On Friday April 12th, the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon was packed full of the best young basketball talent in the world. It of course played host to the 2019 Nike Hoop Summit.
The game pitted the 2019 USA Junior National Select Team against the 2019 World Select Team. Team USA was coached by Scott Fitch of Fairport High School in New York. And the World Team was coached by Roy Rana of Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The two teams battled valiantly back and forth. But in the end Team USA came away with the 93-87 win. Let’s take a look back at how the game played out and who contributed.
The World Team, filled with some of the best young international talent, came out aggressive in the first half. They led 50-43 at the half. This was in huge part due to the stellar play of Nico Mannion, their star guard. Mannion who was a finalist for the 2018-2019 Gatorade Player of the Year for Boys Basketball award, represents Italy in international play. He led all scorers in the game with 28 points. He also added five rebounds and five assists to his stat line. Mannion stated in the post-game press conference that he draws on inspiration from multiple NBA players. But he specifically has been watching a lot of film on Steve Nash and Chris Paul to hone his fundamentals. Mannion will be playing for the University of Arizona in the fall.
Also providing a great contribution for the World Team was Precious Achiuwa. The 6’ 9” forward from Nigeria recorded a double-double with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks. A versatile player who can likely play both forward spots, he draws inspiration from players such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo who are adept both from the wing and in the paint. He still has not decided where he will play college ball next year. He however has many offers from big-time NCAA schools on the table.
The second half saw Team USA get it together and mount a comeback. As head coach Scott Fitch put it, “culture kind of won the game tonight”. Team USA rallied and with the herculean efforts of their top players James Wiseman and Cole Anthony, were able to pull off the win. Wiseman a center from Tennessee was the 2018-2019 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year. He recorded 12 points, eight rebounds, and six blocks for the game. Wiseman will be attending the University of Memphis in the fall to play under head coach and former NBA star Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway.
Team USA’s leading scorer was guard Cole Anthony. He dropped 25 points to go along with eight rebounds, and two assists. Anthony of Oak Hill Academy in Virginia was the first player in the prestigious school’s history to average a
Stars of the Future
The Nike Hoop Summit provided excitement and wonder for all those in attendance. 217 past alumni of the game went on to be drafted in the NBA, and 12 of them were selected first overall. So just by looking at those numbers, it’s safe to say that the spectators of this year’s event were witnessing some NBA stars in the making.