Former Shenendehowa standout Huerter earns team award with NBA’s Atlanta Hawks

Shown, from left, before Wednesday's Atlanta Hawks game are Garin Narain, Hawks’ Sr. VP of Public Relations, Kevin Huerter, and Sekou Smith’s wife Heather and daughter Rielly. Huerter was recognized with the 2021-22 Sekou Smith Award. (Photo courtesy Scott Cunningham/Hawks)

Shown, from left, before Wednesday's Atlanta Hawks game are Garin Narain, Hawks’ Sr. VP of Public Relations, Kevin Huerter, and Sekou Smith’s wife Heather and daughter Rielly. Huerter was recognized with the 2021-22 Sekou Smith Award. (Photo courtesy Scott Cunningham/Hawks)

Former Shenendehowa High School star Kevin Huerter was honored Wednesday with the 2021-22 Sekou Smith Award, an award the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks bestow upon the “player on the team’s roster who best represents themselves and the franchise with professionalism and integrity in their interactions with the media.”

Sekou Smith was a longtime NBA reporter and TV analyst. He died in January 2021 after a battle with COVID-19. Among his jobs related to NBA coverage was several seasons spent as the Hawks’ beat reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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Huerter was selected as this year’s honoree following a vote of media members.

“Kevin is a very deserving recipient of this honor from the Atlanta media. Since the day he was drafted, Kevin has been accommodating, honest and available to media, respecting the work that the media does in telling the story of our team to the fans,” Hawks Senior Vice President of Public Relations Garin Narain said in a statement from the franchise. “We are proud that Kevin continues to uphold the values of professionalism and candor with the media, two aspects of the job that Sekou was a master at.”

Now in his fourth NBA campaign with the Hawks, the 23-year-old Huerter is averaging 12 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season. During his time at Shenendehowa, Huerter led the Plainsmen to the 2015 Class AA state championship before being named Mr. New York Basketball as a senior in 2016. Also in 2016, Huerter played outfield on the Plainsmen’s team that won the Class AA baseball state championship. Ian Anderson, now a starting pitcher for Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, was also a senior on that team.

Selected with a 19th overall pick out of the University of Maryland in the 2018 NBA Draft, Huerter signed a four-year, $65 million rookie contract extension last fall.

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EMPIRE HOSTING FAN EVENT

The Albany Empire franchise is hosting a meet-and-greet event Sunday at Apex Entertainment in Crossgates Mall.

Fans are welcome to meet the players, coaches and front office staff, and see the franchise’s 2021 National Arena League championship trophy. There will be opportunities with the players, coaches and trophy.

Season-ticket holders will be able to enter the event at 2 p.m., while members of the general public are able to arrive at 3 p.m. The event will end at 4:30 p.m.

The Empire’s first game is scheduled for April 23 vs. the Carolina Cobras at MVP Arena.

‘GYMRAT’ EVENT SCHEDULED FOR THIS WEEKEND

The GymRat Girls’ Live AAU Basketball Showcase Event is set for its second annual competition this Saturday and Sunday at Impact Athletic Center in Halfmoon.

Each participating team will play three games in the invitation-only event. Squads featuring numerous Division I college prospects will come from throughout New York, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and New Jersey to play, with local athletes from schools including Niskayuna, Saratoga Springs and Shenendehowa also set to compete.

Games will be played at three age levels; one for players in 11th grade, another for players in 10th grade, and one for players in 9th grade or younger.

Fans can attend for an admission fee of $40 for the entire weekend’s 46 games, or $30 for a single day’s games. Merchandise and concessions will also be available.

Games begin Saturday at 9 a.m. and run continuously over four courts at the Impact Center until 7 p.m. Games resume Sunday at 9 a.m. and will be played until mid-afternoon. Admission enables spectators to watch any game on any court.

Live broadcasts of games are able to be watched for a $99 general admission broadcast package and may be purchased at http://gymratchallenge.com/girls-gymrat-live/access-the-broadcast. Purchasing the general admission package enables viewers to watch all broadcast and streamed games live, as well as allows archived access to all games.

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