2016 Nike Hoop Summit International Roster Breakdown
by: Jonathan Givony - President, Matt Kamalsky - Director of Operations
March 24, 2016
The Nike Hoop Summit World team was officially announced today, complementing the USA roster which was announced in January. The game is scheduled for Saturday, April 9th at the Rose Garden, in Portland, Oregon at 12:00 PM PST (3:00 PM EST).
Head Coach: L.J. Goolsby Assistant Coach: Eric Flannery
Nike and USA Basketball will once against bring some of the top under-20 players in the world together in Portland, Oregon for a week of practice in preparation for the 19th Nike Hoop Summit, an event that ranks among the most widely attended by key NBA decision-makers on the scouting calendar. This year's edition will be a particularly interesting one as, after the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team dominated throughout the mid-2000's, the World Team has played them to an even three-to-three record since Canadian head coach Roy Rana took the helm in 2010.
From a scouting perspective, the fact that there are at least six players on the World Select Team roster are currently on the NCAA-track makes this year's group one that has greater implications for the following year's draft than for this one, though there are a number of players with something to gain looking towards June 23rd.
This year's team has a lot of experience, with an average age of 18.7 years old relative to previous teams and compared to the 2016 USA Basketball Junior National Select team's average of 18.0 years. It has a more distinct global flavor than the World Select Team rosters of the last few years, as it features just 3 players currently competing in North America in DeAndre Ayton, Thon Maker, and Justin Jackson (Canada). With two other players from the Americas, one from Asia, two from Australia, and four from Europe, this is a very diverse group that has tremendous size at a number of positions and impressive versatility among their front court players with Ayton, Maker, and Markkanen in the fold.
DeAndre Ayton, the Bahamian 7-footer who is playing this season with Hillcrest Hoops out of Arizona, is widely considered the #1 player in the high school class of 2017, and subsequently the 2018 NBA Draft. There is a school of thought that he might be the best prospect in all of high school basketball in fact, which is saying something considering how loaded the 2016 senior class is considered to be.
An incredibly gifted 7-footer with ideal physical tools, an increasingly versatile offensive game, and tremendous overall upside, Ayton has an opportunity to solidify his standing in front of countless NBA decision-makers. That is increasingly important, as there are some question marks whether he will be eligible to compete in college in the 2017-2018 season, and he did not play up to his full potential at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in January where many NBA teams got their very first look at him. Ayton seemed bothered at times by the physicality of the very strong crop of international big men that he faced in Toronto, and was a step slow at times with his decision making and reaction speed. Not particularly well-coached at this stage of his career, Ayton is far more used to the loosey-goosey nature of high school and AAU basketball, where making highlights sometimes takes precedent.
Nevertheless, Ayton is an incredibly rare physical specimen with phenomenal upside as a shot-blocking, 3-point shooting, rebounding machine. He's young enough to still make up much of the ground he's lost with the roller-coaster ride he's been on the past few years since emigrating from the Bahamas, and competing in settings like this, where he'll be challenged by the coaching staff and facing elite-level competition over the course of a week, should help tremendously with his development.
From a 2016 NBA Draft perspective, few have more to gain from this event than French guard Isaiah Cordinier, who is ranked as a first round pick in our latest mock draft. We've been out to visit Cordinier twice in the past 15 months to check in on his progress, and he's in the midst of a terrific season in the French second Division averaging 11.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game for Denain, whose record sits at 10-13.
While not the tallest, longest, or strongest guard in this game, Cordinier has an impressive combination of athleticism, shooting prowess, basketball IQ and competitiveness that will undoubtedly make him a favorite of the coaching staff. Being one of the older and most experienced players in Portland, he has a chance to help his stock tremendously with a strong showing.
It is interesting to see three Australian players on the roster, something that tells you as much about how respected that country is in developing basketball talent, as it does about the organizers' will to field a competitive roster. Froling and Maker bring different things to this team, but what they share is an ability to play both inside and out.
Harry Froling, who is committed to Larry Brown and SMU, was named the MVP of the NBA Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in Toronto in January. What he lacks in athleticism he makes up for with a high skill-level and basketball IQ, which will fit in nicely on this roster with his ability to stretch the floor, set bruising screens, and also make things happen inside the paint.
Appearing in nine games for Townsville in the Australian NBL from October to January, he is one of the youngest players to appear in that league in recent seasons, so despite being just 17, Froling has a unique maturity to his game. Listed at 6'9 for the past few years, he's jumped up to 6'11 in the Hoop Summit's official release, so it will be interesting to see how accurate that proves to be when the official measurements are released.
Thon Maker returns for a second appearance at the Nike Hoop Summit, after an uneven showing in last year's event. A year older and more physically developed, Maker will have a chance to regain some of the ground he lost. While not the most explosive athlete or skilled perimeter shooter, Maker is a big time competitor who is not afraid to put a body on opposing big men and is more than willing to do the dirty work. Although he's unlikely to emerge as the NBA superstar his YouTube highlights unfairly billed him as earlier in his career, Maker can still continue to show the type of defensive versatility and team spirit he's become more known for recently. He finished the 2015 Hoop Summit with 2 points and 10 rebounds over 14 minutes.
There's still some question marks about whether or not he may be eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft, and his performance in Portland will go a long way in clearing up how much he might want to force the issue there.
The third Australian on the roster might be the most important from the World Team's standpoint, as he is the only pure point guard on the team. Despite standing 6'5, William McDowell-White has outstanding court vision and passing ability, which he demonstrated nicely at the Basketball Without Borders Global Camp in January and at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championships where he averaged 7.4 points and 3.7 assists per game competing against players as many as two years older than he was. On the college track, McDowell-White is still wide open with his recruitment, and a big showing in the game could convince some of the biggest schools in the country to get involved.
