The Nike Hoop Summit is likely the most prestigious basketball event featuring youth players. Having become a staple in the calenders of NBA scouts since its inaugural event in 1995, the Hoop Summit has featured several notable players like Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Derrick Rose, Kevin Love, Kevin Garnett, and Tony Parker.
This year's event is played on April 11th, 12 pm. In the States, you can catch it on ESPN2. Here's an in-depth look at the rosters:
Ben Simmons might be the star player at this year's Nike Hoop Summit. Multiple draft portals project the Australian native to be a top three pick in the 2016 NBA draft. Born into a basketball family in Down Under, Simmons laced up his sneakers at the age of seven and played for a local club before accepting scholarship at the Australian Institute of Sports which was also Dante Exum's home prior to declaring to the draft. In January 2013, Simmons moved to Florida to play at Montverde Academy where he made an instant impact on the US scene. The Australian won the national high school championship in 2014 alongside college stud D'Angelo Russell.
Simmons competed at the Adidas Nations and FIBA Under-17 World Championship where he played a minor role on a silver medal winning Team Australia starring Dante Exum. In 2013, he took part in the Jordan Brand Classic and was a McDonald's All-American in 2015. He was named Naismith Prep Player of the Year for '15 and is going to play college ball at LSU whose coaching staff has ties to Simmon's father. He has limited experience with the Men's National team after competing in two games against New Zealand, and he took part in its training camp prior to the World Championship in 2014.
Watching Simmons play with Exum at the FIBA event, he looked slightly chubby but seems to have transformer his body extremely well.
Here's a neat picture of Exum and Simmons when they were kids:
They look kewl.
Simmons possesses a superlative sense of timing for making the right play at the right moment. A southpaw, Simmons gains tremendous advantage from left-handed deception and impulse. He thrives facing the basket, knocking down short- and medium-range jump shots, putting the ball on the floor and attacking the rim, making slick passes all over the court, crashing the offensive glass and generally reading defenses like a very tall quarterback.
He possesses uncommon coordination for a 6-8 athlete, and he utilizes every ounce of that ability to make an impact. Simmons also is aggressive around the rim and has filled out naturally to 220 pounds, making him very effective at drawing contact and forcing foul trouble onto opponents. He’s a good leaper with a running start, and he likes to roam anywhere from the baseline to the elbow for quick jumpers off the catch.Thinking ahead, is the 6-8 Simmons athletic enough to be a four-man in the NBA? And if he’s a wing, will he possess the quickness to reside full-time on the perimeter? NBA scouts may fret that he lacks the shot-creating talents to be more than an opportunistic scorer in the pros. He doesn’t possess vintage NBA burst and isn’t much of a straight-up leaper, nor is he extremely agile.
RIVALS150: #1 ESPN100: #1 Scout.com: #2
The 2015 World Team is also headlined by Haitian native Skal Labissiere who is currently projected to go high in the 2016 lottery. Labissiere moved to the United States at the age of 14 after the a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2014, causing the death of 100.000 people. Labissiere himself was lucky to escape alive. Looking for shelter in his parent's home, the structure collapsed and trapped Skal with his mother and a sibling beneath the debris for hours. Skal lost feeling in his legs temporarily and was unable to walk for weeks.
After that tragic event, Labissiere had the opportunity to enroll at Reach Your Dream prep school in the States which specializes on integrating international talent into the US hoops scene. Skal made a name for himself right away and was a highly sought after recruit as a five star prospect. He made it known that he intends to play for coach Callipari at Kentucky. The Haitian switched High Schools to begin the season on a more competitive program but was ruled ineligible for some reason. Thus, he is unable to play any organized basketball apart from the Hoop Summit until he can enroll in college.
Labissiere’s reach, mobility, quickness and overall skill level have cemented him near the top of the class. He boasts outstanding face-up ability for a 6-11 hoopster, stepping as far outside as 22 feet and drilling three-pointers from the top of the key. Not only that, he can score from the interior and middle areas as well.
