The 21st annual Nike Hoop Summit will be taking place April 13, 2018 in Portland, Oregon, once again featuring an abundance of top prospects to monitor over the next few drafts. Seeing that this was the first year that I was able to attend the USA Basketball October Minicamp in Colorado Springs, I can say that choosing this team is no simple process. As always, Team USA will have a number of players who will hear their name called over the next few drafts. Here is some background info on each kid after having seen them participate in the minicamp and other events. With impressive performances the last two years from loaded high school classes, here are the players who hope to make it three victories in a row for Team USA.
Zion Williamson Spartanburg, SC 7/6/00 PF Duke
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’5 w/o shoes, 6’6 in shoes, 272 lbs, 6’10.5 wingspan, 8’7 standing reach
With an incredible combination of brute strength and athleticism, along with his jaw dropping aerial prowess, Zion Williamson has become one of the more popular high school players in recent memory. Leading Spartanburg Day to three consecutive state titles, Williamson averaged 36.4 ppg, 11.4 rpg and 3.5 apg as a senior. He was also the MVP of this summers Adidas Nations, capping the second year where he was one of the more impressive players in attendance.
USA October Minicamp
Williamson showed that beyond his rare combination of explosive leaping ability, quickness and strength, he has ball skills and vision that help affect the game in many ways. He was aggressive on the boards and showed adept touch near the basket. He is great at using his body and while at times he looked a tad winded, that never stopped him from playing hard and having an impact.
On top of his well documented explosive leaping from both stand still and with a head of steam, he showed an ability to put the ball on the floor. He had some beautiful spins baseline, and while many have noted he is strong left hand dominant, he showed that he was confident dribbling with either hand. Also impressive was his vision, he can pass on the move, eyes always seem to be up the floor and he does not at all mind pushing the break forward off the pass.
He had numerous impressive moments above the rim, though one was particularly outstanding. With the scrimmage tied 18-18 with little time left, Williamson lined up an incredibly timed block off the backboard on Jy’are Davis. He than ran the floor, got the pass at the top of the 3-point line, blew past Vernon Carey and dunked with authority to give his team the lead and eventually seal the scrimmage.
His jump shot is still definitely a concern, as he seems to have limited arch and line drives on most shots from the perimeter or even the FT stripe. Even so, he was a dominant presence during the minicamp, nearly unstoppable with a head of steam in transition and showing potential as a defender and playmaker.
During the McDonald’s week it appeared that Zion had indeed lost weight, and his conditioning will be key both in terms of his playing time and also injury prevention. While his strength gives him some advantages, he does lack ideal length and reach for a 4, which seems to be his most natural position moving forward. His ability to defend the perimeter will be key, and like most high school players, his defensive intensity and awareness will be something we know more about once he gets to college.
While he will undoubtedly remain a polarizing prospect due to the worries around his size and shooting, he is the youngest player on Team USA, while standing out time and again when he is among his peers at the top of this high school class. Zion will likely play the 4 and 5 spot most often at Duke, and it will be interesting to see if he uses his quickness and strength to his advantage or is bothered by the expected length he will face on the World Team. Finding these things out, not to mention the likely highlight or two we will see from this athletic marvel, will be worth the price of admission on April 13.
Cameron Reddish Norristown, PA 9/1/99 SG/SF Duke
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’6 w/o shoes, 6’7 in shoes, 211 lbs, 7’1 wingspan, 8’9 standing reach
Combining great size on the wing with ball skills and shooting potential, Reddish also has a lot of experience as a primary ball handler and displays good vision as a passer. He averaged 23.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg and 3.1 apg for Team Final in the 2017 Nike EYBL and was one of the key players on USA’s bronze medal U19 World Championship team. His Westtown team finished 20-12, though they finished 32-2 his junior season, where he teamed with Mohamed Bamba and Brandon Randolph.
