Where They Are Now: Former Marist Athletes Flourishing In Pro Leagues

As Marist Athletics are currently on pause, former Marist players, who continued onto professional leagues across the country and abroad are actively playing.

Peyton Smith ’20 saw his Marist lacrosse career cut short due to the abrupt end to the 2020 season, but he did not let that stop him from moving onto the next part of his lacrosse journey.

Smith was drafted sixth overall in the 2020 Premier Lacrosse League (PLL) College Draft by Redwoods LC back in May. This made him the first Marist Alum drafted into the PLL, which is only two years old. Before the pandemic, the PLL was supposed to start their season in late May, but that was postponed until July when they held a championship tournament for their seven existing teams. Smith played in all six of the Redwood’s games, making it to the semi-finals of the tournament. Smith did not record a point yet in his PLL career but looks to be a bigger contender of the Redwoods team going into next season, which is most likely to begin in late Spring 2021.

Much like Smith, Alana Gilmer ’20, a beloved member of the Marist women’s basketball team saw the end of her senior year cut short, but is still taking the next steps into launching her professional career. Gilmer, who transferred to Marist from Virginia Tech, left as one of the most decorated in the history of the women’s basketball program. Gilmer talked with Center Field over the summer, where she shared that she was receiving interest to play for teams in the U.S. and Europe. She eventually signed with Espoo Basket Team, a professional basketball team playing in Finland’s Korisliiga.

“They were looking for a player with exactly my kind of game,” said Gilmer, when talking about how great of a fit she saw for herself with Espoo. The Korisliiga’s season began on October 10, which Espoo kicked off with a 74-73 win over Honka. The season is set to run through March 20, 2021. Gilmer is hopeful that her time in Finland will help her improve her game and, “recapture that love and joy I had for the game at Marist.”

Gilmer is not the first Marist women’s basketball player to play professionally in Europe. Both Maura Fitzpatrick ’19 and Lovisa Henningsdottir ’19 signed contracts with European teams after their senior year. Fitzpatrick headed for Germany to play for DJK Don Bosco in the Bundesliga. In the 2019-20 season, she made five appearances, where she averaged 29 minutes and nine points. For this year, Fitzpatrick moved to Wetterbygden in Sweden, where she is the starting small forward. In the first game of the season, she put up an impressive 23 points.

Henningsdottir, a native of Iceland, returned to her home country to continue her professional basketball career. She joined Haukar, who play in her home town of Hafnarfjorour, on a one-year contract. After making over 20 appearances, she renewed her contract for 2020-21. Henningsdottir has also had the privilege of appearing for the junior and senior National Teams.

Kevin McCarthy is somewhat of a legend for Marist Baseball. In 2013, after his junior year at Marist, he was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the MLB Draft. Starting after that with the Burlington Royals, McCarthy worked his way through the Royals’ minor league system all the way to their Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Storm Chasers. In 2016, he made Marist history when he was called up to Kansas City and made his first appearance in the majors against the Chicago White Sox. In 2017, he moved between the minors and MLB, but in 2018 saw 65 games with the Royals. McCarthy made the Opening Day roster in the previous two seasons and made 56 appearances in 2019 and, in the shortened season of 2020, saw the mound only five times. Because his rookie year occurred in 2017, McCarthy is signed to Kansas City until 2024. The Royals did not make the playoffs in 2020, so McCarthy and his team can now focus on the 2021 season.

One of the most well known Marist Alum to go pro is Jason Myers ‘12. After serving as the kicker and punter for Marist, he was not taken in the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent 2014 in the Arena Football League (AFL) playing for the Arizona Rattlers and San Diego SaberCats. Then in 2015, he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars and made his first appearance that season, making him one of two Marist Alumni to play in the NFL. Myers spent three years with the Jaguars before signing with the Seattle Seahawks in 2018. However, he was let go by Seattle before the start of the season; but one day later was picked up by the New York Jets. In his one season with the Jets, he became the starting kicker and set a franchise record when he made seven field goals in one game. He was also named to the Pro Bowl for his impressive season. Seeing Myers’ play in New York made the Seahawks reconsider their desire to have him on their team, and in 2019 signed him to a four year, $15.45 million contract. Another good year in 2019 ensured Myers as the Seahawks starting kicker throughout the year and into the 2020 season. Myers and the Seahawks have started 2020 impressively, going 4-0 through the first four weeks of the campaign, and with a veteran team look to make a run at the Super Bowl.

Edited by Bridget Reilly and David Connelly

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