Nike Hoop Summit Preview: USA Team

Nike Hoop Summit Preview:  USA Team
Apr 05, 2006, 03:02 am
The Nike Hoop Summit features the USA Basketball Men’s Junior Select Team, comprised of the top high school boy senior players, playing against a World Select Team, comprised of top players 19-years-old or younger from around the world.

The Hoop Summit will be played on Saturday, April 8th at FedExForum in Memphis, Tennessee. FSN will broadcast the game live at 4 PM EST.

Because of the age limit, NBA scouts will only be allowed to attend the World Select team practices and the game itself, but DraftExpress scout Mike Schmidt will be in Memphis covering everything.

Last year, Tyler Hansbrough gave UNC fans a taste of what to expect in his freshman season by absolutely dominating the game with 31 points and 10 rebounds en route to a 106-98 win by the US.

2006 World Roster.

2006 US Roster

Kevin Durant - 6'9, 200 lbs; SF; signed with Texas

McDonald's All-American Stats: 25 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists (co-MVP)


Jonathan Watters

Even in a 2006 class with a phenomenal amount of superstar potential, it is hard to overstate the upside of Texas-bound Kevin Durant. Durant has long tantalized scouts with an impossible to replicate combination of length, athleticism and shooting ability for quite some time now, and he displayed plenty of it in last week's McDonald's All-American game. To put it simply, there aren't many better shooters at any level - I'm not talking five years down the road, but right now. Did we mention he is pushing 6'10, and is a terrific athlete?

Everything about Kevin Durant's game is smooth. He handles the ball quite well for a big kid still in high school, and is already capable of taking formidable opponents off the dribble. His shot is entirely effortless, deadly quick, and impossible to block. He appears to be more comfortable playing on the perimeter at the moment, and doesn't have the bulk or physical nature to play in the post at this point. For these reasons, it is easy to see Durant as an NBA SF someday. He says he patterns his game after Rashard Lewis, and it is easy to see the similarities there.

Of course, Durant has the potential to be much more than just a 3-point bombing big man. His remarkable touch isn't confined to outside the arc, as he looks very agile and fluid in the lane and around the rim. Midrange and turnaround jumpers come just as easily as 3-pointers, when he attempts them. His long arms and quick leaping ability give him the potential to be a "perimeter-oriented PF", provided the Texas coaching staff can get him in the weight room and convince him to utilize that natural length advantage closer to the basket.

While there is a bit of Darius Rice in his game, you would have to go back quite a long time to find a player with the potential to be a Kevin Garnett-mold prospect as good as Kevin Durant. He first must decide whether he wants to be strictly an outside shooter and slasher, or would like to develop into an inside/outside threat. Scouts will get their chance to evaluate him next year at Texas, but it is pretty clear that if it wasn't for the age limit, only a couple of NBA teams would have gotten the chance to work him out before the 2006 draft.

What’s Next for Durant: Jordan Classic on April 22nd in New York, New York

Thaddeus Young- 6’8, 215 lbs.; SF; Signed with Georgia Tech

McDonald’s Stats: 14 points, 3 rebounds

Rodger Bohn

The versatile Young will be one of the top players to watch in this game, along with fellow small forward Kevin Durant. The Georgia Tech signee is one of the more complete players in the country, with the ability to take bigger players outside on the perimeter, and the ability to post smaller defenders on the blocks. His wide repertoire of skills is why many (including DraftExpress) have him ranked as the third best player in the class of 2006.

Thaddeus should contribute immediately next year for the Yellow Jackets and is a definite “one and done” candidate at the moment. His smooth game should translate over into immediate production during his freshman season in Atlanta. The McDonald’s All American did however make it clear that he was looking for a school that understood that he was looking to make the jump after just one year, and Georgia Tech had no problem with that at all. The Hoop Summit will be a great opportunity to see how an elite US SF like Young matches up with a top international SF in Luigi DaTome.

What’s next for Young: Adidas Derby Classic on April 15th in Louisville, KY

Gerald Henderson, 6-5, 205lbs.; SG/SF; Signed with Duke

McDonalds Stats: 16 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 turnovers, 6-10 FG

Mike Schmidt

The son of a former NBA player, Gerald Henderson has really advanced his game over the past year. Henderson possesses great athleticism as he displayed during the dunk contest at the McDonalds All-American game, and he knows how to use it. He gets great elevation on his shot, and he can really shoot it from mid-range. He has a reputation for being a bad three point shooter, but this aspect of his game has improved greatly, though it remains streaky. Henderson displayed his leaping ability on a tip dunk during the McDonalds Game, as well as a great feel for the game. His versatility on offense allows him to slash and finish in traffic, and post up and go to the hoop with the ball, a very rare skill for a guard to have a such a young age.

During the Hoops Summit, Gerald’s feel for the game should stand out in contrast to the limited abilities that most players show in high school all-star games. He will have a chance to put on a show against a European group of players who may be more experienced, but unfamiliar with the style Henderson plays.

