Former Lenox High School basketball player Bailey Patella's whirlwind summer on the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) circuit has taken him to impressive new heights, as the Class of 2017 recruit's team won a 19U Division I National Championship in Orlando, Fla. last weekend.
The Vermont Academy prep school player is a member of the Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC), and competed in the 17U and 19U tournaments. He helped both teams go undefeated in pool play (3-0).
With the 19U's, Patella and the BABC dominated the championship bracket, winning by an average of 31 points, capped by a 67-52 win over the RAP Stars of Rochester, N.Y. The 17U team lost in the Elite Eight to the Alabama Challenge.
Playing with Vermont Academy teammates Corey Romich and Marcus Santos-Silva, Patella said the 19U tournament became more challenging as the team advanced.
"The first-round games were all right competition," he said. "A lot college coaches watching. ... Once you made the round of 16 the competition went way up, playing against some older guys that are stronger and physical.
"It was a really tough tournament and we played really good together."
The 6-foot-5 swingman had his best game against the Tennessee Legends in the second round of the 17U tournament, scoring 23 points in a 72-68 overtime win. Patella said he's been working on aggressively taking the ball to the hoop throughout the summer.
"Coach said if your shot is there take it. But if it's not, you can rip through, jump-stop and finish over people because of my jumping ability," Patella said. "He emphasizes me taking the ball to the hoop and at least drawing the foul."
Before the team played in the AAU National Championships, the BABC competed at the Nike Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C. The Peach Jam is part of the Elite Youth Basketball League (EYBL), and is a showcase for some of the top talent in the country. The BABC went 2-3 in the tournament, but Patella said he enjoyed his experience at the high-level competition.
"It's been crazy," he said of his summer basketball experience. "Playing against the best competition in the world at the Peach Jam — that was a very big event. A lot of college coaches and some of the best players in the world."
Even with all of the exposure gained from summer basketball, Patella does not seem to be in a hurry to make a decision on where he's attending college. Having recently earned a scholarship offer from Rider University, he now has offers from Siena, Winthrop, Southern Connecticut State and Binghamton University, according to verbalcommits.com.
Patella said he plans on taking unofficial visits in August, and then official visits in September before making any final decisions.
Contact Akeem Glaspie at 413-496-6252