If you're a basketball fan ... a real "gym rat," so to speak ... then there's no better place to be this Memorial Day weekend than in New York's Capital Region for the GymRat Challenge boys' AAU tournament.
The event is the largest of its kind in the east with 212 teams and close to 2,400 players participating this year.
Champions will be crowned in three age brackets: 17-under, 16-under, 15-under.
The event has hosted some high-powered talent in past years: Emeka Okofer was here, as was Cole Aldric, Jimmer Fredette (Brigham Young), Talor Battle (Penn State), Brad Sheehan (Georgia Tech), etc. etc.
Much of Siena's roster, past/current/future, is made up of players who have been in this event in past years as has much of the MAAC (Greg Nero of Fairfield, Tomas Vazquez-Simmons of Canisius, George Beamon of Manhattan and Candon Rusin of Marist, just to drop a few names).
While there are several dozen high-major level recruits that will come out of the event, it's also very fertile territory for the mid-major teams like those from the MAAC.
When participating teams submit their rosters many list the colleges interested in their players. Dozens upon dozens who will be here list MAAC schools among those involved in their recruitments.
The tournament will be played Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and, then, on Sunday from 8 a.m. until Sunday evening. Championship games will be contested Sunday evening. About 26 hours of basketball will be contested, almost non-stop, over the two days.
Yes, indeed, a basketball junkie's paradise.
In all, 349 games will be played at three sites: Siena College, the University at Albany and Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.
A two-day admission fee of $15 allows spectators to see any game at any venue. Single-day admission is $10 and also allows fans to move from game to game and venue to venue. Multiple games are contested simultaneously. Siena, for instance, has seven courts in use at any time, and there is never a break in the action.
Your blogger will be in attendance and taking notes, as will a "talent evaluation" staff that picks players for tournament all-star honors. That staff gets some input from the better players in attendance about their college interst, and, as one of the talent evaluators for the event, I'll have access to that material.
When the tournament concludes, this blog will have a lengthy report about the tournament with as much recruiting information that pertains to the MAAC that I can acquire, which will be plenty.
More information about this year's event, the playing schedule and past histories of previous years' tournaments (including all-star selections and much information about the better players here from past years) is all available on the tournament's website, which is:
So ... attend the event; and, if you can't attend, then keep following this forum for post-tournament information.