Local Teams Shine at Gym Rat Challenge
The New England Select program made yet another statement last weekend when they won the 16u division at the Gym Rat Challenge. The championship was the second consecutive one for Head Coach Greg Kristof and his program after claiming the title at the Hall of Fame Spring Classic a week earlier. Select was led by 6’7 sophomore forward Tucker Halpern from Noble & Greenough School, who averaged a double double throughout the weekend en route to earning the MVP award. “He is the most talented big man in the tourney by far,’’ Kristof said of Halpern. Kyle Casey was again impressive as well as he was named to the all tournament team along with 5’9 sophomore point guard Jeff Tagger.
In the 17u division Team Boston Elite defeated the New Hampshire Wildcats in one semi-final to set up a match-up with Team Odom in the finals. In a game of runs Boston Elite held a 6 point advantage at halftime. But coming out of the gate they fell victim to a 15-2 run by their opponents only to strike back with a 13-1 run of their own to take a 39-35 lead. Elite was able to hold their lead throughout the majority of the second half and into crunch time until Markeys Deans knocked down a three-pointer with under two second left to give Team Odom a 40-39 lead. Following a time out, Raheem Singleton fired a pass the length of the court to teammate Jerome Cohen, whose full-court alley-oop catch and shoot rattled in and out as the buzzer sounded.
Below is a list of local players who were named to the all tournament team:
Raheem Singleton (5-11 PG, RBK Team Boston Elite): Spearheaded his team’s run to the title game while fighting through an ankle injury suffered in the quarterfinals; Singleton amazingly maintained his quickness and energy-level. Drained several huge perimeter shots and difficult drives in the paint, Singleton plays exceptional defense and set his teammates up.
Aaron Williams (6-3 SG/PG/SF, RBK Team Boston Elite): Team Odom coach Artie Cox said of Williams, “He is a great player and has a chance to be really special.’’ Williams took over sizable sections of a number of playoff games, including helping the Elite advance out of the quarterfinals in overtime when Raheem Singleton missed time with an ankle injury. When Williams gets on a roll from the perimeter, few players can be more disruptive. Defense is definitely a strong suit for this terrific young player.
Evan Smotryc (6-6 SF/PF, Mass Rivals): Only 16, Smotryc showed off a game well beyond his years. An exceptional shooter and scorer, Smotryc understands what he needs to do to get the job done. If teams are paying too much attention to him, he will set up teammates. Rebounds well, runs the floor and finishes in the paint. There is a lot to like here.
Patrick Saunders (6-7 PF/C, NH Wildcats): Displayed excellent footwork and superior instincts, Saunders shined above the rest on a solid Wildcats’ roster. He is a solid two-way standout who can pop out to knock down a 3pointer, score on the blocks or control things at the defensive end. Saunders is a solid performer.
B.J. Monteiro (6-5 SG/SF, CT Phenom Elite): On a team filled with standouts, Monterio once again stood out. An all-star last year at the 16-year old level, Monterio excels at just about everything on the court. A solid defender and rebounder, Monterio looks to find teammates first. If those options are closed, he will simply score himself. Sneaky quick, Monterio plays with passion.
Kirk Crecco (6-3 SF/SG, NH Playerz)
Billy Marsden (6-0 SG, Mass Rivals)
Wilfredo Pagan (5-10 PG, Mass Rivals)
Adrian Gonzalez (6-5 SF, Mass Rivals)
Kyon Watkins (6-7 C/PF, Greater Boston Lions)
Robert Wesley (5-10 PG, Greater Boston Lions)
Gabe Fumudoh (6-7 PF/C, Boston Elite)
Terrance Favors (6-0 SG/PG, Boston Elite)
Jerome Cohen (6-4 PF, Boston Elite)
Taylor Foster (6-3 SF, CT Flame)
Jeron Belin (6-6 PF, CT Phenom Elite)
Mike Myers-Keitt (6-7 SF/PF, CT Phenom Elite)
Alan Chaney (6-9 C, CT Phenom Elite)
Isiah Wallace (6-3 SF/SG, Dunbar Community Center)
Kabeya Kabongo (6-5 SF/PF, Lazz Development)
Jerrel Gomes (6-5 SF, Rhode Island Breakers)
Antone Gray (5-11 PG, Rhode Island Breakers)
RJ Evans (6-3 SG/SF, Team Odom)
Kyle Casey (6-3 SF/PF, NE Select): Strong in every facet of the game, Casey’s all-around skills already have drawn interest from several Division I schools. Handles the ball on the perimeter and close the deal in the paint, Casey doesn’t have any discernable weaknesses.
Candon Rusin (6-3 SG, Albany City Rocks Black): A 3-point specialist who also can get to the rim and finish if opponents focus too much on the perimeter game, Rusin moves well and understands his role. Medium-range game needs a bit more work, but Rusin is a player to watch.
