SCPA graduate Gutierrez goes on hoops tour

St. Croix Preparatory Academy graduate and Macalester College junior Michael Gutierrez, left, recently toured Brazil as a member of an NCAA Division III basketball team. (Contributed photo)

St. Croix Preparatory Academy graduate Michael Gutierrez, a junior member of the Macalester College men’s basketball team, recently participated in a tour of Brazil as a member of an NCAA Division III basketball team organized by USA Sports Tours & Events.

Gutierrez, who scored more than 1,900 points during his prep career and also competed at state in cross country twice, earned All-MIAC Second Team honors as a sophomore at Macalester. He led the MIAC in scoring (21.6 avg.) for a team that finished 9-16 (5-15 MIAC), which was the most wins in conference and overall since the Scots went 11-14 (8-12) in 2006-07.

“This is an outstanding group of basketball players that come from 12 different states and 18 different colleges and universities from across the United States,” said Ron Smith, Director of USA Sports Tours & Events. “We feel that we have some of the best of the best representing almost every region in the country. These players have been high achievers both on the court and in the classroom. They represent everything good that the NCAA Division III institutions have to offer.”

After arriving in Sao Paulo, the teams — there is also a women’s team — practiced in the city of Jundiai, Sao Paulo on July 18. The teams conducted a youth clinic at the Clube Jundiense following practice.

The teams played games that were scheduled for July 19 in the city of Araraquara, which is in the state of Sao Paulo. The teams also traveled to Rio de Janeiro for games on July 22-23 against Mesquita and Queimados before closing out the tour at Fluminese in Rio on July 24.

While in Brazil the teams experienced educational, cultural and social aspects of Brazilian life through city, school and sports club visits. During their time in Rio de Janeiro, the teams stayed on the famous Copacabana Beach and toured the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugar Loaf Mountain — two of the most recognizable landmarks in the world.

Joining Gutierrez on the men’s team were: Devin Buckley (UW-River Falls), Edmund Fitzgerald (Castleton University), Mike Hollenbeck (Medaille College), Eric Houska (Colorado College), Cory Huff (Grove City College), Charlie Noon (UW-Oshkosh). Brayden Olson (Benedictine University), George Riefenstahl (Farmingdale State College) and Zach Smith (Hamline University).