Henderson is a fantastic NBA prospect, and should have a chance to contribute right away at Duke. To best prepare for the NBA, he will need to work on his ability to set up other players, and shoot the three with better consistency. His handle has improved greatly over the past year, but there is still some room for it to get better. Players who have Henderson’s combination of athleticism, shooting ability, mid-range game, and understanding of basketball are hard to come by, and he should become noticed in the national spot light next season, assuming Coach K gives him minutes. Most players aren’t ready to make the jump to the NBA after one year of college, but Henderson is definitely a guy to keep an eye on in that regard.

What’s Next for Henderson: Adidas Derby Classic on April 15th in Louisville, KY

Spencer Hawes- 6’10, 225 lbs.; C; Signed with Washington

McDonald’s Stats: 11 points, 5 rebounds


Rodger Bohn

Hawes is a very interesting player in that he has made all that you can ask for out of what he’s been given, but just doesn’t have the physical attributes to command immediate NBA attention. At only 6’10, he is a bit undersized for the center position in the NBA. Unfortunately for Spencer, he is an average athlete at best and has a pretty normal wingspan for a player of his size, not helping the cause at all.

On the flip side however, the Seattle native is one of the more skilled HS centers to come out in recent memory. He virtually has every post move in the book, can shoot jump hooks with either hand, and plays very hard each time he steps on the floor. Hawes is also remarkably coordinated for a center, possessing great footwork and making very fluid moves once he touches the ball down low.

Draft fans should look for Spencer to contribute immediately next year at Washington, as he will be reunited with his former AAU teammate, Jon Brockman. It’s tough to project what his potential is due to his lack of height and athleticism, but we remain confident that we’ll see Hawes in the NBA one day after a very productive career at Washington, no matter how long it may be.

What’s Next for Hawes: Jordan Classic on April 22nd in New York, New York

Paul Harris- 6’5, 230 lbs.; PG/SG/SF; Signed with Syracuse


Rodger Bohn

Quite possibly the biggest snub from the McDonald’s All American game, Paul Harris will surely be playing with a vengeance at the Hoop Summit. The power wing was snubbed from the McDonald’s game strictly because of his off the court problems four years that led him to spend some time in a juvenile detention facility.

Harris’ off court problems don’t take away from the fact that he is quite possibly the most energetic and charismatic player on the high school level. He plays every game like it’s last, and yells “Let’s Go!” at least twenty times per game. As far as basketball skills are concerned, Paul is the definition of a power wing, as he has the body of Corey Maggette right now. His ball handling, great vision, and slashing skills allow him to play anywhere from PG-SF consistently, and can even play some PF because of his great rebounding ability and strength.

The main thing that sets the Niagara Falls native back from being an immediate NBA prospect is his lack of an outside jumps hot. He has very awkward form on his shot and does not consistently knock it down, but possesses virtually every other trait that one would look for in a SG/SF prospect. It has been brought up that Harris is considering entering this year’s NBA Draft if he is allowed to, due to the fact that he’s been in high school for five years because of his time in a correctional facility, and is already 19 years old. The NBA has still not made a ruling on his situation, along with that of Davon Jefferson, but we feel that Paul would be best suited to spend some time at Syracuse refining his outside shot in front of all his fans before throwing his name in the NBA Draft.

What's Next for Harris: Jordan Classic on April 22nd in New York, New York

Brandan Wright- 6’9, 200 lbs.; PF; Signed with North Carolina

McDonald’s Stats- 12 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks

Rodger Bohn

After a sub par performance at the McDonald’s game, looking for Wright to look to show college and draft fans alike why he is regarded as a top five player in his class. He will have the opportunity to do this in the Hoop Summit, as he will most likely have the opportunity to be in the starting front line along with Spencer Hawes. Brandan should wreck havoc upon opposing international players with his extraordinary length and athleticism, as most of the foreign players will have never went up against a player with his freak attributes.

Look for the three time Tennessee Mr. Basketball to start next to Tyler Hansbrough next season at North Carolina. His defensive prowess and face the basket game will greatly compliment the ACC Freshman of the Year Hansbrough, as he does the majority of his work right near the rim. While some feel that Wright is a possible “one and done” candidate, we feel that he is best suited to spend at least two years in Chapel Hill before considering entering the draft. The Hoop Summit will give Tar Heel fans a sneak peak at the other half of their highly touted front line for next year, and Brandan will surely look to make up for his lackluster performance at the McDonald’s game.

