Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
The USA Junior National Select Team beat the World Select Team, 84-73, in the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit Saturday night at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.
Here are six quick thoughts on the game:
1. Emmanuel Mudiay is going to be a problem.
The 6-foot-5 SMU commit went for 20 points and 3 assists with 5 turnovers while wearing a “DR Congo” jersey. A big, strong, powerful guard Mudiay showed he can score in transition and on jumpers off the pick-and-roll while also creating for others. Fran Fraschilla said SMU could be a “top 15” team next year with Mudiay. Larry Browntold me Friday Mudiay is the best player in the country and will be a lottery pick “if I don’t screw up.”
2. In case you missed it, Duke is loaded.
If you’re Coach K, you’re doing everything you can to keep Jabari Parker and/or Rodney Hood on campus next year to play with this loaded group. A projected top-3 pick, Parker has said he will decide “Tuesday or Wednesday” while sources told SNY.tv Hood will declare for the NBA Draft but has yet to meet with Coach K. Jahlil Okafor (14 points, 10 rebounds), Tyus Jones (13 points, 6 assists, 5 steals) Justise Winslow (16 points, 6 rebounds, 1 assist) all looked strong for Team USA, while Grayson Allen won the Dunk Contest at the McDonald’s Game. The three Duke guys in the game combined for 43 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists and 7 steals.
3. Kansas, Kentucky and Arizona, too
Once again, these three schools have stacked classes, too. Kelly Oubre (14 points, 5 rebounds) and Cliff Alexander are both strong, tough, competitive guys who will go a long way toward helping to replace Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid at Kansas. If they get Myles Turner, too, look out (See below.) As for Kentucky, it will be interesting to see what happens there in the next week. How many freshmen and sophomores will leave? Whatever happens, Kentucky has a nice four-man class, with Trey Lyles and Karl-Anthony Towns both looking impressive in this game. Kentucky should be able to dominate down low next year with those two, plus Dakari Johnson, Marcus Lee, and Derek Willis.Stanley Johnson looks like a top-5 or 10 pick in 2015 and gives Arizona another great piece on a team that could lose several guys to the NBA.
4. Oh, Canada!Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis and Nik Stauskas could all be Top-20 picks this year. This game showcased Kentucky-bound forward Trey Lyles and 2016 uncommitted guard Jamal Murray of Athlete Institute, who went for 10 points and 5 assists and has been compared to Ennis. Add those guys in with Andrew Nicholson,Kelly Olynyk, Anthony Bennett, Brady Heslip and company and look out for Canada down the line, perhaps at the 2020 Olympics.
5. 2015 will be loaded with bigs.
The top of the 2015 NBA Draft figures to be loaded with big men. Witness Jahlil Okafor, Myles Turner, Cliff Alexander, Trey Lyles and Karl-Anthony Towns in this class. And perhaps throw in Chris Walker from Florida and Dakari Johnson of Kentucky. Need a big? 2015 is your year.
6. Last guy on the board: Myles Turner
Most of these guys will be in New York next week for the Jordan Brand Classic set for Friday at Barclays Center. Myles Turner , whose ankle is OK after he limped to the locker room in the second half, remains the lone uncommitted elite player in this class and is targeting a decision sometime after the Jordan Game. He’s considering Kansas, Texas and Duke, among others.
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.