2007 Nike Hoop Summit Player Evaluations
By Aran Smith
The 2007 Nike Hoop Summit took place on Saturday, April 7th. Despite having one of the more talented teams in recent memory, the World Team struggled to match up with the athleticism and talent of the USA squad. After falling behind by more than 25 in the first half, the World squad was able to rally to close the gap to 10. Team USA put them away with a run in the fourth quarter. The following is a recap of the 21 participant's performances and an outlook of their potential.
USA Select Team
[img_assist|nid=3938|title=Jerryd Bayless - Photo: Joe Murhpy / USABasketball.com|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=242|height=350]Jerryd Bayless -- Bayless had the most spectacular dunk of the game converting on a windmill in the first half. He showed solid defense drawing an early charge on Batum. He also displayed his excellent outside shooting ability finishing with 15 points on 5-10 shooting. He's in the Arenas mold of combo guard and will be an instant star at Arizona next season. How well he progresses as a point guard will determine whether he is a one and done player and how high he can go in the draft next season. But the offensive ability and athleticism is definitely impressive.
Michael Beasley -- With Bob Huggins move to West Virginia likely weighing on his mind, Beasley struggled to do much. He got blocked around the rim on a number of occasions by the two extremely long World players Ajinca and Alabi, and finished 3-15 from the floor. As great as he looked in the McDonald's game, he struggled here. His shot was flat as he was short on a number of outside attempts. And his free throws were long as they kicked off the back of the rim. Overall a frustrating day for him.
Johnny Flynn -- Flynn tied the all time assist record at 10 previously set by Greg Paulus. He followed up an impressive McDonald's game with another excellent performance. Finished with just 2 points but had an excellent showing setting up Mayo and Rose and others for numerous dunks and easy baskets. His highlight play was tracking down a long full court Bayless pass with a wrap around behind the back bounce pass to Patterson for the dunk. Flynn is an impressive point guard prospect, the only thing he's really lacking is size.
Donte Greene -- The second of two Syracuse bound recruits, along with Flynn, suiting up for the USA squad. Greene had a solid showing with 10 points and 8 boards, hitting 4-10 from the field. His versatility is extremely impressive as he has the ability to face the basket and use the dribble drive, as well as rebound and defend in the post. His length allows him to finish at the rim as well as defend extremely well. On one sequence, he grabbed the rebound, dribbled the length of the court leading the break, hit a teammate and received the ball back getting fouled at the rim. He still needs to add strength, but has considerable upside.
Kevin Love -- His ability to find teammates that leak out with pin point passes from 80 feet is a huge weapon. He's good for 4-6 points per game due to his Wes Unseld-like outlet ability. The rest of his game is also very smooth. He shows a high basketball IQ with great vision and passing ability. He moves very fluidly for a player his size and is a load around the basket. His wide base makes gathering boards out of position tougher. He's probably closer to 6-8 than 6-10, but his wingspan allows him to play bigger. It was comical hearing the announcers read off his listed weight at 240 pounds. He's easily 260-270 pounds and he's very nimble at that weight. But he would be even more so if he could get down to around 250.
[img_assist|nid=3939|title=OJ Mayo - Photo: Joe Murhpy / USABasketball.com|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=236|height=350]OJ Mayo -- Had a much better showing than in the McDonald's game. Mayo had his jumper falling and converted on a number of outside shots as well as breakaway dunks. As usual, he wasn't bashful about putting up shots, but unlike in the McDonald's game, he wasn't forcing bad shots and looked to involve teammates instead of shooting any time he touched the ball. He had a few impressive passes, one in which he found Singler under the basket for what was almost an assist had the ball not rolled out. He also hit Rose with a nice half court ally oop. He hit 2-5 from 3, 6-12 overall finishing with a team high 20 points.
