A breakdown of what we learned at the Nike Hoop Summit game and practices all throughout last week, continuing with the World team, where Alexis Ajinca
and Serge Ibaka
were the most intriguing prospects in attendance. Nike Hoop Summit Recap: Team USAAlexis Ajinca, 71, Center, France
13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 blocks, 5/9 FG
After struggling with the physical team USA at the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit, the second go-around produced much better results for the French big man. Ajinca showed his versatility on the offensive end early in the game, first scoring with a smooth jump-hook from the low post, and then showing his range by knocking in a couple of long range jumpers. The big man also showed off his length and a quick vertical leap while throwing down an alley-oop under the basket. Serge Ibaka, 610, Power Forward, Congo
Physically, his body carries more bulk than last season, but he must put on another 15 pounds at least before hell have a chance at handling NBA caliber competition. This was clear on a few occasions inside, where Ajinca struggled to finish against contact and was unable to operate against double teams.
Defensively, the big man showed good potential as a shot-blocker. A wing-span of nearly 79 combined with good timing allowed him to block 3 shots during the game, and the guards from team USA seemed to challenge him less and less in the paint as the game progressed. His man to man defense would also benefit from added bulk on his frame.
It seems that Ajinca may take his strong performance in the Hoop Summit and enter his name in the 2008 draft. Though not ready to play the NBA game, the French big has a nice set of physical tools and skills to build upon.
8 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks, 2 steals, 4/13 FG
Samardo Samuels, 67, PF/C, Jamaica, Committed to Louisville
One of the more interesting prospects on either squad, Ibaka displayed some freakish tools during the game, but at the same time looked extremely raw. Offensively, the power-forward shows nice range on his jumper and a very high release point. It still takes him time to set up for this shot, but the results are there when he doesnt have to rush it. Though most of Ibakas shots came facing the basket, he also displayed good potential as a back to the basket scorer. He tends to try and oversell the defender with different fakes or spins, but shoots a very nice turnaround spinning to either shoulder.
Ibaka runs the court like a guard, and was the first player on his squad to get to either end of the floor on most occasions. Unfortunately, his guards rarely rewarded him for his efforts, and we really didnt get to see what he could do with the ball in transition. In defensive transition, Ibaka showed explosive vertical leaping ability and a quick second jump, which allows him to make a play on the first defender and still have a chance to block a shot.
Despite the nice skills he displayed at times in Portland, Ibaka has a long way to go before he can contribute in an NBA game. Right now hes a young big man who is trained to make certain plays, but really doesnt understand the intricacies of the game. He must become more polished and assertive with his back to the basket, and his comfort level shooting the mid-range jumper must also increase. Any team drafting Ibaka must realize that it will be three years or so before he can contribute anything of value in an NBA game, but considering his tools, there are few if any similar projects with the tools Serge Ibaka
has to work with.
10 points, 6 rebounds, 3/12 FG
Boban Marjanovic, 73, Center Serbia
Samuels struggled at times against the team from the United States, but also showed a handful of nice moves on the offensive end. Early on in the game, he seemed to prefer to stand out on the perimeter and shoot jumpers, seeing poor results. He tends to fade away from the basket on his jumper, which leads to a flat release point and below average accuracy. When playing in the post, the big man showed excellent footwork and patience, but he tends to force the ball into bad spots rather than passing it back out and re-posting.
Defensively, Samuels needs to work on boxing out, and seems a little slow footed on his help-side rotations. He uses his body well playing man to man defense in the post, but moves slow laterally in this situation, which allows opposing big men to beat him fairly easily at times. The big man could also work on better using his body on the glass.
Theres no doubt that Samardo Samuels
will have an immediate impact for the Louisville Cardinals next season, but he must prove that he is a power forward rather than a center before we can call him a one and done prospect. He lacks the size even for a power forward at the NBA level, but his plethora of skills on the low block will certainly gain him notoriety at the collegiate next season.
4 points, 4 rebounds, 0/1 FG, 4/4 FT
After showing a couple of promising tools during the practices, Marjanovic struggled to make anything work for him during the game. The Serbian big man drew a couple of foul attempts by flashing to the open spot inside, and he does have very nice touch on his free throw stroke at this point in his development. When catching the ball in traffic, he must learn to keep the ball high away from the guards rather than bringing it towards his waist where it becomes easy to strip. Devoe Joseph,62, Shooting Guard, Canada, Committed to Minnesota
Marjanovic also must learn to use his body effectively on both ends of the floor. This will keep him from picking up fouls so quickly defensively, and allow him to showcase any back to the basket moves he may have on the offensive end. Unpolished and even awkward to a certain degree, Marjanovic is a few years away from being considered a legitimate NBA prospect, but he certainly remains an interesting guy to watch over the next couple of seasons.
