. Finds a way to get his shot off. Uses strength to start the transition game with long outlet passes. Finishes right and left. Fakes well. Understands screen and roll. Has a turn-around jumper and ability to rebound and put back. Already fundamentally sound young player.
12:U ALL-GymRat CHALLENGE TEAM
Khris Banks (5-9 forward) Ring City Elite: Plays the high-low game well in the post. Nice passer who also drives from the high post and has a power move. Rebounds well and is an emerging shot-blocker. Solid power-post pivot moves. Uses his body well to create space and protect the ball. Goes hard to offensive boards for tip-ins. Will continue to develop.
Jamal Fennel (5-11 C/F) Prime Time Ballers: Impact player who owns the boards. Works hard on defensive end, and is a shot-blocker. Offensively he runs the floor well. Gets more than his share of rebounds and put-backs. Also displayed a nice touch around the basket.
Anthony Inglesia (4-10 PG) Prime Time Ballers: Floor leader who creates shots for teammates. Can score from outside, including out to 3-point line, off the dribble (pull-up jumper) and on a drive. But, definitely reads the defense and looks for teammates. Heads up on both ends of the floor. Passes well off dribble. Solid handle and understanding of change-of-speed/change-of-direction. Just needs to mature physically.
DeVandre Edmonds (6-1 C/F) Shooting Stars: Great “ups.” Good screen-and-roll player. Cuts hard and finishes with either hand. Uses pivot fakes and up-and-under to create his shot. Solid power pivot. Looks to score. Works boards on both ends. Keeps ball high. Aggressive defender. Solid body control enables him to block shots.
Paul Durkee (5-11 F) Shooting Stars: Runs the floor, always thinking transition scoring to get trail shot, put-back or a step on defense. Excellent finisher around the hoop. Can score off the catch, off the drive or form high post. Works on defense, gets in passing lane and excellent help defender. Made a big pull-up jumper to secure a key victory in preliminary round here. Unselfish player who passes well. Student of the game with high hoops IQ. Works hard.
Shandon Brown (4-9 PG) All For One Basketball: Floor general who is leading by example and verbally intense on both ends. Excellent shooter, hitting four in a row during one game here. Great at distributing the ball. Nice handle and effective in traffic. Can penetrate and pitch on finish. Plays within himself well. Finds open player. Attacks on defense. Wants to create a turnover. His feet are always moving.
Tyrique Langley (5-6 F/G) TMT Basketball: Tremendous athlete who thinks “score.” Goes hard to the hoop. Has a high-post pull-up and can make the three-pointer. Follows own missed shots for tips and put-backs. Quick first step. While he looks for his shot, also looks for and finds open teammates. Exhibited unselfish style of play here.
DeArron Lawrence (5-10 G) CT Defenders: Potential to be a special player. Excellent one-on-one attack game. Can break down the defense and get to the glass, pull-up or pop a three-pointer. Sweet handle. Once he breaks down he is reading the defense and making smart passes to open man for scores. Active on defense, gets in passing lanes. Pure speed and explosion on the court.
Xahn Frater (5-9 F) Evo-Elite: Lefty driver who gets to the bucket and, as a result, often to the free-throw line. Drives hard with a finesse finish. Moves well without the ball. Unselfish player who also looks to pass. Very active on the boards and on the defensive end, as well.
Kiazhaire Banks (5-6 GV) Albany City Rocks: Tremendous athlete with speed and a killer crossover. Turned it on when needed in key situations. Aggressive driver to the hoop. Attacks offensive boards and sticks with it. When he makes mistake on one end he hustles to make up for it on the other. Can drive and pull up. Has high-post game. Hustler on defense. Gets boards and can block shots.
12:U HONORABLE MENTION ALL-GymRat CHALLENGE
Thomas Jones (5-11 F/C) Primetime Ballers
Amari Lee (5-0 G) Primetime Ballers
Isaiah Preston (5-2 G) Primetime Ballers
Duke Cameron (4-10 G) Ring City Elite
Anthony Jean-Pierre (5-8) Albany City Rocks/White
David Mitchell (5-10 F) All For One BB Club
Abdul Teslim (6-0 C) All for One BB Club
Hunter Jameson (5-6 F) CT Defenders
Josh Menaro (4-11 PG) CT Defenders
Christian Corker (5-0 PG) Albany City Rocks/Black
Sloan Seymour (5-9 C) Albany City Rocks/Black
Daryan McDonald (5-7 G) Shooting Stars
Justin Kea (5-2 G) Ring City Elite