Patrick Patterson -- Patterson was impressive patrolling the paint and converting on a number of thunderous dunks. Splitting time with Love and Beasley, he saw 21 minutes of action finishing with 12 points and 8 rebounds on 6-9 shooting. Four of those baskets came on dunks. He ran the floor very well, and showed excellent hands on a number of occasions to catch and convert. Patterson is going to be a huge signing for someone and an absolute beast on the college level. If he measures 6-9, he's a future first round pick. But more likely he's in the 6-8 range and will probably end up a bubble first rounder after 3-4 years in college.
Derrick Rose -- Playing in front of his soon to be home crowd, Rose displayed the excellent athleticism and point guard skills that make him an elite prospect. He shied away from shooting outside shots, focusing more on setting up teammates. He missed on the only three pointer he attempted, but was a big factor in the win nonetheless. He played solid defense making things more difficult for World Team PG Koponen. He finished 4-5 shooting with all four of his field goals coming on dunks and lay ins. He finished with 8 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, and 4 steals. He lacks a fluid shooting motion, as he sort of cocks the ball back before he releases it. He'll need to smooth out his shooting release, but his shot has improved in the past season.
[img_assist|nid=3940|title=Kyle Singler - Photo: Joe Murhpy / USABasketball.com|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=232|height=350]Kyle Singler -- Singler was impressive once again, though his stats were modest. In limited action, (16 minutes) he had 8 points on 3-5 shooting. His shot off the dribble and his catch and shoot are both very impressive. He hit 1-3 from 3 and shows a very good feel for the game. He never seems to force things and usually makes the right decision. His movement on the floor, making cuts away from the ball and defensive positioning show a high level of basketball understanding. He's been built up considerably and deserves the hype that surrounds him. Look for him to become the next big star at Duke in the next season or two.
Nolan Smith -- Smith came off the bench with a so so performance. He finished with 4 points on just 2-8 shooting struggling to convert on his jumpshot. Both of his baskets came inside as he scored one inside on a drive challenging the World team big men. The other was on a follow up dunk off a Donte Greene miss. Smith's athleticism and length will be a key addition to the Duke backcourt next year. His versatility to play either backcourt position and score or distribute gives him a lot of value. He's very athletic in transition and in the past year has become a much better floor general and decision maker playing at Oak Hill Academy.
World Select Team
Alexis Ajinca -- Ajinca appears to have hit a wall. His body strength just hasn't shown enough improvement in the past year to get real excited about him. He's obviously got a tremendous body - length wise, and his skill level is not bad. But you can't help but think he's going to end up running into the same problems that plagued Jonathan Bender. If he doesn't get on a better strength program and bulk up and become stronger in the post, he may never be anything in the NBA. If he doesn't get the ball in low with a clear path to the basket, he really struggles with the strength of opposing bigmen. Patrick Patterson pushed him out of position at will. Defensively he is an excellent shot blocker, but he gets pushed out of position far too easily. Unless he can get up to 240 pounds in the next few years, his chances of making an impact in the NBA are limited.
Solomon Alabi -- The Florida State recruit shows good upside. He's still very raw and figuring out what he can do, but he shows flashes of excellent potential. He had one dunk off a full court pass. He struggled to convert inside with the strength of the USA players but his length and agility are intriguing. He has a chance to turn into a nice player if he works hard at it at Florida State.
Nemanja Aleksandrov -- Aleksandrov has lost his luster missing much of the past two seasons due to a knee injury. Having nearly two years on most of the other kids in this game, he failed to dominate the way he should have. He did finish with 14 points (6-14 shooting) and a game high 14 boards, using his 6-11 height well inside. He's on the comeback trail, but it's obvious he's never going to fulfill the immense potential he had as a 15-16 year old. He was once thought to be the top overall prospect in Europe and a future top 5 pick. He lacks body strength and plays somewhat timid because of it. His lack of foot speed really limits his ability to fit a position in the NBA. He's obviously very skilled and was able to use his 6-11 height to score inside, but his lack of body strength will make those types of baskets nearly impossible on the NBA level. He's got a nice jumper, but appears to be a NBA role player at best and more likely a high level European player.
