2014 Nike Global Challenge Recap
This year’s Nike Global Challenge took place at Whitney Young HS in Chicago from August 13-16. The event featured teams from four different general US regions as well as teams from Brazil, Canada, China and Pan-Africa. A majority of the games were very competitive, with China pulling off the upset of the tournament with a 114-110 win over USA South and keeping it close with USA Midwest during the third place game. USA West capped off an undefeated tournament with a 106-93 win over USA East. The summer circuit is winding down and the toll it has taken was noticeable over the event, though the talent in this event was evident as always. Will breakdown the top prospects from the USA teams as well as International standouts during the tournament.
C Stephen Zimmerman, USA West
The tournament MVP, Zimmerman was consistently solid and a major match-up problem during his time in Chicago. He moves well for a big man, can stretch the floor a bit and hit the boards hard on both ends. He can put the ball on the floor, much more of a face-up big than a back-to-the basket due to his lack of girth. It was a very successful Hoop Summit for Zimmerman who seems to have gained confidence as an offensive option and really stood out in this typically guard dominant setting.
SF Jaylen Brown, USA South
One of the absolute stars of this summer, Brown is a man amongst boys and has a good understanding of the game combined with athleticism that makes scouts salivate. He was incredibly aggressive, attempting over 10 free throws per contest and he also showed the ability to make plays for others. Unfortunately, one other thing that stood out was how often he lost the ball, turning it over 5.8 times per game. The South’s lack of floor spacing didn’t help, though he needs to work on his decision-making. If he works on this and shows improvement in his outside shooting, Brown has the makings of a top 5 pick. He has had a very busy past few months and it did not appear that this was his best event, but he definitely showed why he is among the elite prospects in the upcoming senior class.
SG Malik Monk, USA Midwest
The rising junior has been called the “most electrifying player in high school” and his work at the event only solidified this distinction. Monk absolutely explodes off of the floor, with several dynamic dunks that brought the crowd to their feet. He must gain consistency from long range, but showed an absolute ability to score in bunches, did a decent job as a distributor at times and showed defensive potential as well. Monk’s statistical production made him a slight surprise on the All-Tournament team, though he leaves a lasting impression every time you watch him. Still only 16, if he grows an inch or two, watch out.
PG Jalen Brunson, USA Midwest
The lefty was a difference maker, displaying fantastic leadership. His composure was very impressive, dishing a number of assists that only a handful of players would be able to make. Brunson also used his body really well, showed great change of speed and was scoring on all three levels. His lack of size and athleticism may limit his long term potential, but he is NCAA ready and will make some college team/coach ecstatic to land his services.
C Edrice Adebayo, USA East
“Bam Bam” had a fantastic cheering section and was a bruiser during the Global Challenge. He has a nice touch out to around 15-feet and has potential as a post player, while he needs to work on both his hands and footwork. His energy was contagious and he was a beast on the offensive glass as well. The back-to-the basket game will be an important step in his development, as it could take his game to another step. With some post moves and counters, he could go from sparkplug to go-to offensive player.
PG DeAaron Fox, USA Midwest
While many classify him as a combo guard, Fox did a great job as the West’s primary PG, leading the tournament in assists. He has very good size while being both quick and shifty. Typically known as a scorer, the lefty needs to work on his shot and he is incredibly thin. Even so, the junior showed the upside that has him as one of the top PG prospects in his class.
C Tyler Davis, USA West
An absolute bruiser, a total throwback with his post game and footwork near the basket. He has really worked on his body and though he does not have a lot of lift, he has quick feet and soft hands. His vision was also on full display, he and Zimmerman were a devastating combination. He missed the last game due to an injury brought on by overuse, one could only wonder what the score might have been had he played. Had he been available for the final, Davis might have been the Global Challenge MVP, judging by his previous game’s performance.
SF/PF DJ Hogg, USA West
Was a great team player who playeing his role to a tee, garnering the All-Tournament nod in the process. He played the stretch four very well in the final and seems like he could contribute at either forward spot in the NCAA. He seems ideal as a spot-up shooter, while showing upside in the pick-and-pop. His handle will be an area for improvement, though his ability to move without the ball and score is what makes him a very nice college prospect with upside if he can show the ability to defend the perimeter.
SG Antonio Blakeney, USA South
He is a nice wing prospect who shows explosive ability. Blakeney has a mid-range shot that could end up being a dangerous weapon. Struggled from distance and will have to build up his range. He is definitely best as a scorer and was not really effective running the point. Looked to constantly score in transition, sometimes overlooking teammates in better position on the break. Still displayed that he is a very nice prospect and a likely McDonald’s All-American candidate.
SG Malik Beasley, USA South
Another explosive athlete from the talented South team, Beasley had a couple of high-level throw downs and many nice drives in the process. His work on the boards was also an encouraging look into the possibility of doing work at either wing position in college, might be ideal for three guard sets. He again was a bit careless at times and needs to work on his handle. An aggressive scorer who has risen in the rankings with the work he put in this summer.
SG Dejounte Murray, USA West
The Washington commit has as much potential as any senior SG in attendance at the Global Challenge and was another cog for the tourney champs. His first step is electric and he has some of that “Seattle shiftiness” off of the bounce. Filling out his body is the next step in the process along with working on his jump shot. At this point in time, Murray is a potential combo guard or at least a SG with vision, as well as ideal height and length for the position.
