By Simon Dresden
The 2008 Nike Hoops Summit game will take place on Saturday, April 12, at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon. The game will be shown on Fox Sports Net at will tip-off at 4:00 p.m. (EST). The following is an analysis of the World Select Team.
Serge Ibaka 6-10 PF Congo
He is the guy every scout is coming to see. He is a force in Spain’s second division and hails as a special rebounder, put back dunker and shot blocker. The way he moves makes some people think he may even play SF down the line, but this is a far stretch from our perspective. Has a nice array of moves on the offensive end but needs a lot more strength in his body to hold and play this position in an NBA setting. He will meet a lot of athletic players on the US squad which will be a good judgment of his actual level of development. The way he has been hyped has set the bar high for Serge and scouts will scrutinize any misstep he makes here. Some see him as a young Kevin Garnett, some see him as a Ersan Ilyasova type.
Alexis Ajinca C 7-1 PF/C France
Surprisingly he got a second invitation to a once in a lifetime chance that he blew last year. Ajinca still has intrigue galore as players with his size, athletism and reach don’t come along every year. The missing piece for him is his body which is still thin, but said to be improving rapidly. He has that one special skill he really excels in and that is weakside shot blocking. The way he can jump, combined with his 7-6 reach and size is unmatched in this department and he is a force around the basket. But on the other hand his strength is so weak, that he can be bulled off balance, neutralizing his shot blocking. Considering his NBA draft chances he will probably get picked first round whenever he declares because of his physical tools and because of the fact the team picking him will think that they can do a better job on his body than all the others have done before. A risky thought and history has proved this is seldom done, just think about Manute Bol, Shawn Bradley, Jonathan Bender.
Boban Marjanovic 7-4 C Serbia
Mobile bigman with a nice frame and the intensity and fire to play basketball. He is kind of fearless and plays really hard all the time. He is not the fastest player out there but who can blame him considering his size. This is also what makes him a capable shot blocker as he is not a big leaper but has great reach. His offensive game revolves almost entirely around tying to dunk whatever he gets near the basket, which is good for percentages but also makes him easy to figure out. His shooting is not yet on the level it should be but he makes a fair amount of FT so there is hope he may be able to expand this facet of the game. He could become a typical NBA big down the line in the mold of a Rik Smits. To compare him to Ilgauskas is not fair since he lacks that natural feel for the game, not to mention the jumper.
Samardo Samuels 6-8 PF Jamaica
Samuels is well known in the States having spent the past few years dominating the AAU circuit and high school ball. Hailing from Jamaica, he was one of the most dominating performers ever at the NBAP camp. Samuels lacks tremendous speed in the open floor, but his strength and length make him a load in the paint. His has soft touch making him an effective scorer around the basket, and he shows a high level of determination to score and grab rebounds.
Angel Garcia 6-10 SF/PF Puerto Rico
Combo bigman that loves to take outside shots and has a crossover seldom seen by a player 610. Right now he is more of a face to the basket player than a banger inside, specially on the offensive end. On defense he lack a bit of strength to really take it to some PF on the next level but his long arms and his excellent size make up for a lot here. If he wants to be a NBA player someday he has to find a true position and right now he sees himself as a SF but his foot speed and athletism are not up to that level and probably never will be. If he can add some more muscle to his frame he should have a good chance to become a steady PF in the Troy Murphy mold., so he is to be kept on the radar and since he choose Memphis he will get a lot of NCAA tourney exposure down the road in a system that favors jump shooters. Sounds like a good mix.
Tim Ohlbrecht 6-11 PF Germany
Player with the most experience in this thing, should probably captain the squad. Has a whole season of actual Euroleague playing time on his back, with some highlight games where he flashed some serious game. Extremely athletic he runs the courts like few his size can and he possesses a nice stroke from deep. He has all the tools to become a quality NBA player but some people question his passion for the game. He bulked up a lot and should have no trouble holding his ground and even wreak some havoc on the small PFs of the US team. He has found his future pro position already and can expand his game from there. He is a gifted passer with good hands but to often settles for boxing out instead of rebounding himself which hurts his stats. Can become a first rounder in the future, because he has this NBA body and athletism while also being able to make shots.
Emmanuel Negedu 6-7 SF Nigeria
This prospect comes with a ripe strong body of strength. He brings all the tools to the table to become a great prospect after some more seasoning at Arizona. He has athletism and size while already possessing a US style game, he can play and guard multiple positions to some extend and you can see he is really working on his game and body. He could be primed to make a similar splash as luc Richard Mbah a Moute as a freshman at UCLA as he is versatile and you cant point out a special area where he is outstanding or failing, he is just all around good.
Diego Gerbaudo 6-0 PG Argentina
Very skilled playmaker with a little swagger to his game. He is not the best ball handler, shooter, athlete, passer, you name it out there, but he makes up for it with a winning mentality. He is as tough as they come and never afraid to take his team on his back. For NBA perspective he is probably not top notch enough in every category to be more than a late second rounder. Maybe he could evolve into a Aaron Brooks type of player far down the road.