10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 5/12 FG
Zygimantas Janavicius, 65, Point Guard, Lithuania
A Canadian shooting guard heading to Minnesota next season, Joseph displayed both range on his jumper and the ability to get to the hoop during the game. The high release point on his shooting stroke combined with a quick release will get him minutes next season as a freshman, but there are other well developed areas of his game as well.
Joseph isnt a jump out of the gym freak when it comes to athleticism, but hes very smooth and controls his body quite well. In addition to solid ball-handling, the guard can finish against much bigger players in the paint.
At this point, Joseph remains a scorer rather than a point guard, and Juan Dixon
seems like a good comparison when comparing them physically and skill-wise. It would help his draft stock if he could play the point guard at least part time over the course of his career, but his shooting stroke may give him a chance at the NBA regardless.
7 points, 5 assists, 6 turnovers, 1/6 FG
Though he shows good size and quickness for a point guard, Janvicius must really learn to run a team before we can call him a legit prospect to play in the NBA. The guard played out of control in the half-court offense, showing good penetrating ability, but either holding onto the ball too long, or making the wrong read. This resulted in 6 turnovers throughout the game for the guard. He also showed a very inconsistent release point and poor mechanics on his jumper throughout the week, and this was on display throughout the game as well. On the bright side, Janavicius plays solid defense and seems to make decisions more effectively in transition. The only time the guard looked for his own shot going to the hoop, he made a very nice finish in traffic while taking the foul. The young Lithuanian has a lot of work to do, but he does have tools that could lead him to develop over the next three to four years. Tim Ohlbrecht, 610, Power Forward, Germany
2 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1/2 FG
As one of the more well known prospects in the game, many observers had high expectations for the German big entering the week. He showed nice touch on his shooting stroke in practice, but failed to really do anything to make himself stand out in the games. Ohlbrecht did spend much of the game playing out of position at the small forward slot, but didnt show any post skills when he did play power forward. His defense has a long way to go as well, and like the other bigs from the international team, he failed to box out opposing players nearly every time a shot went up. On the bright side, the German moves well for a player his size and his shooting stroke seems to be quite consistent. To really improve his draft stock in the future, Ohlbrecht must show the willingness to take his game inside and then mix it up with his ability to hit the jumper. He also needs to prove that he can defend his position.Angel Garcia, 610, Small Forward, Puerto Rico, Committed to Memphis
4 points, 4 rebounds, 4 turnovers, 2/3 FG
Garcia displayed his nice perimeter shooting stroke during the game, but failed to really make an impression during the game. The small forward has legit size and should make an impact at Memphis next season with his ability to space the floor. Throughout the week in practices, he switched it up some by showing solid ball-handling and finishing ability at the hoop, but he wasnt faced with any chances to show these skills off during the game. Defensively, Garcia seems slow laterally to guard wing players, and lacks the bulk to really have a chance at the four right now. With added bulk, he could develop into a nicely skilled combo-forward. His understanding of the game also seems a bit behind the curve at this point in time, but his shooting should get him immediate minutes at Memphis. Emmanuel Negedu, 66, Forward, Nigeria, Committed to Arizona
3 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 0/1 FG, 3/6 FT
The Nigerian native showed elite physical tools at the rim which led to six free throw attempts during the game, but the athletic forward seems to be stuck between positions for the time being. At 66 with an NBA body, Negedu has played power forward most of his life, but must learn to transition out to the wing to have a chance at playing in the NBA. His jumper seems to have improved, although its still inconsistent, but ball handling is the biggest concern for the forward at this stage of his development. If Negedu could consistently get to the rim, his ability to elevate and finish against contact would immediately put him on the NBA radar. Defensively, the Nigerian forward has great potential but must learn to move his feet against perimeter oriented players rather than trying to body them. Negedu should play immediately at Arizona, but his transition to the small forward position could be years from happening. Diego Gerbaudo, 511, Point Guard, Argentina
9 points, 2 assists, 5 turnovers, 3/3 FG
Despite lacking size, Gerbaudo managed to make a number of plays for the international team in transition as well as a couple of nice passes in the half-court. His small stature will hurt his chances at playing in the NBA, and this became clear when he struggled to see the floor on the dribble drive to the basket. The Argentinean displayed a nice shooting stroke during the game, and also finished a couple breakaway layups in transition. Its clear hell have trouble making plays against bigger and more athletic competition in the future, but he should have a very nice career overseas. Torgrim Sommerfeldt, 66, Shooting Guard, Norway
8 points, 3/4 FG, 2/3 3PFG
The guard showed a nice spot-up shooting stroke during the game, and has good size for a wing at 66. To really stand out in the future, he must work on his ball handling and finishing at the rim. Sommerfeldt isnt really an NBA prospect, but will attend college in the United States in 2009-2010 after finishing his final year of high school in Norway.