2015 Nike Hoop Summit USA Team Recap
In a competitive contest, Team USA pushed the World Team to the very brink, as a last second shot by Allonzo Trier hit the side of the backboard. The practices gave us a terrific glimpse into what these players can do, with many of their skills being displayed in the 103-101 contest. This group had a lot of International experience, with every member having spent time playing for Team USA in prior contests.
While this class is not known for its PG play, the two main ball handlers had 16 assists between them. The US also forced 20 turnovers, while giving up only 8. In a class known for its size, the rebounding advantage was firmly in the favor of the World, with a 40-29 advantage as well as 17 offensive rebounds.
This USA group does not appear to have many one-and-done prospects and 5 of the 11 players have yet to make their college decision. It still does have size, skill and a number of specialists who in time should grace draft boards. This particular group kept a pretty strong focus in practice and battled an incredibly talented World Team to the bitter end. Here is what we took away from Team USA’s prospects during the practices and game.
Jaylen Brown SF Undecided 1996, (6’5.5 without shoes, 6’6.5 w/ shoes, 221.9 lbs)
Most viewed Jaylen Brown as the top prospect on the US team going into the event. While he did not perform up to his standard in Portland, his athleticism and size, along with an improved jump shot puts him among the elite of this year’s HS class. He seemed much more comfortable shooting from mid/long range in practice, despite it once being seen as one of the weaknesses to his game. Brown injured his hip during Thursday afternoon practice and sat out the night scrimmage, the only USA practice session open to NBA personnel. He performed well on Friday, though he had the ball in his hands less than he usually would. Even so, he scored through contact and did not seem too much worse for wear.
The game really did not showcase what makes Brown a big time prospect. He scored 8 points, though only shot 2-9 from the field, 4-6 from the stripe and missed his lone three-point attempt in just over 16 minutes. He rounded it out with 2 defensive rebounds and a couple turnovers, an area that he will need to focus on cutting down at the next level. We were not given his wingspan measurement, though he did measure with a 8’8.5 standing reach at a recent USA National Team Mini Camp. This was actually an inch and a half more than Ben Simmons, so needless to say he has good size for a SF. Brown did not dominate here. But having seen him in numerous events prior, expect for him to make a huge impact where ever he decides to attend college. He does possess some solid ball skills and will be a high level scorer in college, with a very strong likelihood of being a one-and-done, high 2016 draft pick.
Brandon Ingram SF Undecided 1997 (6’8 without shoes, 6’9.5 w/ shoes, 195.8 lbs, 7’3 wingspan, 9’1.5 standing reach)
Ingram was the talk of the McDonald’s game with his added weight and improved skill set. He is a legit 6’9 in shoes and he definitely seems to have the agility that would make him an incredibly long wing. At the practice in St. Mary’s Home for Boys, Ingram was holding the net with both feet firmly on the ground, with ease. He also was also one of the more accurate shooters for the team this past week. Running with a really long stride, Ingram got to the line often in scrimmages, scoring from just about every level.
In 26 minutes, Ingram scored 12 points (5-6 FG, 0-1 3PT, 2-2 FT), with 3 rebounds, an assist, steal and block. Additional strength will be a most as far as getting meaningful minutes in college, though his size and ability will make him a pretty scary proposition for most wings. His length and lateral quickness could make him a very nice defender, though his lack of strength and awareness did stand out. He seems to have range out to the three-point line, it just did not really show through in the scrimmages we attended. Ingram once again stood out to us as a fluid athlete with ridiculous length and the potential to be a versatile offensive option.
