After we’ve already had the McDonald’s All-American Game and GEICO Nationals, up next is Nike Hoop Summit, which – thanks in part to the influx of international prospects – is primed to be the most exciting event yet for pre-collegiate-age players.
Several of the international players aren’t eligible for college yet or just don’t plan to attend college in the states, but as far as collegiate representation, Jon Scheyer’s Duke leads the way with 4 – Dariq Whitehead (‘22), Kyle Filipowski (‘22), Dereck Lively II (‘22), and Tyrese Proctor (‘23) – and Arkansas has two – Anthony Black (‘22) and Nick Smith Jr. (‘22). Other colleges represented with one are Oregon, UCLA, Texas, Houston, Kansas, Baylor, Villanova, Dayton, USC, Auburn, and Ohio State.
USA vs World – USA wins 102-80.
Overtime Elite guard Jean Montero (draft-eligible) had the most pressure out of either squad simply because he’s projected to be a top 20 pick in this summer’s NBA Draft, so there’s really no reason for him not to look like a pro.
Montero responded to the pressure, opening the game with a pull-up three at the top of the key. Shortly after, he followed it up with a nice bounce pass in the pick-and-roll to big Vincent Iwuchukwu (USC) for a bucket. A lot was made about Montero’s move to Overtime Elite being about honing in the playmaking skills that he didn’t show too much of at Gran Canaria in Spain. That pick-and-roll pass is evidence of the improvements made in that area.
IMG Academy guard Keyonte George (Baylor) had an early impact for USA thanks to his iconic shotmaking with a couple free throws and a pull-up three. His touch is always impressive.
Link Academy forward Omaha Biliew (undecided ‘23) showed a lot of the energy that he was known for with a Link program that made the finals at GEICO last week. Biliew also showed some off-the-dribble creation funk as well as his lob finishing off of a pass from Saski Baskonia (Spain) wing Sidy Cissoko (likely to remain in Europe until 2023 draft).
Speaking of off-the-dribble creation funk, Wilbraham & Monson Academy forward Kyle Filipowski (Duke) is much better with the ball in his hands than his size would suggest, but he’s also still able to use that size to his advantage, leaning into defenders on drives. He’s also pretty well-disciplined with post moves and is able to bait defenders with fakes. Defensively, he utilizes his length to shrink passing lanes and caused quite a few deflections in the first half.
Archbishop Spalding wing Cam Whitmore (Villanova) was effective early in his second-quarter stint earning five straight points: one three and one drive through contact to get it to go at the rim.
Sierra Canyon guard Amari Bailey (UCLA) is earning my confidence that he can work in Mick Cronin’s system which needs a particular type of guard; Bailey doesn’t force anything, he’s always in the right spots, and he’s capable of making a shot when needed.
Montverde guard Dariq Whitehead (Duke) showed off a variety of deep looks that he can hit, including one very nice stepback. He was the player of the game with 17 points (6-12), 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.
Whitmore showed plenty of shotmaking aspects of his game in the first half as well as into the second, but he also made a really nice pass inside to Westtown School big Dereck Lively II (Duke) for a dunk.
Fort Eerie International Academy (Canada) forward Leonard Miller (undecided) made great use of his outlier length and mobility in both halves, able to create at the rim and on the perimeter.
It was an interior passing clinic that the USA was putting on early in the third including the Whitmore to Lively connection, and Whitehead and Duncanville guard Anthony Black (Arkansas) both got involved as well in that department.
As the fourth opened, Whitehead and USA started to take more of a chokehold on the game and started pulling away, getting a 16-point lead with 8:31 left.
North Little Rock guard Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas) got heavily involved down the stretch of this one in a way that suggests he could be in top 5 discussions a year from now. His feel on both ends is immensely impressive, and his shot has unlimited range.
I should note that I have not seen much of Sunrise Christian guard Gradey Dick (Kansas), but what I have seen of him has not impressed me. He’s struggled in his lone GEICO game as well as in this game to create much separation or make many shots.
Credit to USA for playing as hard as they did late in this one, even when the game reached blowout territory. Seemed that the World squad just couldn’t figure things out together outside of their main few.
For prep players, the next event is the FIBA U17 World Cup in early July. Spain is the host country. The USA roster for the tournament has not yet been decided.