Meanwhile, unlike most big guys with shooting touch, he doesn’t need to be stationary or require much time to release his shot. He genuinely shoots like a smaller player and in Vegas even hit some stepback jumpers from the baseline. Just imagine what five more years of experience and muscle will do for his game.
RIVALS150: #4 ESPN100: #3 Scout.com: #3
Thon Maker is another international prospect who is developing his skills in the States. Well, he's not just "another" prospect. Maker might have been the biggest name in the high school circuit for about a year and was billed either the next Kevin Garnett or Kevin Durant 2.0.
Maker's history is similar to Labissiere's in that he's escaped a threatening situation even though it wasn't as defined as in Skal's example. Maker was born in South Sudan which was a disputed territory at this point. Thon escaped the civil war with his brother Matur, also a hoops prospect playing with him at a Canadian high school, and his aunt. They were granted refugee status in Australia where Maker was discovered by a local Australian scout while playing soccer. After dominating the youth scene in Australia for a while, Maker got the opportunity to play in North America.
Recently, high school scouts have asked people to temper their enthusiasm for Maker a bit. His mixtapes are impressive and you won't find many seven footers who can dribble the ball as well as he does. However, scouts say that he's not nearly as polished as he appears in those videos, and might struggle to transfer these skills that are defining him to the next level.
Maker is very quick both off the floor and laterally. Down the road he could prove highly effective defending against the pervasive screen and roll offenses of college and the NBA, and his explosive leap enables him to swat shots at a solid rate. He also retrieves offensive rebounds before opponents are able to jump into the play, and his rapid dunking style catches many observers off-guard. He does need to gain lower body strength.
RIVALS150: #5 ESPN100: Class '16 Scout.com: Class '16
Zhou Qi is this year's World Team third headliner. Qi has been dominant at the youth circle by not only being extremely tall (7'6 wingspan) but also by possessing great mobility and fundamentals. He's just a treat to watch posting up, spinning off either food to finish smoothly off either hand. In his CBA debut this year, Qi has shown some of the issues that were apparent in years past. He's not very physical on either end and has had stretches were he looks very passive and has trouble making his presence felt. Unsurprisingly with such length, weight is an issue. Adding strength to such a long frame isn't easy and even if he doesn't fill it out, there's hope that he learns to use his length and footwork to bother players in the post.
Zhou had a very good rookie year still, anchoring a top five defense in China and averaging 3.3 blocks in 30 minutes which netted him the Chinese Defensive Player of the Year Award. He also shot 70% from the floor in a physical league and isn't a turnover machine which is also a good sign.
The vast majority of his scoring has come as a finisher out of the pick-and-roll and off of putbacks. Zhou has improved as a screener, extending his legs wide to set position. He moves very fluidly diving down the lane, has soft hands to catch the ball on the move and plays above the rim as a target for lobs. He’s unable to finish through contact and lacks strength to elevate with power to finish strong around length with consistency.
His lack of strength also keeps him from establishing inside position under the glass but his length and jumping ability help him reach the ball at a higher point than the average competition and rebound outside of his area as well.
He also impacts the game through his length and jumping ability on the other end. Zhou has good quickness rotating to the front of the basket in help-defense and is able to play above the rim both as a shot blocker and by using verticality to alter opponents’ balance through body contact.
Diallo arrived in the United States on Valentine's Day in 2012 without speaking any English or having anybody from his family accompany him on his trip. Through the international program of a high school focused on hoops, Diallo got in touch with organized basketball for the first time after just starting to play the game two years prior. He learned quickly and started to dominate all sorts of AAU camps and competitions. Recently, he was named the MVP of the 2015 McDonalds All-American game where he scored 18 points to go with 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and a block.
Diallo seems to be a great guy as well who doesn't forget where he comes from. Much like our Gorgui Dieng and OKC's Serge Ibaka, Diallo is helping out his native home of Mali wherever he can, even as a hoops amateur. Diallo gathered all the gear he would be handed out for free at AAU events and camps, threw them into seven suitcases and took them back to Mali to distribute them for free. Among those were more than 50 pairs of shoes which he gave to kids playing streetball with improper footwear.