USA October Minicamp
Reddish looked incredibly comfortable out on the floor and seemed to be up for the challenge amongst the best in the country. He shot well, was able to get to the basket often and was very competitive amongst the best in the class. When I saw him during EYBL Los Angeles, he was almost exclusively on-ball, though in this setting he seemed to excel being able to work with a point guard or at times handle it himself. He was much more efficient in this setting and it seemed like he had really worked on his jump shot, as he shot it well during the U19 World Championship (13-24 3PT, 20-24 FT) and at the Minicamp.
With more than adequate size to play the four spot in college and definitive guard skills, Reddish should be a match-up nightmare at Duke and was one in this setting. He possesses solid agility, runs well and has many motions to his game that seem to come quite naturally. It was great to see him as assertive and he stood out as one of the preeminent talents in the gym in Colorado Springs.
While he was great in the free flowing scrimmages at Minicamp and was able to use his size and skill to standout, the news from the McDonald’s practices was that he at times was content to blend in. It will be interesting to see if being back in the USA Basketball setting brings out the competitive fire in Reddish many people would like to see. With his combination of physical tools and vision, along with the potential to guard positions 1-4, Reddish has about as high of an upside as anyone in his high school class.
One thing to keep a close eye on will be how he handles his future Duke teammate, RJ Barrett, in what will be a rematch of sorts from when USA played Canada in the semifinals of the U19 World Championships. Barrett had a monstrous 38-point performance in the game, leading Canada to a 99-87 victory, while Reddish was held to 7-points. It seemed like Reddish was a man on a mission at points during his last high school season, with some even believing he could challenge Barrett for the top spot in the 2018 HS Class. This will be a great proving ground if Reddish plays a level headed, efficient game, shows competitive fire against Barrett and most important, gets the victory for Team USA.
Bol Bol Olathe, KS 11/16/99 C Oregon
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 7’1.5 w/o shoes, 7’2 in shoes, 226 lbs, 7’5 wingspan, 9’6 standing reach
Son of the tallest player in NBA history, Manute Bol, the younger Bol has created an identity different from that of his father while also being an elite rim protector. Bol was the regular season MVP of the EYBL, averaging 24.1 ppg, 10 rpg and 4.5 bpg, with a shooting split of 65.6% FG, 48.9% 3PT and 83.3% FT. Transferring from Mater Dei to Findlay Prep, Bol averaged 20.4 ppg, 8.2 rpg and 2.4 bpg this past season, as well as finishing as a semifinalist in the GEICO High School Nationals. Bol is an intimidating presence protecting the basket, while also providing potential to stretch the floor, along with finishing with length near the basket.
USA October Minicamp
Bol’s unique ability was on display during the Minicamp, as his length made him a defensive presence while he also was able to finish around the basket quite often. He is a major threat on lobs, has a soft touch near the hoop and even shows some acumen passing out of double teams. When he wants to, he can run the floor quite well and has some surprising agility given his size. That said, defending in space is still a bit of challenge to him and he is not very quick laterally.
He still was a threat all the way out to the arc and he gets rebounds just off his sheer size. In terms of effort, it still waned at times, as he would often jog up the floor and he shies away from physical contact. Ultimately, Bol has great talent and ability to be a rare inside-outside threat that he displayed during Minicamp. He has ability that makes him appealing as a modern day center in terms of his potential to stretch the floor and defend the rim.
With Bol, the major concern seems to be surrounding his effort and competitive fire. While he was a dominant force during the regular season of the EYBL, he seemed to struggle during the Peach Jam Finals. Choosing Oregon, who had a player with a very similar skillset in Chris Boucher, where he will be playing along side another rim protection threat in Kenny Wooten, Bol could certainly flourish as an outside shooting threat.
Sidelined for the McDonald’s week with a strained Achilles, Bol struggled in the two games he played during the GEICO Nationals, so it will be interesting to see if he is fully back from his injury or will still be in recovery mode. The team did add another center at the last minute, so this will be something to monitor. Even so, this will be Bol’s first game in Oregon, as he missed the Les Schwab Invitational due to his transfer to Findlay Prep, and many fans will be excited to see what is in store from the big man. If he shows he is focused and coachable during the week, it will be a major positive in front of numerous NBA decision makers.