Luke Kennard SG Duke 1996 (6’4.75 without shoes, 6’5 w/ shoes, 187.4 lbs, 6’5 wingspan, 8’2.5 standing reach)
It was honestly not a tremendous surprise that Kennard was the top scorer in the game for the USA team as he had been shooting lights out the whole week. In the Friday morning practice, when the wings were seeing who would be the first to make two half-court shots, Kennard made both attempts without touching the rim. Beyond being the best pure shooter in this year’s Hoop Summit, he also was an aggressive rebounder, has nice vision and is a surprising athlete. His lack of length and lateral quickness could hurt him on defense, plus it would be better if he was not forced to play on the ball, which could be a real possibility given Duke’s potential PG situation (if Tyus Jones leaves, they do not currently have someone to replace him). Kennard had a team high 22 points (9-18 FG, 2-5 3PT, 2-2 FT) in 22 minutes, with all 5 of his rebounds coming on the offensive end, along with a couple assists and steals. Kennard is a probable All-Conference player in a couple years, with a chance to eventually make the NBA given the versatility that comes along with his deadly jump shot.
Malik Newman SG Undecided 1997 (6’2.5 without shoes, 6’4 w/ shoes, 179 lbs, 6’5 wingspan, 8’3 standing reach)
The most well known scoring guard in the class of 2015 has an extra gear that gives him an edge. Even though he did not record an assist in the game, he actually did try to get others involved and recorded some nice “hockey assists” quite often during the week. He is supremely confident, very tough in transition and can get shots from all three levels. It is no certainty that he translates as a combo guard and a transition to PG seems optimal given his relative lack of ideal size at the 2. Though, he appears to be a much more natural off guard. His forte is his ability to create his own offense and he scored 10 points (4-8 FG, 2-4 3PT) in the game. Still undecided, Newman seems to have every intention of getting to the NBA as quickly as possible and has an offensive array that could make him at least a nice spark plug in the Lou Williams or Larry Hughes mold. He will need to get stronger and hopefully add a few facets to his game before he makes the jump to the next level.
Ivan Rabb PF/C California 1997 (6’8.75 without shoes, 6’9.75 w/ shoes, 214.5 lbs, 7’2 wingspan, 9’0 standing reach)
While the other big men may have outweighed him, Rabb seemed quite a bit lighter on his feet and did not really have many physical issues until game time. Getting the start at center in the game, he finished with just 2 points, 3 rebounds and a block in a game low 8:34 minutes. He had ice on his knees for a large portion of the game and his upcoming college decision may have been weighing on his mind. With Rabb staying local at Cal, they get a big man with some mobility and a nice frame to build on. He had standout performances against Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter when facing Gorman the past two years, with a variety of post moves and a jumper that warrants notice out to the FT stripe. He has nice instincts on the offensive glass and while he measured in at around 215 pounds, he possesses a wiry strength that keeps him from getting pushed around too often by his fellow US big men. He is not really a long strider, though he more often than not is more athletic than most match-ups he faces. Additional strength and an improved face-up game are both things he should work on at Cal, but one can see the makings of a solid big man prospect.
Stephen Zimmerman C Undecided 1996 (6’10.5 without shoes, 7’0 w/ shoes, 234.6 lbs, 7’3 wingspan, 9’1 standing reach)
Zimmerman was another player who had a solid week at the Hoop Summit, though not overly spectacular. He is a nice high post option, with a bit of a face-up game, ability to run the floor and court vision that is rare at his size. The only issue is that he should probably work on developing more low-post ability. Even given his size, he has a difficult time establishing position deep in the paint. He had 8 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks and 2 steals in 17 minutes of play. There are certainly things Zimmerman can do at his size that are unique. The thing he must work on is becoming more physical. Also working on post moves and his footwork are important steps for Zimmerman making the jump to a next level post player.
Isaiah Briscoe PG Kentucky 1996 (6’2.5 without shoes, 6’3.5 w/ shoes, 217.8 lbs, 6’8 wingspan, 8’4.5 standing reach)
Briscoe has a big frame and a nice wingspan. Seen as the top PG prospect in this class, he was the most outspoken player on the team, bar none, and showed he was not afraid to assert his leadership. More often than not, he was right to do so. “Boogie” will be expected to step right in for Kentucky and he is physically ready to do so. He had a nice overall stat line in less than 20 minutes, with 9 points (3-7 FG, 3-6 FT, including an air ball followed by a make to put the US within 3 points with 28 seconds left), 4 rebounds, 3 steals and a team high 9 assists (to only 2 turnovers). He has some scoring ability from every level, along with size that should help him as a combo guard if there are questions about his ability to run a team. Briscoe may not be a one-and-done, though he will be asked to do quite a bit and seems to have an extra gear that his predecessors, the Harrison twins, did not really possess.
