COLORADO SPRINGS, CO -USA Basketball announced on January 17th that the 2018 BOYS & GIRLS GymRat CHALLENGE events have been chosen as Official Qualifiers to the USA Basketball U.S. Open Basketball Championships. The GymRat CHALLENGE is among a select number of events across the country approved to serve as an Official Qualifier to the USA Basketball 2018 U.S. Open Basketball Championships. O nly sixteen boys events and sixteen girls events were selected nationally by USA Basketball for this designation.

Established in 1998 in Albany, NY, the GymRat CHALLENGE is the largest event of its kind in the eastern United States. Widely regarded as one of the most competitive and best organized events in the nation, the GymRat CHALLENGE entertains a huge field comprised of some of the top club basketball programs in America. As a result of an unwavering commitment to quality, the GymRat CHALLENGE boasts an indisputable prominence and acclaim from basketball programs, coaches, and scouting services across the country. The GymRat CHALLENGE annually hosts 576 boys and girls teams representing over twenty-four U.S. states and covering a geographic reach from Houston to Boston, Maine to Miami, and beyond as youth and prep basketball players come to New York State's Capital Region to prove themselves on the court against top competition and move themselves towards an opportunity to play at the collegiate level. The event has become a rite of passage for today and tomorrow's NCAA, NBA, and WNBA stars. From two-time NBA MVP & World Champion Steph Curry to 2016 WNBA Rookie of the Year and Olympic Gold Medalist Brenna Stewart, some of basketball's greatest men's and women's stars have competed in the GymRat CHALLENGE.   Even prior to this major announcement from USA Basketball, registrations for the 2018 GymRat CHALLENGE events were on a 21-year record pace.

In addition to an over twenty-year history as a launching pad for young basketball talent, the GymRat CHALLENGE is also an enormous economic engine for its host area.  According to a detailed economic impact study performed by Camoin Associates in 2017, the GymRat CHALLENGE provides a sustained, annual impact of over $13.828 MILLION on New York State's Capital Region economy. In ADDITION, the GymRat CHALLENGE provides over $4.7 million in annual job support and generates over $1.1 million in local tax revenue each year. With nearly 22,000 participants and attendees, the GymRat CHALLENGE is not only one of the most prominent youth basketball events in the nation, but also a huge engine for its host economy with a total, sustained, annual impact of over $19.6 million.

The youth initiative announced today by USA Basketball is intended to add opportunity, standards and quality to the youth basketball environment.  As the National Governing Body of the sport under the United States Olympic Committee, USA Basketball is committed to creating an inclusive tournament structure to best serve youth basketball throughout the United States.

In 2018, USA Basketball, through its Youth Development division, will host the U.S. Open Basketball Championships at the Pacers Athletic Center at Grand Park located in Westfield, Indiana  .The boys championship tournaments will occur on June 30-July 3 while the girls championship tournaments will occur on July 19-22. Both events will include 8th grade, 13U and 12U divisions.

In order to qualify for the culminating event, teams must participate in USA Basketball approved U.S. Open Official Qualifiers throughout the country. The GymRat CHALLENGE is among only sixteen boys events and sixteen girls events throughout the United States designated as an Official Qualifier.  The BOYS GymRat CHALLENGE will take place on May 26-27, 2018.  The GIRLS GymRat CHALLENGE will take place on June 16-17, 2018.  Both events will be hosted in Albany, NY.  For more information on the GymRat CHALLENGE, or to register your team to compete, visit www.GymRatCHALLENGE.com . First and second place finishers in each qualifying division of the GymRat CHALLENGE will earn an automatic bid to the USA Basketball U.S. Open Championships .

Leading up to the U.S. Open Basketball Championships, it is expected that approximately 3,000 teams, 36,000 players and 6,000 coaches will take part in the selected qualifying tournaments across the country. For information on player eligibility or to register a team for pre-approved qualifying events, visit  www.usab.com/usopenbasketball.
"The game of basketball continues to grow in popularity both here in the United States and globally.  As the National Governing Body for basketball in the United States, USA Basketball is fulfilling its responsibility to promote and develop the game, to provide opportunities for competition, and to set standards for youth basketball.  The U.S. Open Basketball Championships, and other complementary initiatives, are based on common standards so that we can continue to enhance the integrity, safety, and enjoyment of the game," said USA Basketball chairman, retired General Martin Dempsey. "The U.S. Open Basketball Championships' competition structure is designed to be inclusive and impart proper youth playing standards throughout the United States. By providing boys and girls and their coaches with quality playing options, USA Basketball can help ensure that young players and their coaches will experience the game in fun, safe and developmentally appropriate environments."


USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA national teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball.

The USA Basketball Youth Development division is tasked with the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety, while promoting, growing, and elevating the game. USA Basketball is committed to providing youth throughout the country safe, fun and developmentally-appropriate environments in which they can enjoy the game. Current USA Basketball Youth initiatives include coach licensing and education; organization accreditation; coach academies; regional skill camps; youth clinics; open court programs; and the U.S. Open Basketball Championships.