Zygimantas Janavicius 6-4 PG Lithuania
The lefty is a gifted passer and playmaker who also lacks some of that special incentive in the athletism and speed department, but usually he get to where he wants on the floor with the ball in his hand at will
He clearly prefers his left hand and if forced to go right he is very turnover prone. He is not what one would typically expect from a Lithuanian prospect since he is not the best shooter around. He has some size that speaks in his favor and being a lefty is an asset in itself. Considering the success of European bred PGs in the NBA there is not much hope that he will do any better than being a second round gamble down the road. Remember how Euro-star Sarunas Jasikevicius failed badly recently.
Devoe Joseph 6-3 SG Canada
A shoot first player in the truest sense of the word. He never met a shot he didn’t like. He is accustomed to shoot a lot and his game is up and down with the consistency of his jumper. He is not blessed with that strong body to overpower opposing defenders and his frame seems to be not well suited to gain a lot of weight without losing some of his already limited explosiveness. SGs with his size are called combos or tweeners at the NBA level and one has to be very good in putting the ball in the basket to convince a GM to go that risky road of a pick.
Torgrim Sommerfeldt 6-5 SG Norway
Alexander Kolchenko 6-5 SG Ukraine
Strong bodied SG with good size and a good mentality. His main focus is scoring, then some scoring and after that is left he scores some more. Has a long reputation of being selfish and caring more about his scoring output than his team’s success. If he gets on a roll, there is not much one can do and he always finds ways to get his shots flying, even from long distance. Also he has unlimited self confidence in his abilities. He is a very experienced and smart player with a little mean streak to himself. He brings the size to play the position but he is not speedy and explosive enough to guard anyone at his position in the league. If he could get a team to use him as a spot up scorer while hiding him on defense he may get some second round attention, but right now that is a long shot. Maybe he could evolve into a Mike Miller, Wally Szcerbiak kind of player. *** Will not participate.
The World Select Team is completely stacked in the frontcourt. A starting lineup of Samuels, Ibaka, and Ohlbrecht with Ajinca and Marjanovic coming of the bench is probably too much for the US to handle down low. But the question remains, can the World team’s backcourt get the ball to those bigs in the first place? In the past the athletic USA guards have terrorized the World team guards (outside of Tony Parker) and it is hard to figure out who will emerge to stand up to the pressure best. Rebounding should be a clear cut advantage for the World Select team and that is why they can come out on top in the end. Team USA will not be able to contain Ibaka, Samuels and Ohlbrecht inside and Ajinca and Marjanovic will take care of protecting the rim and letting the US get no second chances. The Lithuanian game and pride of Janavicius as well as the vast experience that Gerbaudo brings with him give them a shot to beat the US press and with a little shotmaking of either Devoe, Negedu the world team can prevail. This is an extremely interesting match up, much better than past years, and should provide for a fun and exciting game.
2008 USA Junior National Select Team Roster
|Pos.||Name||Ht||Wt||High School (Hometown)||College|
|SF||Al-Farouq Aminu||6-9||210||Norcross (Norcross, GA)||Wake Forest|
|PG||Jerime Anderson||6-1||165||Canyon (Anaheim, CA)||UCLA|
|PF||Ed Davis||6-8||225||Benedictine (Richmond, VA)||North Carolina|
|SG||Demar DeRozan||6-6||210||Compton (Compton, CA)||USC|
|PG/SG||Tyreke Evans||6-5||205||American Christian (Chester, PA)||Undecided|
|PF||Drew Gordon||6-8||230||Archbishop Mitty / San Jose, CA||UCLA|
|PG||Jrue Holiday||6-4||205||Campbell Hall (Chatsworth, CA)||UCLA|
|SF||Scotty Hopson||6-5||180||University Heights (Hopkinsville, KY)||Undecided|
|PG/SG||Malcolm Lee||6-4||170||John W. North ((Moreno Valley, CA)||UCLA|
|PF/C||Greg Monroe||6-10||240||Helen Cox (Gretna, LA)||Georgetown|
Head Coach: Douglas Mitchell, North Central H.S. (Indianapolis IN) Assistant Coach: John Olive, Torrey Pines H.S. (San Diego, CA)
2008 World Select Team Roster
|Pro Team / College||Country|
|PF/C||Alexis Ajinca||7-1||220||Hyeres-Toylon Var||France|
|SF/PF||Angel Garcia||6-10||230||East Chicago Central H.S., Ill. / *Memphis||Puerto Rico|
|PG||Diego Gerbaudo||6-0||174||Real Madrid||Argentina|
|PF||Serge Ibaka||6-10||220||C.B. L’Hospitalet||Congo|
|PG||Zygimantas Janavicius||6-4||176||B.C. Zalgiris Kaunas||Lithuania|
|SG||Devoe Joseph||6-3||180||Pickering H.S., Ontario / *Minnesota||Canada|
|C||Boban Marjanovic||7-4||245||K.K. Hemofarm Stada Vrsac||Serbia|
|PF||Emmanuel Negedu||6-6||220||Brewster Academy, N.H./ *Arizona||Nigeria|
|PF||Tim Ohlbrecht||6-11||225||Brose Baskets Bamberg||Germany|
|PF||Samardo Samuels||6-8||250||St. Benedict’s (NJ) / Louisville||Jamaica|