Romeo Langford New Albany, IN 10/25/99 SG Undecided
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’5 w/o shoes, 6’6 in shoes, 201 lbs, 6’10 wingspan, 8’6.5 standing reach
Seen as one of the more talented scorers in this high school class, Langford finished his career at New Albany with 3,002 points, good for 4th on the all-time state scoring list. He led his school to a 100-10 record, winning a Class 4A title as a sophomore and averaging 35.5 ppg as a senior. Langford played in both Adidas Eurocamp and Nations, averaging 17.9 ppg and 4.9 rpg during the Adidas Gauntlet. He also was a member of the USA U19 World Championship team this past summer in Cairo.
USA October Minicamp
While it seemed like Langford was at times a little to content to blend in during the first day of the camp, he had some moments the second day that showed what type of prowess he could have as a scoring guard. He has ability to score from all three levels, to attack closeouts on the bounce and shows some explosive athleticism at a stand still and with a running start. His three-point consistency will be key moving forward, though he displayed some potential as a long range threat, and even as a perimeter defender.
The key for Langford was movement without the ball, where at times if he was not in the play, he could lose focus. His impact on the game when he is not scoring will also be something he could focus on. He made a few good reads as a passer, though it is clear that he is much more intent on scoring and his all-around development in terms of impacting the game in another ways will be something that will be crucial in terms of his pro prospects.
Langford is the highest ranked remaining recruit who has yet to decide on a college or pro option. It seems to be a three team race between home state Indiana, up and coming Vanderbilt or constant contender Kansas. Whoever it may be, they will get a player with great size for a guard, pro level athleticism and potential as a scorer from all three levels of the floor. The key with Langford will be his ability to play off the ball and display the confidence to take initiative when he is playing among high-level competition.
At the McDonald’s All-American game, it did appear that Langford was headed in the right direction, as he finished with 19 points, including some above the rim finishes, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 three-point makes. If he can show he is more than a volume shooter and can score with efficiency, while also contributing on the boards and as a passer, it will be big for him during Hoop Summit. His perimeter defense and awareness will also be keys for his prospect evaluation after the week concludes.
Darius Bazley Cincinnati, OH 6/12/00 PF G-League
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’6 w/o shoes, 6’7.5 in shoes, 197 lbs, 6’11 wingspan, 8’10.5 standing reach
Bazley originally committed to Ohio State, only to de-commit and choose Syracuse. Ultimately, he decided that the best thing for his future prospects was to turn pro and it seems like he is choosing to go the road less travelled with the G-League. Bazley has some ball skills, potential stretch ability all in a long frame with some impressive agility and athleticism. One of the younger players on this team, he could potentially play on the USA’s U18 FIBA Americas team this summer. In Bazley’s 13 game run with Meanstreet’s during EYBL, he averaged 15.2 ppg, 10.9 rpg and 1.6 bpg. He also sported averages of 15 ppg, 13.4 rpg and 2.8 apg during the 5 game Peach Jam stretch.
USA October Minicamp
Looking closer to 6’8-6’9 than his listed measurements from the camp, Bazley showed some ability to stretch, run the floor well and flashed his defensive potential. While he was one of the more slight seniors in attendance, he still was able to mix it up on the boards, though at times has trouble finishing inside against stronger players. He still seems to show quite a bit of potential and showed his perimeter skills and passing ability that makes him such an intriguing prospect.
Bazley appeared to have a strong week during his McDonald’s experience and was a stand out in practice while also showing a glimpse into his ability at the game. While the G-League will keep him in close contact and in the watchful eye of scouts, the Hoop Summit will be a big opportunity to leave a lasting impression in terms of where he ranks amongst his peers in this class.
Shooting consistency will be monitored, but also how well he matches up physically against fellow 4’s. While the USA rarely scrimmages against each other, if he does get the chance to go up against a Zion Williamson and affect him with his length or show he can attack close outs and finish at the hoop, that will be big towards his projection.