Diallo plays with the energy and is fairly skilled. Watching him for five minutes can be misleading because, despite his intensive focus on the little things, he actually bundles impressive overall ability under the layers of rugged work and competitiveness. He’s a fantasy player’s dream, because even on nights when he’s less involved offensively, he still gets numbers.
I’ve always regarded Diallo as a short 6-9, but his 7-3 wingspan negates any controversy about his height.Diallo combines exceptional physical gifts for offensive rebounding with indefatigable stamina, making him a constant weapon cleaning up his teammates’ misses.
Meanwhile, he’s a flexibility dynamo. Diallo can extend and contort in seemingly painful ways to snag a rebound out of his area. That capability, along with his long arms, enables him to play much taller than the average 6-9 center. His footwork also isn’t too bad. He can set up on the block and deliver buckets via short turnarounds and the occasional dropstep or step-under move.
Defensively, he’s a superlative shot blocker who should become even more effective positionally once he gains muscle. At 210 pounds, he isn't a lightweight now and already possesses wiry strength.
RIVALS150: #7 ESPN100: #1 Scout.com: #9
I guess George Lucas is this year's Bruno Cabloco if scouts actually gave a damn about the South American youth scene in the past years. I don't quite know what to think of Lucas. His tools are exciting. He's not as big as you'd want him to be on the wing but he's strong, seems to have great wingspan and huge hands. This makes me want to lazy comp him to Eric Bledsoe. On the other hand, I can't help but think that Lucas is an overreaction to last year's 'Cablocogate' where nobody ever heard of Bruno before he suddenly got selected in the middle of the first round. Did scouts expose Lucas recently just for the sake of exposing somebody from South America? I have no idea. It will be interesting to see him go up against a bunch of very good, versatile guards on both teams. He's also turning 19 years old in just a month so he's not exactly the youngest guy in this field.
Currently, Lucas is not a rotation guy with Brazil club Pinheiros, appearing in only six games and 26 minutes total. He's had some experience against international talent at the Under-18 Americas and the NIKE Global Challenge where he was named an All-Tournament performer.
Stronger than he is explosive, Lucas has filled out his frame substantially in the past six to eight months and does not look anywhere near a finished product athletically. While not a high-flyer at the moment, he's a fluid and shifty ball-handler who can operate at different speeds and is able to get to almost anywhere he wants on the court thanks to his terrific size and strength, particularly in transition.His gigantic mitts, reminiscent of baseball gloves, give him an added dimension as a ball-handler and distributor, allowing him to execute some advanced moves with the ball and whip passes all over the floor. While still at an early stage of his development as a playmaker, he's a very creative and unselfish passer, a willing facilitator who sees the floor well at his high vantage point of 6-5, and does a nice job particularly in drive and dish situations. The point guard position appears to be his natural spot on the floor, as he's not a combo looking to convert to the position.
Federico Mussini looks like a baby, but this kid has been a killer in European youth circles. Federico Mussini just turned 19 years old and he has extensive pro experience to show for his youth. After getting his feet wet in the Italian League and Eurochallenge last year, Mussini has become a rotation player for competitive Italian club Reggio Emilia. Mussini projects to become a player who can be unconscious from the three point line. He's struggling with his efficiency with a bigger workload against serious, mature competition but has been an elite youth shooter from beyond the arc and the free throw line for many years now.
Mussini is not a one trick pony, however, and has shown the ability to run an offense patiently as well, able to read options as well. Just like so many young ball handlers, he's been turnover prone. Also while he has remarkable instincts and is fairly quick, he does look to have trouble getting into the lane on a pick and roll at times. He's also appears to be a surprisingly effective and active defender, at least at the youth stage.
Mussini seems to be on an amateur deal with Reggio Emilia as it's becoming more and more likely that he will move to the States to play collegeball.
Nedim Buza is the oldest participant in this field as he's turning 20 next month. You might wonder why Buza is wearing a shirt of our beloved Bucks (go Bucks) in this picture. Buza was touring the States for pre-draft workouts last year and also participated at the Wassermann combine next to guys like Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid.