Already committed to Arizona, Finnish forward Lauri Markkanen is yet another big man with the ability to score inside and out. He is technically eligible to declare for the 2016 NBA Draft, but will likely prefer to wait at least a year or two as the level of competition he's faced in recent years in the Finnish second Division would make that an arduous jump. He's averaging 21.6 points this season to rank as the league's second leading scorer guiding HBA-Marsky, comprised entirely of young domestic talent, to a 12-15 record. Markkanen wowed scouts (and us) with his polished skill-level at the U18 European Championship in Greece last summer averaging 18.2 points and 6.3 rebounds over 29 minutes per game. He is a very good outside shooter, but is far from one-dimensional, also showing the ability to handle the ball, score around the basket, and also play competitive defense.
A major part of Sean Miller's rebuilding process in Tucson next season, this is a great opportunity for NBA teams and college basketball fans to get their first look at the polished power forward.
Another player we'll be keeping a close eye on next month in Portland is Brazilian wing Wesley Alves Da Silva, who goes simply by “Mogi” in his native country, because of the town he was born in.
Mogi had a tremendous showing this past summer at the adidas Nations camp in Los Angeles, leading all attendees in scoring and per-minute scoring at 23.8 points per game, and also opened some eyes at the U18 FIBA Americas Tournament in Colorado Springs in June of 2014. Disappointingly, he has had a tough time getting off the bench for his club team in Brazil, Paulistano, this season, as they are among the strongest in the league sitting in second place in the NBB with a 19-7 record. The 6'7 wing has impressive physical tools and demonstrates strong potential defensively, operating off the ball and in the open court. His skill-level and basketball IQ is still lagging behind his athleticism, though, so it will be very interesting to see how he fares in this setting, where he'll be the oldest player on the roster. Born in 1996, Da Silva could have already been in last year's draft, so a strong outing in Portland could very well lead him to make himself eligible this spring.
Edin Atic, like Mogi, is a perimeter player scouts will be keeping a close eye on here. Emerging as a prospect a few years ago scoring 16 points per game at the 2014 FIBA U18 European Championship for Bosnia, and doing the same once again this past summer at the same event (in Greece), Atic is a fluid athlete with nice size for a guard who has proven to be a creative scorer internationally Moving to AEK Athens to start the season, he made three brief appearances in EuroCup play before the Greek club made some coaching changes, leading him to return to KK Spars in his home country. Atic could be an x-factor for this team if he's playing well. Questions remain about his frame, maturity, jump shooting, and overall polish, but his athleticism and ability to create for himself and others give him some long-term upside. A strong showing here could help him solidify himself as one of the more promising guards among 97-born international prospects.
UNLV commit Justin Jackson gives the World Select Team additional size and scoring ability on the wing. Measured at 6'6 without shoes to go along with a 232-pound frame and near 7'2 wingspan at the Biosteel All-Canadian game last spring, Jackson spent this season at the Hill Academy outside of Toronto. A capable slasher with a streaky jump shot, Jackson would rank among the top-50 prospects in his high school class if he weren't considered a postgrad by some. Averaging 14.8 points and 8 rebounds per game at the FIBA U19 World Championships this will be a nice audition for Jackson in front of NBA decision makers to show the progress he's made since then. UNLV's open-ended coaching situation may cause Jackson to revisit his recruitment, and a strong game in Portland could but his name back in the spotlight stateside as his name has seemingly been off the radar much of the year.
Though Kentucky freshman Jamal Murray received a lot of attention for his performance against mostly professional players at the Pan American games, South Florida commit Andres Feliz was actually the youngest player to see consistent action in Toronto, averaging 5.8 points and 1.4 assists over 17 minutes per game for the Dominican Republic. A somewhat streaky, but crafty scoring guard with good quickness, the 6'1 Feliz, who spent the year at West Oaks Academy in Florida, is the only player on the World Select Team roster under 6'5 and could have a nice showing if he embraces the opportunity to handle pressure and create for others. Unranked by most recruiting services, Feliz figures to develop into a very nice college player under Orlando Antigua down the road.
Lithuanian guard Martynas Varnas is a big wing with experience running a team at the international level. Averaging 13.2 points, 4.8 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game at the 2015 FIBA U18 European Championship, Varnas lacks a degree of athleticism and isn't a true floor general, but has a nice shooting stroke and simply knows how to play. He could add something to this team as a secondary ball handler or as a floor spacer on the wing.
Varnas has played out the current season with Zalgiris's second team in the Lithuanian 2nd division, where he is averaging 14.1 points and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 38% from beyond the arc.
Chinese 7-footer Ziming Fan plays at the junior level for Foshan and possesses terrific size and strength, but a limited feel for how to use that to his advantage. He's seen little action in international competition and struggled at the 2016 Basketball Without Borders event held in Toronto a little over a month ago at All-Star Weekend. It will be interesting to see what he brings to this roster.
Kostas Antetokounmpo is the younger brother of Giannis and Thanasis, following them to the United States after Giannis was drafted by the Bucks, and currently residing in Milwaukee. Kostas will be Portland, though, barring an injury or late roster withdrawal, it is unclear at the moment if he will ultimately participate in the Hoop Summit game itself, as he is designated as the 13th player on the roster. A senior at Dominican in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, Antetokounmpo is considering a number of high major offers.
Not all that unlike Giannis at the same stage, he is a late bloomer physically who sprouted up a few inches late in his high school career, and whose defense is currently ahead of his defense. The 6'10 small forward will participate in the practice sessions, giving him a chance to test his length and budding skill set alongside a loaded roster, in a very competitive setting. Considering the amount of NBA teams who will be present in the practice sessions, Kostas can help himself tremendously with a strong showing in the practices.