While he does flash those perimeter skills, it does still seem like he is best suited towards the PF spot, where his combinations of skills and athleticism could make him a real match-up dilemma. Bazley definitely will have to gain strength, though his ability to handle contact and make an impact as a post defender and rebounder will be keys to his success during the practices and game.
Keldon Johnson Sterling, VA 10/11/99 SF Kentucky
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’5 w/o shoes, 6’6 in shoes, 216 lbs, 6’8.5 wingspan, 8’8 standing reach
A talented scorer and likely Kentucky’s highest ranked incoming recruit for 2018, Johnson led Oak Hill Academy to a 42-1 record, the lone loss coming to University School in the GEICO National High School semifinals; where he only played in the 2nd half coming off a twisted ankle from the previous game. Johnson is a strong, aggressive wing who averaged 19.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg and 3 apg over 23 EYBL games. He also posted averages of 22.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg and 4.5 apg during his time at Oak Hill. His brother, Kaleb Johnson, plays at Georgetown and saw a much larger role during this past season.
USA October Minicamp and Les Schwab Invitational
If there were scoring statistics kept at the October Minicamp, Johnson surely had to be among the leaders. He finished above the rim, through contact and was a threat as a jump shooter. While he does not boast outstanding length, he is very strong and was one of the more assertive players in attendance in Colorado Springs. He scores from all three levels and while his jump shot can use a bit more consistency, he is still not somebody you want to leave open from behind the arc.
His strength also helps him as a defender and rebounding. I was able to watch Johnson again at the Les Schwab Invitational, and he impressed right off the bat scoring 29 points after a trip that lasted 35 hours to get to the event. Even when it seemed like he was being refereed on a curve, Johnson scored through contact consistently, shot well and showed great intensity.
Johnson seemed to take a bit of a backseat during the McDonald’s All-American game, though word is he once again was one of the standouts in practice. His shooting consistency will be something to monitor, along with defensive awareness. One of the major moments for Johnson in the McDonald’s game was his defense against RJ Barrett on the last play of the game. He will likely have more opportunities to check Barrett during the Hoop Summit game as well.
With Kentucky expecting to lose a couple of key scorers, Johnson will be expected to come in and pick up some slack. While he is not necessarily small for a wing, it will be interesting to see if he will be forced to use more craft to score rather than his strength that helps him so much against his high school peers. This is why his development as a shooter will be very key as to just how soon he will be expected to join the pro ranks.
Tre Jones Apple Valley, MN 1/8/00 PG Duke
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’0.5 w/o shoes, 6’2.5 in shoes, 183 lbs, 6’4 wingspan, 8’0 standing reach
The similarities to his older brother, former Duke and current Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Tyus Jones, are pretty evident. Tyus was the more adept scorer and shooter, though Tre brings an equally steady mind and maybe a bit more in terms of strength and defense. He also can surprise with some pop as an athlete and has displayed some definite leadership ability. Jones averaged 19.3 ppg and led the EYBL with 8.3 apg, leading Howard Pulley to a 13-2 record in games he played (including one loss when he sprained his ankle just after halftime). He averaged 22.9 ppg, 8.9 rpg and 6.3 apg for Apple Valley as a senior.
USA October Minicamp
The Minicamp was not really a setting where Jones stood out, though he brought his steady play and tended to be a part of the winning team. He shows some ability to mix it up in the post at times, though was of course best running the break or finding teammates open in space. His outside shooting is still a bit of a mystery and it was not really on display much at the camp. He is crafty and can get to the basket and gets to the foul line quite often, but it did not come as often against these other top players.
With three players currently ranked in front of him coming into Duke next year, it still should not diminish just how important Jones will be to the team’s likely success. He will be their most trusted playmaker and someone who Coach K will likely hand the reins to an offense to a point we probably have not seen since Tyus Jones was NCAA Finals Most Outstanding Player in 2015.
