The primary reason so many teams want to get into the GymRat Challenge is because it's one of the earliest chances high school-age players have to impress college scouts. Kmack said more than 120 college coaches and scouting publications were in attendance for the tournament, which helped launch the careers of such NBA players as Emeka Okafor, Joakim Noah and Michael Beasley.
"It's college scouts " that's the entire reasoning to get into (the tournament)," said DeNofio, who has several players from Ballston Spa and South Glens Falls on his squad " schools that, on their own, would not see many college coaches at their regular season games. "To get these kids in front of scouts at this time is very important."
But as much as the tournament can help a player advance his basketball career, it can also show a player how difficult the competition can be since so many other players are vying for scholarships.
"People have to remember how hard it is to be a (NCAA) Division I player," said Kmack. "These events allow them to excel, but it can also be a reality check for both the kids and the parents."
"For a lot of these kids, it's a real eye opener," said Beadnell. "I'm (also) trying to get these kids to a super sophomores camp this summer so they can see where they stack up."
The competition was fierce at the GymRat Challenge. Beadnell's 15U City Rocks squad was seeded second in the playoff round after winning its four-team pool, but they were upset in the quarterfinals by the No. 7 seed.
"The hard thing that you face at the GymRat is that you have to play back-to-back games," said Beadnell. "We were able to win our first-round (playoff) game, but then we ran out of gas."