[img_assist|nid=3941|title=Nicolas Batum - Photo: Joe Murhpy / USABasketball.com|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=263|height=350]Nicolas Batum -- Batum was the player scouts were focusing on most, and he was absolutely sensational. He likely played himself into being a lottery pick with his performance in this game. He was that good. After a slow start, Batum blew up with an assortment of impressive dunks and outside shots. He was the game's high scorer with 23 points on 9-13 shooting, hitting 3-5 from deep. He first converted on a drive to the basket in which he dunked over Patrick Patterson. He then caught a great Koponen pass for a thunderous ally oop dunk. He also displayed excellent passing ability setting up teammates for baskets on a number of occasions, and ones that should have been converted as well. Batum's 7'1" wingspan is very impressive for a wing player, giving him a huge edge defensively and on drives to the basket. He also led the World team with 4 steals.
Omri Casspi -- Casspi showed heart as he stepped up giving the World team an emotional lift when it appeared the game was slipping away from them. With the USA team up 42-15, he triggered a run with two emphatic dunks showing the competitiveness to not back down. The World team would fight back and ultimately close the gap to 10 in the second half before another Team USA run put them away. Casspi has great speed in the open court and shows adept ability to handle the ball. He showed the ability to finish at the rim finishing with 14 points on 4-9 shooting.
Nihad Djedovic -- Djedovic is one of the top wing prospects in Europe in this age group but he struggled to show it in this game. He's a gifted shooter and athlete with excellent length, but he seemed a bit overwhelmed by the USA team's athleticism. He had one lightly contested lay up, but left it short and had his follow up attempt sent packing air mail by Patrick Patterson. Finished a dreadful 0-6 from the field with 1 point as he was never able to get on track offensively.
Chen Jianghua -- Chen was the only player on the USA team with limited English, and it may have affected his playing time. He saw limited action and was unable to shine when he did play. He missed one easy lay up late in the game, and wasn't much of a factor. Chen had a much better showing against Gilbert Arenas and the real USA Team in Japan last summer. He did show decent passing ability on a few possessions, but other than that didn't see the playing time to do much.
[img_assist|nid=3942|title=Pettiri Koponen - Photo: Joe Murhpy / USABasketball.com|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=279|height=350]Petteri Koponen -- Koponen had an excellent showing playing against the extremely talented USA Team backcourt. Other than Batum, he appeared to be the top prospect for the World Team. Going up against Rose and Mayo, he had his work cut out for him. He played very well finishing with 6 assists and 1 turnover carrying the bulk of the load handling the ball and running the show for the World Team. He showed great speed in the open floor getting by Rose and to the rim on one occasion. Like Rose, he didn't force things offensively and made his greatest impact with his exceptional vision, finding teammates for good looks with great passes. He showed excellent ball handling ability handling the USA pressure with ease. He hit one deep three pointer off the dribble finishing with 7 points on 2-4 shooting. Despite the high level of competition, Koponen competed and impressed. He's a surefire NBA prospect due to his size, speed and point guard skills.
Emir Preldzic -- Didn't have a sensational game, but does a lot things that impress you. Has a real nice combination of length and skills. He doesn't blow you away athletically, but he's very solid. His passing ability is very good for a 6-9 forward. He found open teammates with full court passes on a number of occasions, as well as hitting teammates for ally oops. His shot is improving and he makes good decisions with the ball. He needs to add strength but appears to be a very solid prospect. Sort of the European version of Donte Greene, only less athletic. Finished with 7 points on 2-6 shooting.
Ryan Richards -- Was added to the team due to the injury to Georgian big man Giorgi Shermadini. The Brit saw just 3 minutes of action and went scoreless. He has decent mobility and size (6-10) but without much action, that's about all you could say about him. Doesn't appear to be a big time prospect.
Aleksandar Ugrinoski -- Ugrinoski has put on some weight, which had been the biggest concern for him. He has good length at the point guard position, but lacks great strength and athletic ability. With Koponen taking most of the point guard minutes, he and Chen did not see much action. Finished without a field goal attempt or point and 2 assists in 10 minutes of action.
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