What we will want to see from Tre is just how consistent his outside shooting is and whether he can get to the basket at a rate he seemed to during his time in EYBL. He did shoot 80% FT during regular season play, though that number dropped to 71.5% FT after the Peach Jam concluded. Jones still is on the small side as well, so his outside shot improving is imperative in regards to his long-term projection and draft stock.
Darius Garland Brentwood, TN 1/26/00 PG Vanderbilt
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’0.5 w/o shoes, 6’2 in shoes, 175 lbs, 6’5 wingspan, 8’1 standing reach
The player who Bryce Drew will almost certainly hand the keys to next season at Vanderbilt, Garland is known for his shooting prowess and his quickness. He averaged 16.4 ppg and 4.3 apg in 22 EYBL games, leading Bradley Beal Elite to the Peach Jam semifinals. He averaged 27.6 ppg, 5 rpg and 4.3 apg, winning 4-state championships and 3 Mr. Basketball awards in the process at Brentwood Academy.
USA October Minicamp
Garland was the most consistent long-range shooter of the guards at the camp, also showing quickness enough to get into the lane and be a threat to score on floaters and runners. He is still very slight in terms of his frame, though has shown improvement there over the years. He can play the passing lanes and will pressure the ball up the floor as well. While the point guards did not necessarily separate themselves from one another amongst those in attendance, Garland probably made the biggest impact during his time at the camp with his ability as a shooter standing out.
Joined by another McDonald’s All-American in Simi Shittu (who would have likely played in the Hoop Summit had he not torn his ACL during the high school season), Garland will be hoping to turn Vanderbilt back into a NCAA tournament level team. Scouts will be looking for him to add the weight necessary to handle a rigorous NBA schedule and showing more as a playmaker.
The McDonald’s game saw Garland dish out 11 assists, but he was held without a field goal and also had 5 turnovers. Garland made 87-100 FT’s in EYBL and while that shows his potential as a shooter, he was also just 32-97 (33%) from 3PT range. If he can show some efficiency as a scorer and take care of the ball, all while playing pressure defense that will be expected from a smaller point guard, this may justify some 2019 Draft buzz.
Tyler Herro 1/20/00 SG Kentucky
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’4 w/o shoes, 6’5 in shoes, 193 lbs, 6’3.75 wingspan, 8’3.5 standing reach
Herro is seen as one of the more consistent shooters in the HS Class of 2018, posting senior year averages of 32.9 ppg with shooting splits of 49.6/41.8/85.2. He was an Adidas Nations participant in 2016 and one of the standouts on his team at that event. He also averaged 14.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg and 3.1 apg in 16 EYBL games for Wisconsin Playground Elite. He was the lone player on Team USA who was not selected to the McDonald’s All-American game, though he will play in Jordan Brand Classic on April 8.
USA October Minicamp
Herro measured in with legitimate 2-guard size, but he also showed his shooting prowess and that he could do more than just that. He has potential as a three-level scorer, plus the size and ball skills to be a secondary handler at times. While he is not necessarily the bounciest athlete, he has some shift to him and has gained quite a bit of strength from Nations 2016, to the point where he should get minutes at Kentucky.
While he has shooting guard size, his lack of length could make for some difficulties on defense and he does not have the easiest time finishing at the hoop. If he shows he can run with the speed of these players, he could eventually carve a role that has some pro value. Displaying lateral quickness to guard the perimeter will be key, and understanding team defense while showing value as a spot-up shooter are his path to the league. It may take time, but shooting can get you a roster spot and his all-around game will be the key to it being more than that.
Quentin Grimes The Woodlands, TX 5/8/00 SG Kansas
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’3 w/o shoes, 6’4.5 in shoes, 204 lbs, 6’7 wingspan, 8’4 standing reach
Named as a replacement for NBA Draft entrant Anfernee Simons, Grimes is another scoring guard who provides some possible upside as a playmaker as well. He averaged 16.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg and 2.7 apg for Basketball University in the Adidas Gauntlet, and 29.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 4.9 apg during his senior year at College Park. He played at Adidas Nations in the summers of 2016 and 2017, while he was also a participant at Adidas Eurocamp in 2017.
