Nike Global Challenge: Top International Players
Players from four different continents put on a show in Washington, DC.
Though the Nike Global Challenge had a new venue for 2012, the talent was legit as ever. Formerly held near Nike offices in Beaverton, OR, the Global Challenge found a new home of Washington, DC, as a part of Nike’s World Basketball Festival.
China, Lithuania, Brazil, Canada and Puerto Rico joined US teams from the West, Midwest, East to comprise an eight-team field that went to battle over three days. While the USA Midwest squad took home the chip in a hard fought game against Canada behind a straight dominant performance by Detroit baller James Young (for more on top USA players, check Dave Spahn’s dope report—Ed.), there were countless international players who caught the eye of NBA scouts and college coaches alike.
Here’s a look at the top international performers we saw from the Nike Global Challenge:
Lucas Silva, 6-9, PF, Brazil, 1995
One of the event’s younger international players was also one of its more intriguing, as Lucas Silva continued his streak of strong play in the states. Winning MVP of the Jordan International Game in Charlotte back in April and putting up monster numbers in this summer’s FIBA U-18 Americas Championships, Silva showed DC fans why he is regarded as one of the top 1995-born players from abroad. The lanky power forward showed off NBA three-point range, finished in traffic, and was a big time shot blocking presence. Still needing to bulk up, at just over 200 pounds, Silva has already been contacted by a number of European clubs about signing and is the type of player who had NBA scouts already drooling over what he could potentially become down the road.
Andrew Wiggins, 6-7, SF, Canada, Class of 2014
The co-MVP of the event, No. 1 player in the Class of 2014, and arguably top player in overall in high school drew more of a crowd than any player in DC, as fans were hoping to see the next big thing. While Wiggins paced Canada to the title game, he didn’t show the usual dominance that we were used to seeing at Huntington Prep or on the EYBL circuit. His shot wasn’t falling from deep and he sat out Canada’s last game on Saturday against China, but Wiggins still did enough to take home the award for camp’s top player.
Trey Lyles, 6-9, PF, Canada, Class of 2014
While Wiggins certainly has more star power, it was Lyles who was the more dominant player for the Canadian team. The face-up 4 showed an improved ability to put the ball on the deck, kept defenders honest with his jumper, and showed off a flurry of moves on the blocks. With such a complete game, it’s truly hard to pinpoint any glaring weaknesses in the longtime Indiana commit’s game—making it easy to see why fans in Bloomington are so hyped for his arrival.
Gao Shang, 6-6, SF, China, 1994
Though his team left Washington, DC, without a W, the best scorer in the Nike Global Challenge was China’s Gao Shang. Scoring 30 or more points in every game except against Canada, the 6-6 wing left an impression on every team in DC that was forced to guard him. The volume shooter had no other choice but to put shots up to keep his undersized Chinese team in the game against the bigger, more athletic competition. The 18-year-old was a lights out shooter with his feet set (he attempted a whopping 15 threes in ONE game), changes pace very well, and finishes well at the rim with both hands. Gao is not the most athletic guy on the planet, which hinders him at times when attempted to drive by/defend more athletic counterparts. Either way, the future is very bright for a player with the natural scoring instincts that Shang possesses at the next level.
Deryk Ramos, 6-2, PG, Brazil, 1994
A point guard with no shortage of flare, Ramos rocked his faux-hawk in style to being arguably the camp’s top playmaker. At 6-2, he’s got enough size that he can slide off the ball if you need him to be more of a scorer at the collegiate level (if he opts to go that route). He was outstanding running the pick and roll, shot the ball with range, and showed slick court vision. Whether Ramos opts to go the collegiate route or sign a pro contract, he left enough of an impression at the Global Challenge that college coaches will be pressing him to do his thing in the NCAA.
Tomas Dimsa, 6-5, SG, Lithuania, 1994
The 6-5 shooting guard has been well known in Lithuania for a while now after dominating the Nike Junior International Tournament in Lithuania this past February, he put on yet another show at the Global Challenge. The swingman shocked opposing US players with athleticism, leading a number of high-major US prospects to make comments to each other and shake their heads in disbelief after he’d attempt to dunk on a big man or come out of nowhere for a block. Not just an athlete, Dimsa showed off really nice vision with the ball in his hands and even ran a little pick and roll. The athleticism that he possesses helped him with both his ability to get by people and his ability to defend the athletic wings that the USA threw out there at him. He was also able to keep defenders honest with his jumper, shooting 35 percent from three. While his Lithuanian team went 1-3 in Washington, DC, it certainly wasn’t due to Dimsa. Already signed with one of Lithuania’s finest teams (Zalgiris), it appears that Tomas Dimsa is on the right path to a very nice pro career.