Josh Turner (6-6 SG/SF, Connecticut Phenom Elite): High-scoring force for the Elite, Turner knows how to get results by drawing fouls and knocking down shots from multiple locations.
Jeff Tagger (5-9 PG, NE Select): The quintessential point guard, Tagger makes exceptional decisions with the basketball. Will score when needed, Tagger loves to pass and sets up his capable teammates in the best possible positions to score. Timing is impeccable.
Corey Wright Jr. (5-10 PG/SG, RI Young Bucks): Sets up opponents with his dribbling skills and imagination, Wright instincts are sound. He knows when to push the tempo or when to slow things down. Wright’s high speed game is lethal. Can stop and pop or cruise past defenders not prepared to move their feet.
Louis Montes (6-4 SG/SF, YABC): Strong and physical, Montes loves to impose his will around the rim and usually wins. An outstanding defender and rebounder, Montes’ toughness is difficult to contend with.
Austin Laymance (6-1 SG, Boston Warriors-Sanders)
Jamal Williamson (6-5 PF/C, Boston Warriors Elite)
Akeem Williams (5-10 PG, Boston Warriors Elite)
Marcus Papas (5-10 SG/PG, Boston Warriors Elite)
Jeff Pitkin (6-1 SG, Glastonbury Hawks)
Chris Canino (6-6 SF/PF, Glastonbury Hawks)
John Pinone (6-3 PF/C, Glastonbury Hawks)
Dan Feehan (5-10 SG, NH Playerz)
Jeff Hall (6-2 SG/SF, Boston Warriors Elite)
Russell Rosenband (6-1 SG, CT Flame)
Christian Birt (6-2 SG, NH Sharpshooters)
Stephen Hrusovsky (5-10 PG/SG, Boston Warriors)
Dan Guest (6-2 SG, CT Knights)
Kareem Robinson (6-2 SF, CT Knights)
Vinson Givans (5-11 SF/PF/C, Mass Appeal)
Greg Jacques (5-9 PG, NE Select)
Lance Greene (5-7 PG, Raiders)
Dan O’Keefe (6-4 SF/PF, Raiders)
Darryl McCoy (6-8 C, CT Phenom Elite)
Cory Andrews (6-5 SF/PF, CT Phenom Elite)
Michael Neuville (6-6 PF, YABC)
Jonathan Culpepper (5-11 PG/SG, YABC)
Jeremy March (6-7 C/PF, RI Young Bucks)
Mike Muller (6-5 PF/C, Mass Premier)
Nick Daley (6-3 SG/SF, LI Lightning Driscoll)
Chris Evans (6-1 SF/SG, Connecticut Basketball Club)
Denzel Jones (6-3 SF/PF, CT Knights-Wilcox): A force underneath the basket, Jones could eventually play exclusively on the wing. Potent posting up, Jones is also an outstanding defender who uses his long arms effectively to block and alter shots. Has a huge upside.
Jarell Byrd (6-3 PF/C, MASS Thundercats): Adept at facing the basket, Byrd can also punish opponents with his back to the basket. Has an excellent mid-range jumper, passes the ball well and is extremely disruptive as a rebounder and shot-blocker.
Ryan Woumn (6-1 PG/SG/SF, MASS Thundercats): Versatile, versatile, versatile. Easily one of the most athletic players at any age level, Woumn is a lethal finisher and game-changer. The ability to play multiple positions makes this man even more special.
Billy Soriano (5-8 PG, Rhode Island Breakers-Holland): Dynamic point guard who scores, creates and controls tempo. Blessed with exceptional court vision and a solid decision-maker, Soriano is also a streaky shooter.
Nick Manning (5-10 SG, Rhode Island Breakers-Holland): One of the most complete players in the tournament, Manning teamed with Billy Soriano in the Breakers’ tremendous backcourt. An unselfish team player who blows by foes with ease. Deadly on the perimeter or going to the basket, Manning always plays under control.
Deric McCottrell (6-2 SG, Bay State Magic): Slashes to the rack with the best, McCottrell proved to be a tough player to defense because of his exceptional quickness and moves around the basket. Showed off a nice medium range jumper, McCottrell proved to quite disruptive for the opposition.
Josh Varney (6-5 C, VT Panthers)
Jabrille Williams (6-0 SG, CT Flame)
Nigel Mitchell (5-10 PG, CT Flame)
Egi Gjikondi (5-10 PG, Boston Warriors)
Matthew Palazini (6-2 SF, Mass Premier)
Michael Adams (5-10 SG, Mass Premier)
Carson Derosiers (6-8 C, Mass Rivals)
Tyler Strange (5-8 PG, Mass Rivals)
Kyle Houston (5-10 PG, Bay State Magic)
Ryan Kilcullen (6-4 PF/C, Bay State Magic)
Jasper Grassa (5-9 SG, MASS Thundercats)
To view the press release in its entirety please visit www.gymratchallenge.com.