USA October Minicamp
Grimes showed some scoring and some ability to make plays on the move, though he often struggled to do so efficiently. Shooting around 65% FT in most settings, his shooting is a bit of a concern moving forward, although he did hit 86-223 (39%) 3PT as a senior. Nonetheless, when he was on a team at the Minicamp where he was expected to be one of the primary sources of offense, he would struggle.
His size seems to be near ideal for a college 2-guard and is even right around average for NBA, but he just did not seem to have everything put together. One of the younger seniors at the camp, he still has some noticeable scoring ability, quickness and a good frame, which makes him among the more promising scoring guards in attendance. It was not a complete surprise to see him left off of the initial roster, though it was good to see he will get a chance to show what he can do in front of NBA scouts in this more structured setting.
With a number of starters either graduating or likely entering the draft, Grimes should see some immediate minutes. Kansas’ shooting overwhelmed Duke and that is going to be a big thing to watch for with Grimes. Does he step in and shoot it consistently from deep, or does he have enough offense inside the arc for teams to wait on that to develop?
While his scoring is his bread and butter, the other aspects of his game will once again be crucial towards his draft stock. He posted just about an even assist-to-turnover ratio in the Gauntlet, so that will be something to look for as well in terms of his decision-making. He posted 14 points and 6 assists for the winning West team in the McDonald’s All-American game, so we will see if he can manage to make an impact against the World Team.
Jordan Brown Roseville, CA 12/4/99 C Undecided
USA October Minicamp Measurements: 6’10 w/o shoes, 6’11 in shoes, 205 lbs, 7’0 wingspan, 8’11.5 standing reach
Long seen as one of the higher ranked prospects in this class, Brown’s lack of physical development has dropped him some in the rankings and lead to some skepticism regarding his long term ceiling. He was a last minute addition to Team USA and should be a good back-up plan as a big man. Brown averaged 21.5 ppg, 10.6 rpg and 2.1 bpg for Team Arsenal in the Adidas Gauntlet and 21.5 ppg, 11.7 rpg and 1.8 bpg during his senior season at Prolific Prep. He won two Gold Medals with USA Basketball during the 2015 U16 FIBA Americas and the 2016 U17 World Championships. He was also part of Eurocamp and Nations in 2017 as well.
USA October Minicamp
Brown was solid and steady, running the court smoothly, making some good passes and showing some surprising agility at his size. He had a few euro step finishes and showed some decent post footwork. While he did not show much of an ability to stretch the floor, he was one of the more efficient players there in terms of impacting the game.
Brown really excels in transition and beating other big men down the floor, and should be a very good rim runner at the college level. While his post defense is limited due to his lack of length, he still will challenge shots and has some potential switching onto 4’s. He may not bowl you over with his ability, and adding muscle will be an absolute must for him, but he seems to be quietly effective in these settings among his peers in this HS Class.
Brown’s college decision remains somewhat of a mystery and has seemed to have taken twists and turns. Many expect him to stay near Nor Cal, with Stanford and Cal being the two favorites as of right now. Either way, his physical development is going to be a major factor towards his NBA prospects. How he manages to improve as a shooter and defender will be big as well. He has a chance here to out run the World big men. Brown hustled his way to 26 points and 8 rebounds in the McDonald’s game, including a key rim run to give the West the lead they held onto. Big opportunity for Brown to impress in front of scouts as he did at times in October.
David McCormack Norfolk, VA 7/2/99 C Kansas
Oak Hill Listed Measurements: 6’10, 259 lbs
The most surprising announcement on the team, as McCormack was not Nike affiliated and had never been part of a USA Basketball Minicamp, nor is he eligible for the U18 team this summer. One factor that could have helped with his selection, besides playing with National powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, was that he was a fan favorite amongst potential Hoop Summit attendees at the 2017 Les Schwab Invitational in Hillsboro, Oregon. The traditional, inside scoring and rebounding big man averaged 14.8 ppg and 9.8 rpg in the Adidas Gauntlet. He also finished with averages of 13.4 ppg and 9.6 rpg for Oak Hill. He was also an Adidas Nations participant in 2016 and 2017, while attending Eurocamp in 2017 as well.
