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.
Kentucky Signees Nick Richards, Shai Alexander Headline World Team for Nike Hoop Summit
Kentucky-bound big man Nick Richards of The Patrick School (N.J.) and future Wildcats guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander highlight the 12-member World Select Team for the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit.
The 20th annual Hoop Summit will take place at 7 p.m. (PDT) on Friday, April 7 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon.
The 6-foot-11 Richards is also a McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American, and his team is currently in the New Jersey Tournament of Champions, a six-team event featuring each of New Jersey’s public and non-public group winners.
The 6-5 Alexander, meantime, expects to play for Canada this summer in the U19 World Championship, where he could face his future coach John Calipari, who is coaching the U.S. team. He averaged 7.8 points and 5.4 assists for his country at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship this past summer.
The U.S. team also features two future Kentucky players in point guard Quade Green and forward Jarred Vanderbilt (as well as two Duke guys in Wendell Carter Jr. and Gary Trent Jr.). The U.S. team also features several uncommitted players still considering Kentucky or Duke or both, including Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox .
Tickets for the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit are on sale now. Lower bowl seating starts at just $10, and courtside seats are $50 and $75. Applicable service charges apply. Tickets will be available at http://bit.ly/HoopSummitTix, the Rose Quarter Box Office or by calling 800-745-3000.
The annual game pits the World Select Team against the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team, which is composed of elite, American high school players.
The World Team is chasing its fourth victory in the last six games. They beat the USA 84-75 in 2012, 112-98 a year later and 103-101 in 2015 before the hosts responded by beating the World Team 101-67 last year. Overall, the USA holds a 13-6 advantage in the annual game.
Beyond the Hoop Summit’s innate prestige, participation in the game is seen as a step towards professional play. As of December 2016, a remarkable 70 former U.S. players and 38 former World Team members were active in the NBA, nearly one-quarter of the entire league, and a total of 199 Hoop Summit alumni have been drafted professionally.
The World Team guards also include Lindell Wigginton (6-foot-1, Oak Hill Academy, Va./Canada), Nickeil Alexander-Walker (6-foot-5, Hamilton Heights Christian Academy, Tenn./Canada) and Angus Glover (6-foot-4, Illawara Hawks/Australia).
His countryman Wigginton has committed to play at Iowa State next season. Wigginton averaged 14.0 points, playing alongside Gilgeous-Alexander, at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Chile as Canada won the silver medal.
Alexander-Walker is the third guard from that Canadian U18 team to be selected to the World Team. He led the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in scoring with 17.4 points, as Canada lost to the USA in the gold medal game. He has committed to play at Virginia Tech next season.
Australia’s Glover plays for Illawarra Hawks in Australia’s NBL and has a wealth of international experience, having most recently represented his country at the FIBA Oceania U18 Championship this past year. He signed a National Letter of Intent at Saint Mary’s College.
The World Team also named five forwards to its 2017 roster: Tadas Sedekerskis (6-foot-7, Baskonia Vitoria Gasteiz, Spain/Lithuania), R.J. Barrett (6-foot-6, Montverde Academy, Fla./Canada), Kostja Mushidi (6-foot-5, BC Mega Leks, Serbia/Germany), Borisa Simanic (6-foot-11, Crvena Zvezda/Serbia) and Isaiah Hartenstein (6-foot-11, Zalgiris Kaunas, Lithuania/Germany).
Sedekerskis plays for the storied Baskonia team in Spain’s ACB and also has gained valuable experience in the Euroleague competition this season. The Lithuanian averaged 14.5 points and 10.2 rebounds for his country as they won a silver medal at last summer’s FIBA Europe U18 Championship.
Canadian Barrett enjoyed a successful performance at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship in Spain, where he averaged 18.4 points. He is being courted by the likes of Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona and more.
Mushidi, a German who plays for BC Mega Leks in the top division of Serbian basketball, has played extensive minutes for his club in the European Basketball Champions League, and he averaged 14.7 points for his country at last summer’s FIBA Europe U18 Championship.
Simanic, a Serbian, plays in that country for the famous Crvena Zvezda team where he has gained experience in the Euroleague, as well as averaging 9.3 points and 5.5 rebounds for Serbia in last summer’s FIBA Europe U18 Championship.
Hartenstein is a German forward who plays in Lithuania for the renowned Zalgiris Kaunas team and is another player on the World Team to have played in the Euroleague this season. In international basketball, Hartenstein was a teammate of Mushidi’s at last summer’s FIBA Europe U18 Championship, where he averaged 14.7 points and 9.5 rebounds.
The global squad is completed by centers Felipe Dos Anjos (7-foot-2, Oviedo, Spain/Brazil) and Ikechukwu Obiagu (7-foot, Greenforest Christian Academy, Ga./Nigeria).
Brazilian Dos Anjos has been under contract to the Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid since the 2012-13 season and currently is on loan with the Oviedo club in the LEB Gold, the second level of Spanish professional basketball, where he is averaging 9.0 points and 6.5 rebounds.
Finally, Obiagu, a high school senior at Greenforest Christian Academy in Georgia, has verbally committed to Florida State for the 2017-18 season.
The World Team at 2017 Nike Hoop Summit will be led by seven-year coach Roy Rana, who currently has a 3-3 record in the series and in 2013 became the first coach in Hoop Summit history to lead the World Team to back-to-back victories.
Rana, a 12-year veteran of the Canada Men’s National Basketball Team, was appointed head coach of Canada’s Junior Men’s National Team in 2012, leading the squad to a bronze medal in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Brazil and a bronze medal at the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany in 2010. His long list of international honors also includes two bronze medals and three silver medals with Canada at the Nike Global Challenge from 2006-12. In 2015, Rana led Canada to a best-ever, fifth-place finish at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Crete, Greece, and last summer Rana guided Canada to silver at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Rana has coached four number-one NBA Draft picks and has more than 25 alumni from the Hoop Summit and Canadian National Team program now playing in the NBA.
He again will be assisted by Serbia’s Marin Sedlacek, who is making his 17th Hoop Summit appearance.
Release: USA Basketball)
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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.