Buza stands somewhere around 6'8 or 6'9. He's been playing consistent rotation minutes for KK Spars Sarajevo in the relatively weaker Bosnian league for two seasons and is having himself a fine campaign this year as well. Buza projects to become an interesting shooter with size who is not afraid to put the ball on the floor. He's hitting around 35% of his three pointers for the second year in a row on a decent volume. More than 50% of his shots come from beyond the arc and he should be able to stretch the floor for this World team. He's not been doing much other than spotting up for shots in the past years. This year however, he's been much more active on the boards and is showing active hands on defense, accumulating a good number of steals.
Buza won gold alongside Jusuf Nurkic at the Under-20 B-Division Euro Championship last year. He's also participated at numerous NIKE Junior Tournaments across Europe where he was named an all-tournament performer twice. All in all, he's had extensive experience at the European youth circle.
Tai Wynyard was born in 1998 and might be the youngest participant here. Born in Auckland, Wynyard debuted in the New Zealand NBL at the age of 16 before traveling to the States to compete at the Jordan Brand Classic. Tai made his debut for the Men's National team in a game against South Korea, and joined the team for its camp prior to the FIBA World Championship in 2014. Instead of competing with the Seniors, Wynyard led the Under-18 tournament at the Oceanic Championship where they lost the final in a nail biter to Australia. Wynyard finished the tourney averaging 16 points and 8 rebounds on a beastly 67% from the field.
Recently, the Kiwi has joined an Australian NBL team on an amateur deal preserving his NCAA eligibility. Wynyard has declared to play for the prestigious Kentucky program but probably won't join them before 2016/17.
Jamal Murray is a Canadian guard who has gained momentum over the last year and is seen as one of the better point guard prospects in North America right now. He's returning to the Hoop Summit after competing last year where he scored 10 points to go with 5 rebounds and 2 assists as the lone capable ball handler on the World Team next to Manuel Mudiay. He has also competed in numerous prestigious youth events like the Adidas Nations, the Nike Global Challenge and FIBA Under-16 Americas and Under-17 World Championship. He's also been an invitee at the first Basketball Without Borders camp in New York City two months ago where he was named a camp all-star.
Unlike many point guards his age, Murray is very much in control throughout games. You won't get incredible highlights from him, but you also barely come across games where he chipped high turnover and low shooting numbers which is uncommon for ball handlers in Under-17 competition. Murray is currently playing at Orangeville Prep School where he's a teammate of Thon Maker. He's also a terrific shooter.
Players who boast a mid-range pullup game always command respect, and Murray is far ahead of his years in terms of creating his own shot off the dribble and elevating from 14-18 feet. He's also a tricky dribbler and has excellent size for the backcourt. With time, he should develop into a fine defender as well.
RIVALS150: Not ranked ESPN100: Not ranked Scout.com: #34
Peno grew up in Serbia and moved to Spain in 2011 to join the junior squads of FC Barcelona. I often get the feeling that Stefan Peno does not have many fans in Europe. At 6'5, Peno possesses great size to play the point guard position but his wild playing style hunting for highlight plays at times, and his shooting have made his life running an offense fairly hard in the last few years. Peno is not showing much progress as a shooter, either from beyond the arc or the free throw line.
In 2012/13, Peno was promoted to FC Barcelona's second team which was playing in the 2nd Spanish league at the time. Here, he wa sharing ball handling duties with Ludde Hakanson. Playing against prospects and veterans alike, Barcelona couldn't handle the competition being run by two 16-year olds and got demoted to the 3rd league after finishing with a win loss record of 5-21. This year, Hakkanson is sharing time between Barcelona's Senior and second team which gives Hakanson more of an opportunity to dominate the ball (He's played in 11 more games than Hakanson out of 25 total games). The results aren't pretty as Peno's individual numbers are quite hideous and Barcelona II having a win loss record of 9-17 in the 3rd Spanish league.