What’s Next for Wright: Jordan Classic on April 22nd in New York, New York

Tywon Lawson, 5-11, 175; PG; Signed with North Carolina

McDonalds Game Stats: 4 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 turnovers, 2-7 FG

Mike Schmidt

Lawson possesses great speed and quickness at the point guard position, and has a knack for finding the open man. He can blow by any defender to get to the hoop, and finishes a number of different ways to avoid his shot being blocked. His three point shot has always been thought of as a weakness, but it has improved this season, though he still lacks any sort of lift on it. Lawson also is lacking in the mid-range area. It will be important for him to be able to develop a mid-range game as he starts to go up against more athletic shot blockers. Tywon possesses good court vision for player his age, but will need to improve his ability to read the defense, and react accordingly. His decision making should improve with age, but he will need to cut down on the instances in which he pushes the ball too far ahead into crowds with no place to go.

In the Hoops Summit, Lawson shouldn’t have any trouble getting the ball to the hoop. He chose to shoot a lot in the McDonalds game, but it could be very exciting if he decides to play the pure distributor role against the International team. Lawson has the tools to lead North Carolina from the start of his college career. His lack of size is the biggest thing inhibiting his NBA potential, but his great strength and quickness make up for a lot. If he can improve his three point shot, and if his decision making progresses as expected, Tywon Lawson has a very bright future playing basketball.

What's Next for Lawson: Jordan Classic on April 22nd in New York, New York

Vernon Macklin- 6’9, 225 lbs.; PF; Signed with Georgetown

McDonald’s Stats: 6 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers

Rodger Bohn

“The Big Ticket” had a decent McDonald’s All American Game, but didn’t really show much in terms of an offensive game. His ability to rebound the ball and block shots will gain him immediate playing time at Georgetown next season, but he will still be behind two all conference big men in Jeff Green and Roy Hibbert. Macklin’s finishes well around the rim, but really needs some development in terms of low post skills. His outside shot is very inconsistent at the moment, and he will really have to work hard on that if he hopes to pattern his game after his idol, Kevin Garnett.

In the Hoop Summit, Vernon will most likely play the same role he did in the McDonald’s game as a hustle player who does all the dirty work. His size and athleticism must just be too much for the international bigs to handle, but they surely don’t have to work on the Hargrave Military Academy product scoring 30 points on them.

As far as the NBA is concerned, it’s was rumored years ago that Macklin had his eyes on the NBA. It seems as if he has come to the realization now that he still has a ways to go, and he really picked a great school to develop at in Georgetown. With the Hoyas’ rich history of developing big men, it wouldn’t surprise me if we’re talking about Vernon as an NBA prospect down the road, but it’s a bit premature right now.

What’s Next for Macklin: Jordan Classic on April 22nd in New York, New York

Wayne Ellington, 6-4, 190; SG; Signed with North Carolina

McDonalds Stats: 8 points, 3-10 FG, 2-8 3 point FG, 3 rebounds

Mike Schmidt

Ellington has been ranked as the nations top shooting guard by the recruiting services, but was nowhere to be found in the McDonalds game. He has a nice stroke from the three point line, but it is real inconsistent, as is his mid-range jump shot. Ellington also possesses a weak handle, and struggles to finish in traffic. As a streaky player, he doesn’t have any redeeming qualities other than scoring. He is a good athlete, and when Ellington is on, it’s hard for anybody to stop him, especially his mid-range jump shot off the dribble. He is weak on the defensive side of the ball at this point in time, and must better utilize his athleticism in this aspect of the game.

The Hoops Summit is really the type of game that could allow Ellington go off for a huge night. The American team will probably try and push the ball a lot, which should allow him some open looks, and his perimeter shot will allow him to accumulate points quickly if it’s falling. In terms of NBA potential, Ellington is undersized, and will need to prove at North Carolina that he can contribute in other ways than scoring. He should be able to come in from day 1 and put the ball in the hoop, and will play a large role if the Tar Heels are going to be successful next season.

What’s Next for Ellington: Jordan Classic on April 22nd in New York, New York

Jon Scheyer- 6’5,180 lbs.; SG; Signed with Duke

McDonald’s Stats- 9 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists

Rodger Bohn

While the Duke recruit will not “wow” fans with any particular area of his game, he is one of the most productive players on the high school level and his McDonald’s performance surely reflected that. Scheyer raised his stock during his senior year of high school more then any player in the country, going from a borderline top 100 player to a McDonald’s All American. He had one of the most remarkable performances of the year at the Proviso West Christmas Tournament , where he scored 21 points in the final 75 seconds of a game to lead his team back within a few points after they were down by a large amount. Unfortunately for Scheyer and Glenbrook North, his miraculous performance wasn't enough to give his team a victory.

With the departure of Duke star J.J. Reddick, look for Jon to compete with Martynas Pocious for minutes in the backcourt next year for the Blue Devils. While he is a good three point shooter, his strength his definitely his mid range game and his crafty ability to score, so Scheyer should compliment the Lithuanian’s seemingly one dimensional game quite well. Even though he’s not a draft prospect at the moment, Reddick really wasn’t either at the same age, so only time will tell how much Jon develops over his career at Duke.

What’s next for Scheyer: Jordan Classic on April 22nd in New York, New York

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