SF Chris Clarke, USA East
Relentless is a good word to describe Clarke; he always seems to be moving and slashing. A tough player who showed a lot of hustle and put himself in position for a lot of high percentage shots (71.8% FG). He is a bit of an undersized PF as opposed to a “true” SF at this point, though it certainly seems that he possesses the athleticism to make the transition once in college. Extending his range will be a must, though for now, he is another riser in the class who will be an excellent glue guy, with potential for even more than that once he hits college.
SG/SF Malachi Richardson, USA East: Long, athletic player who should be terrific for Syracuse. Has potential on both sides of the ball, plays within the flow of the game.
SG Allonzo Trier, USA East: The Arizona commit is a scorer and will need to work on playing off of the ball. His all-around game will be another step also, though there is no doubt that he has an impressive offensive arsenal.
SF/PF Dedric Lawson, USA Midwest: He and his brother KJ (both Memphis commits) were clearly role guys in this setting, though Lawson has size, length and ability that make him quite enticing. Not sure whether he ends up as a wing, though his size seems to be a fit as a stretch four.
PF Deyonta Davis, USA Midwest: Certainly has the makings of a very nice 4 man at Michigan St, though he does fade out of games at times. Needs to work on spacing and add some weight to better assert in the post.
C Daniel Giddens, USA South: Must learn to react to where the ball is and add size to establish position. Still a center with a nice deal of upside, he protects the rim and should be able to contribute on the boards at Ohio State.
PF Noah Dickerson, USA South: Tough post player committed to Florida the day after the tournament. Needs to work on his conditioning, though he has great touch near the basket. Expanding his range and improving lateral quickness should help him transition from the 5 to the 4.
PG King McClure, USA West: Might be more of a combo than a “true” point, though he ran the show admirably. Has slipped in some rankings, though he is athletic, strong and was a solid defensive presence. Baylor is getting a good one.
C Marques Bolden, USA West: Definitely more “prospect” than “player” at this point, his frame, size and athleticism make him a big time center prospect as a junior. Given time, he looks to be a definite NBA prospect, measures in at around 6’11 (legitimately) with a monster 7’4 wingspan.
SG Jalen Poyser, Canada: Averaged over 20 ppg with a variety of drives. Nice first step, showed ability to create for himself and did not back down from top prospects he went up against. Has had a fantastic August and put himself back on the radar as a very likely high major prospect.
PG George de Paula, Brazil: Lengthy PG stuffed the stat sheet and impressed the scouts in attendance. After Bruno Caboclo, Brazil has suddenly become a must watch for the scouts and George made it worth their while. One to keep an eye on if he improves his consistency as a shooter and decision-making.
SF Gao Shang, China: Player that we were familiar with having seen him at the Hoop Summit in April, Gao worked much better as the go-to player for China. Nice size and a strong shooting stroke, did a little bit of everything and was a tough match-up. Was over 2 years older than most of the players he was facing, which should be taken into account, though he showed ability that will make him a lot of money playing pro, whether it is at home or in Europe.
SG Shuai Yuan, China: The best shooter on the best shooting team in the tournament, Yuan also was the Global Challenges leading scorer at 24 ppg. Undersized and also 20-years old, he still was named the International MVP for this year’s tournament.
PF Ted Kapita, Congo: Had one of the biggest performances of the tournament with 36 points and 16 rebounds in a 121-116 OT loss to USA South. Long arms with a body that looks like it can add some weight; he definitely needs to add muscle. The Huntington Prep product is competitive, though could benefit from controlling his emotion a tad.
PF/C Chimezie Metu, Nigeria: Should be a perfect fit for Andy Enfield at USC in his attempt to recreate “Dunk City Hollywood”. Runs the floor very well, has solid length and works hard doing what you want your big man to do. If he works on his shot, could be big time down the road.
SF/PF Kassoum Yakwe, Mali: He is an undersized 4 at this point with limited range, but what an athlete! He had one play where he literally jumped over an opponent on a block attempt. Still a junior, he has potential that is worth keeping an eye on.
SF Joseph Toye, Nigeria: After playing last season at La Lumiere, the athletic wing is headed back to host school Whitney Young for his senior year. Nice size and showed some streaky range, has committed to Vanderbilt in what should be a solid recruiting class.
PG Ehab Amin, Egypt: Was noted as the first Egyptian in the event, he had a game that is absolutely noteworthy. The Texas Corpus-Christi 2014 commit had 28 points, 6 assists and 10 steals in his first game against USA South. Was not the same afterwards, though he has vision and was adept with the set-up. So, if your favorite college team is playing TCC, might be worth a watch.
PF Lucas Colimerio, Brazil: Skinny four man with some length, still very raw. Has some potential as a defender and was not totally uncomfortable from mid-range. Seems to be a possibility as a potential role player down the line in due time, as it looks like he may grow into his body.
PF Kyle Alexander, Canada: Pushing 6’10 with very long arms, Alexander ran the floor well and played with nice effort. Needs to add a lot of weight, might even be a redshirt candidate, though he has upside with his reported 7’4 wingspan and athleticism. Like Poyser, he plays at the Athlete Institute and could be a nice get for some patient school.
PG Jiwei Zhao, China: The captain of China was a definite leader and while he turns 19 in a week, he is a PG who could be on future Chinese National teams. He set the tempo well, played solid defense and made China competitive enough to finish a solid 2-2 in the tournament.