Jalen Brunson PG Villanova 1996 (6’1 without shoes, 6’2 w/ shoes, 200 lbs, 6’4 wingspan, 7’11.75)
The son of former NBA player Rick Brunson has a really high basketball IQ, with the ability to kill you with the pass, finish with nice body control and a nice lefty jump shot. He will be excellent in the pick-and-roll, with an ability to change speed that is advanced for his age. He is tough, with a calm demeanor and leads by example. Brunson started the game, finishing with 12 points (2-4 FG, 8-8 FT) with 7 assists and only a single turnover. He is not an explosive athlete and he lacks ideal foot speed to guard the perimeter. Even if Briscoe seems to have more of the things pro scouts look for in PG’s, Brunson brings an advanced skill set and will be an impact player for Villanova. He seems to have the pedigree to become a possible NBA player after a successful college career, a competitor who has intangible factors that make him a great teammate.
Chase Jeter PF/C Duke 1997 (6’9 without shoes, 6’10 w/ shoes, 239 lbs, 7’3 wingspan, 9’2.5 standing reach)
The youngest player on the roster got the start in the game, finishing with 5 points/rebounds in a little over 17 minutes. He is a decent athlete given his size with some shooting touch out to the midrange and the physical attributes that should translate to being a possible center down the line. He had a few up and under type finishes during scrimmages, but will need to get more comfortable in the post and used to playing against faster competition. Jeter was also the youngest player on Team USA’s U18 team this past summer and he actually won Nevada State Player of the Year over his HS teammate, Zimmerman. Jeter will have a chance to contribute and should be a nice prospect in time. As he matures, he will hopefully gain more of a mean streak and possibly turn into a nice post.
Allonzo Trier SG Arizona 1996 (6’3.75 without shoes, 6’5 w/ shoes, 198.5 lbs, 6’6 wingspan, 8’5.5 standing reach)
Trier can create his shot off of the dribble, it just seems that he may need to get better in picking and choosing his spots. He has a nice jump shot and some ability to get to the basket, plus the free throw line. At times he really struggled with defensive concepts and he will really need to work on running off of screens, or just playing without the ball in general. He has definite talent as a scorer, which is something Arizona really lacked last year, so that will more than likely fill a role right away. He is a player who has been known to put in a lot of work and has some nice ability in isolation. College will make it more difficult for those opportunities, which means he will need to work on other offensive facets. He scored 11 points, though was only 4-12 FG (with a nice 2-5 3 PT, 1-1 FT) in 23 minutes, with a few questionable attempts. He should get good minutes in a guard heavy line-up, and should focus on getting his shot attempts with as few dribbles as possible and better floor spacing.
Caleb Swanigan PF/C Michigan St. 1997 (6’6.75 without shoes, 6’7.75 w/ shoes, 271.2 lbs, 7’3 wingspan, 9’1 standing reach)
Though he is considered undersized, he has a massive wingspan and frame that make him very tough in the paint. With soft hands and decent post footwork, he plays big and looks to have improved his physique from a few years ago. Even with his improved conditioning, he still has a ways to go and he is not very quick laterally. Swanigan will be a below the rim force, who should be difficult for most to move and even showed glimpses of a jump shot. He only scored 2 points with 3 rebounds in his 12 minutes, with the athletic World Team big men making his life difficult. It does seem like his school will be a great fit, as he will be playing with AAU teammate and fellow McDonald’s All-American, Deyonta Davis, in the frontcourt once more. Playing under a coach with Izzo’s track record for changing players’ bodies should be a great thing, as a more svelte Swanigan will mean trouble for the Big Ten.