Les Schwab Invitational
McCormack is an enormous human being, with a wingspan likely in the 7’2-7’3 range. He also has really worked on his body since getting to Oak Hill, with a noticeable transformation since I saw him at Nations in 2016. McCormack takes up a lot of space near the hoop and will grab rebounds. He also is quicker on his feet and was able to finish above the rim.
Even so, he struggles defending in space and has very little offense outside of 8-feet. He can get in some foul trouble being attacked off the bounce and is at times slow to react on both ends of the floor. While he has a soft touch, his hands are also not exactly sure as he will at times bobble the ball. He still managed to dominate around the basket with his sheer size and finished 17-25 FG during the 4 game event.
In what should be one of the more crowded front courts in the NCAA, McCormack should still see time as a back-up big and should eventually work into something more. He is very much a traditional low post center with limited upside as a rim protector. Showing a bit more versatility as a defender and some touch outside of the paint will be crucial moving forward. If he maintains his conditioning and works on those skills, he could be an effective big man for Kansas.
Louis King Columbus, NJ 4/6/99 SF Oregon
USA U19 June 2017 Tryout Measurements: 6’5 w/o shoes, 6’6 in shoes, 204 lbs, 7’0.5 wingspan, 8’8 standing reach
A versatile forward, who has some ability to possibly dabble at guard at times, King can defend multiple positions and provide some help as a secondary handler at the college level. King was one of the better utility players for USA during their U19 World Championship run this past summer. King averaged 17.6 ppg, 6.8 rpg and 2.1 apg in 17 EYBL games for Team Final, and 15.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg and 1.9 apg at Hudson Catholic according to MaxPreps. He also finished with 32 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals in a 71-58 Hudson Catholic win over John Carroll during the Hoop Hall Classic.
Nike EYBL LA
Playing with Cam Reddish, Team Final had a real struggle as they were missing a few key players. King still showed he could score and was a willing distributor. While he did not shoot particularly well from the field, he showed an ability to stretch the floor that was backed up by his 26-73 (35.6%) 3PT during the season. King did not do much creating off of the bounce, but showed a comfort with the ball in his hands. He also showed some ability to guard the 1-4 positions and has length to become a factor on that end of the floor. He also appeared to be taller than his listed measurements from this summers U19 tryouts, appearing to be in the 6’7-6’8 range.
King will be stepping into Troy Brown’s spot, and while he will not be expected to play back-up PG minutes, King provides many similar qualities to Brown. While he might not have Brown’s ability attacking the basket, he appears to be ahead of him as a shooter and should keep defenses honest whereas many would play off of Brown. He should be one of the teams better perimeter defenders, with his playmaking and rebounding ability helping still provide value if his shot is not falling.
Unfortunately, King tore his meniscus during a game in January and while he will be a member of the team in Portland, he will not be able to play or practice. One thing that has been a constant with King if his effort level that at times causes him to just blend in. He will need to show confidence and really buy into the program, and if he does he may have a short stay in college.
Anfernee Simons of IMG Academy chose to pull out of the Hoop Summit, but was at the USA Basketball October Minicamp. Unfortunately, a broken wrist kept him sidelined, though he measured at 6’1.5 w/o shoes, 6’3.5 in shoes, 181 lbs, 6’7 wingspan and an 8’2 standing reach. He averaged 20.4 ppg and 5.5 rpg in 12 games of Under Armour Association play with shooting splits of 43.9/41.4/77.8. Simons is NBA Draft eligible and known for his shooting and ability in isolation. Would have been great to see him in a game that has launched so many future NBA players.
Make sure to tune into the Hoop Summit on Friday April 13 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon at 7 pm. Tickets are available starting at $10, should be yet another great game featuring numerous future NBA players.