Peno does remind ma of Zach LaVine a little. Due to some traits that are rather hard to find in Europe, he was tasked to develop in the role of a point guard which might not suit him given his court awareness and timing. It's not that he's anywhere as athletic as LaVine, but his playing style mirrors that of US point guards since he's an amazing slasher. There is a lot of good and some more bad with Peno, but he's not turning 18 until August 2015 so there's still a lot of time to develop.
Jaylen Brown is probably the biggest name on the US team. He's played several US camps sponsored by clothing companies, played for the Under-18 team at the FIBA Americas and is a McDonalds All-American. Also, he's been of the first US players to attend Eurocamp after it expanded to a delegation of US players.
RIVALS150: #2 ESPN100: #2 Scout.com: #1
Malik Newman was named MVP of the Under-17 World Championship. Newman is a scoring guard who loves to pull up on threes and mid-range shots while being remarkably efficient.
Newman is a supreme scorer with athleticism, skill and intangibles. He creates his own shot nearly as well as anyone in high school basketball, regardless of class. He buries threes, generates mid-range offense and attacks all the way to the basket. He's slightly short for a wing and must improve his floor command in order to become a point guard, but clearly his future is very bright.
RIVALS150: #3 ESPN100: #4 Scout.com: #8
RIVALS150: #8 ESPN100: #6 Scout.com: #5
Henry Ellenson will play college ball for Marquette University.
RIVALS150: #18 ESPN100: #5 Scout.com: #6
Seven footer Stephen ZImmermann is also playing at Bishop Gorman high where he's a teammate of Chase Jeter. Look for some chemistry between these two.
Zimmerman is at his best catching and facing the basket, either putting the ball on the floor for crowd-pleasing slams or lofting in a soft medium-range jump shot. The southpaw moves the court gracefully both in a straight line and laterally. His overall ball skills as a handler and passer further complement his scoring tools, and his game fits the professional trend toward more versatile big men. He does need to gain strength for the next level.
RIVALS150: #11 ESPN100: #10 Scout.com: #8
Chase Jeter plays high school hoops at Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas which is the same school that produced our bazzed overlord. Jeter will play collegeball for Coach K at Duke University.
RIVALS150: #9 ESPN100: #9 Scout.com: #11
Swanigan is a beast in the paint. That is the easiest way to describe this power player from the Hoosier state. Weighing in at 260 pounds, he throws his weight around with force and it is often too much for opposing defenders to give an adequate resistance.
While the most notable attribute of Swanigan is his physical stature, what will makes him a 5-star prospect is his skill. He showed determination while working on the low block as he utilized the shot fake against longer opponents. Swanigan showed a nice jump hook in the lane over his left shoulder as well. And when defenders sat on his jump hook, he showed nimble feet to spin back to finish over his right shoulder. He did not show the range on his jumper that others have seen in past months. In a game full of slashing guards, he will need to be a threat on the step outs and I-cuts to be a well rounded post.
RIVALS150: #17 ESPN100: #8 Scout.com: #10
RIVALS150: #19 ESPN100: #12 Scout.com: #12
New York native Isaiah Briscoe will go to Kentucky University to play for Coach Callipari.
RIVALS150: #10 ESPN100: #13 Scout.com: #17
Combo guard Allonzo Trier will play on Arizona's college team.
RIVALS150: #13 ESPN100: #15 Scout.com: #16
Point guard Jalen Brunson has signed with Villanova University.
RIVALS150: #16 ESPN100: #17 Scout.com: #18
Luke Kennard will be one of the guys trying to defend the NCAA championship next year as he's joining Coach K's program where he will meet Chase Jeter again.
The southpaw wields a smooth stroke past the three-point arc, knocking down long jump shots thanks to touch, follow through and rhythm.But though his shooting may provide the basis of his offense, he doesn't just stand around waiting to receive a pass and launch. He's a fine ballhandler and a truly excellent passer who catches defenders off-guard due to his frequent use of ball fakes. Meanwhile, he possesses a nice mid-range game that flows effectively from his dribble into jumpers from the elbow.
RIVALS150: #25 ESPN100: #23 Scout.com: #24
So what's left to say? Watch the game and enjoy it.
dedicated to the racoon goon