Top Prospects At The 2013 Nike Hoops Summit
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
Follow @Yannis KoutroupisYannis Koutroupis
Over 100 NBA scouts and executives traveled to Portland, Oregon this week for the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit. The Hoops Summit puts a select team of high school seniors from the USA against some of the top international prospects. They worked out throughout the week then faced off on Saturday at the Rose Garden.
The World Team got the best of USA, dominating them on the glass in the 112-98 victory. While the game was the main event, though, the real benefit of this event was getting an intimate look at players who will be draft eligible over the next few years. Here’s a look at some of the standouts from the week of practice and the actual game, grouped by when they will be draft eligible.
Dennis Schroeder (Germany) – 6’2, 168 lbs. Guard
The hoops summit was a coming out party for Schroeder, who officially declared for the 2013 NBA Draft this week. Teams that didn’t know about him coming into it certainly know about him now after the showing that he had all week in practice and in the game, where he scored 18 points and handed out nine assists. He’s without a doubt one of the fastest players in draft. He can shoot it with range and has really good length for his size. He’ll have to get a little bit stronger, but Schroeder left Portland as a first round pick.
Sergey Karasev (Russia) – 6’7, 197 lbs. Forward
Coming into the hoops summit Karasev was looked at as a mid-to-late first round pick and he definitely looked like one this week. The southpaw lived up to the expectations that come with being an experienced pro, displaying a polished offensive game. He didn’t shoot it particularly well in Saturday’s game, but Karasev maintained his status as first round pick. Teams looking for an offensive boost off of the bench will give him a lot of consideration.
Mahammoudou Jaiteh - 6’11, 249 lbs. Center
Even at 18 years of age, Jaiteh is built like a seasoned NBA veteran. He passes the eye test without a doubt. Jaiteh is still very raw, though, as he has not been playing basketball for very long. He knows how to bully his way around the paint, but still has a lot of learning to do about the nuances of the game, especially on the offensive end. He does have a decent touch. Jaiteh plays below the rim, which is a little bit concerning, but there’s enough potential there for him to feel good about his chances to go in the first round.
Livio Jean-Charles (France) – 6’9, 214 lbs. Forward
In a game that featured prospects who could go number one overall in the coming years drafts, Jean-Charles had the best performance. He was active on the glass on both ends of the floor, using his length and athleticism to tally 13 boards while also scoring 27 points. Jean-Charles is already a pro overseas and will almost certainly enter the draft with the boost his stock received this week. Like Jaiteh, his overall skills need to improve, but his natural tools make him extremely intriguing.
Jabari Parker (Duke) – 6’9, 241 lbs. Forward
On a team full of guys used to being the top option on their team, Parker was the one who clearly established himself as the go-to player. He’s as mature and polished as any high school senior we’ve ever seen. He’s a big, versatile threat who is going to be a matchup nightmare at Duke next season. His shooting stroke is a thing of beauty. He tallied 22 points and seven rebounds in the game and is definitely worthy of being projected as a top two pick in the 2014 draft.
Julius Randle (Kentucky) – 6’9, 248 lbs. Forward
Randle’s combination of size, skill, athleticism and strength is frankly scary. He has the potential to be as good as he wants to be. John Calipari will be great for him as he should be able to maximize his talents and get him playing the right way. If he can get Randle to care as much on the defensive end as he does the offensive end, we’re talking about a guy who could give teams picking in the top two of next year’s draft more to think about than just Parker and Wiggins.
Aaron Gordon (Arizona) – 6’9, 212 lbs. Forward
Throughout the week Gordon made no secret of his intentions to be one-and-done next year. He admitted to being somewhat distracted with the potential money that is ahead of him, however, Gordon is not ready for the NBA just yet. Saturday’s game was a great example of that as he dealt with foul trouble and had issues with the World Team’s size. He’s an incredible athlete with all the necessary tools, but he has to develop his skill set. Getting too caught up in the future could lead to Gordon not making the most of the presence. The league isn’t going anywhere; he needs to enjoy college and focus on improving as much as he can over the next year.
Andrew Harrison (Kentucky) – 6’5, 204 lbs. Guard
A well-known commodity at this point, Harrison was solid throughout the week. He struggled against the elite quickness of the World Team’s backcourt defensively, but gave them some trouble on the other end of the court with his superior size and strength. He finished with 19 points and five assists. It’s going to be very exciting to watch him run Kentucky’s offense next season with so many talented weapons around him. He has top five pick potential.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona) – 6’6, 212 lbs. Forward
Coming off of the bench for the USA Team, Hollis-Jefferson used his size and athleticism well en route to a 17 point and six rebound outing. Hollis-Jefferson, an elite level athlete and defensive menace, is definitely a prospect to keep an eye on, but he doesn’t look to be a one-and-done candidate. He has to develop his ball handling and shooting skills because at the pro level he’ll be going up against athletes of the same caliber. The Arizona frontcourt is going to be loaded next year, which could also play a factor in Hollis-Jefferson sticking around for at least two seasons.
Dante Exum (Undecided) – 6’6, 188 lbs. Guard
The combination of Exum and Schroder in the backcourt was too much for the USA to handle. Exum, a natural point guard who spent most of the week playing off of the ball, shined in the game with 16 points, three rebounds and two assists. He’s slight in frame, but attacks the paint fearlessly. He’s going to be a household name in college basketball. He could graduate in December, start playing in the 2014 spring semester and be draft eligible next year. He told DraftExpress.com that he’s not thinking about taking the fast route to the league, but it’s going to be there if he eventually changes his mind. Exum is currently being recruited by Boise State, Louisville, Indiana, LSU and St. Mary’s.
Andrew Wiggins (Undecided) – 6’8, 197 lbs. Guard
Those who came to Portland hoping to see Wiggins dominate and take over probably left disappointed. He wasn’t out to do that and never needed to. Instead, he let things come to him and still managed to impress in a major way. Wiggins has absolutely everything a team could want in a number one overall pick. There’s nothing he can’t do on the floor. He’s what you would come up with if you were trying to build a star shooting guard. He was a mentor to some of his younger teammates and seemed to shy away from the spotlight. He just wants to play basketball. He’s excited that the all-star tour is over, but now he has to figure out where he’s going to play in college. North Carolina, Kansas, Kentucky and Florida State are on his short list.
Karl Towns Jr. (Kentucky) – 7’0, 243 lbs. Center
The only reason Towns wasn’t the talk of the Hoops Summit is because he’s still two years away from being eligible for the draft. However, at 7’0 with a 7’3 wingspan and serious perimeter skills, Towns is in contention with Jahlil Okafor to be the number one pick after his freshman year in college. He’s already decided that he’s going to Kentucky, which is a great place for him to go and showcase his full arsenal. Once Towns tones up and improves on his low post game, we’re probably looking at an All-Star.