Over the weekend, Team USA lost to the World Team for the second straight year, marking the first time ever that the World Team wins consecutively. More from USA Basketball:
Despite several second-half rallies to cut into a World Team lead that reached as high as 18 points, the USA Junior National Select Team fell to the international squad 112-98 in the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit on Saturday, April 20 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.
For the first time in the 16-game history of the Nike Hoop Summit the World Team has recorded two consecutive-wins over the USA, having also taken the victory (84-75) in 2012.
“We want to give the World Team all the credit,” said USA head coach Mike Jones (DeMatha Catholic H.S., Md.). “They played a very good game, and are one of the most talented, if not the most talented, World Teams that we’ve had at the Hoop Summit. They played good pretty much start to finish.
“We had a couple runs and we cut it close, but we just didn’t have enough to get over the hump. We want to give them all the credit. No matter what the final score says, we’re very proud of the young men that represented the United States tonight. They didn’t quit. Obviously we’d love to be sitting up here after winning the game, but we still have to be proud of them for giving the effort that they did.”
Jabari Parker (Simeon Career Academy/Chicago, Ill.) led the USA with 22 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks; Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian Academy/McKinney, Texas) added 19 points and eight rebounds; Andrew Harrison (Travis H.S./Richmond, Texas) dished out five assists and was 10-of-12 from the free throw on the way to his 19 points in the game; and Rondaé Hollis-Jefferson (Chester H.S./Chester, Pa.) rounded out the USA’s double-digit scorers with 17 points and six rebounds.
“It was a disappointing outcome, but it’s still an honor to play for your country, and being known as one of the top players in the country,” Andrew Harrison said. “We all had a good time here. We’ve been playing against each other since we were in third grade, so it was great to play with them. The outcome was disappointing, but we had fun.”
Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose, Calif.) slammed home the game’s first points off an assists by Kasey Hill (Montverde Academy/Eustis, Fla.), and it was the only time the USA would lead in the game. Trailing 10-4 at 7:27, Andrew Harrison scored nine of his points over the next seven minutes to help the USA battle back to finish the first stanza down by just two points, 23-21.
The second quarter began with an 8-0 World Team run that was halted by a bucket from Bobby Portis (Hall H.S./Little Rock, Ark.) at 8:02 that brought the score to 29-23, but the World Team continued to pull away. With 2:57 to go before halftime, 7’0” World Team center Karl Towns, Jr., who has verbally committed to play at the University of Kentucky, converted an old-fashioned three-point play to give the internationals their largest lead of the first half, 47-31. The USA fought back, and five U.S. scorers helped close the gap to within six points, 49-43 with just 8.9 seconds remaining on the clock. Canadian Andrew Wiggins was fouled on a last-second, 3-point heave, however, and sank all three free throws to give the World Team a 52-43 at the midway point.
After a World Team free throw to start the third period, Gordon, who finished with nine points, completed a three-point play at 9:21 to cut the deficit to seven, 53-46, at 9:21. The World Team responded with five unanswered points, however, and led 58-46 when 6’9” French forward Livio Jean-Charles, who finished with a game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds, scored off an offensive rebound at 8:00. The teams traded baskets before a reverse dunk from Randle, who scored eight of his 19 points in the third period, was followed by a basket from Hollis-Jefferson to pull the USA within three points, 63-60 at 4:15. After a pull-up jumper from Andrew Harrison brought the USA within two points, 64-62 at 3:31, the World Team once again successfully distanced itself, closing with an 11-6 run to end the third stanza with a 74-66 lead.
The USA never quit fighting, and despite 10 points from Parker in the final 10 minutes, the USA could get no closer than nine points.
The World Team raced to 38 points in the fourth quarter as the USA put up 32 to bring the game to its 112-98 final.
“In a 40-minute game, giving up 112 points and 38 in the fourth quarter… that’s kind of an aberration because we were trying to change the tempo of the game,” Jones said. “But prior to that, as many points and as many opportunities that they had in the paint, as well as the offensive rebounding, really killed us.”
The World Team compiled a 50-35 advantage on the glass, including 20 offensive rebounds, and set several Nike Hoop Summit World Team records, including points scored (112), margin of victory (14 points), field goals made (38) and assists (24). Russia’s Sergey Karasev tied the World Team high for 3-point attempts with six.
The USA was plagued by 16.7 percent shooting from 3-point (3-18 3pt FGs) and 61.8 percent from the free throw line (21-34 FTs).
Germany’s Dennis Schröder contributed 18 points and six assists; Wiggins tallied 17 points and nine rebounds; and Australian Dante Exum added 16 points.
“Obviously, I’m very pleased with the result,” said World Team head coach Roy Rana (Canada). “That was a really good game for the World Team, and probably the most impressive thing is the way we’ve shared the ball from the very first practice. Thought there was great chemistry, kids just phenomenal to coach. Like I told them in the locker room, certainly going to be one of my more memorable coaching experiences, just because of the quality of the kids that we’ve had here this week. I think that showed up on the floor. They were extremely unselfish, and I thought they played a great game.”
The Nike Hoop Summit is the country’s premier annual basketball game featuring American’s top senior high-school boys basketball players against a World Select Team comprised of elite athletes age 19-and-under from around the World. The USA is now 11-5 all-time in the Nike Hoop Summit.