If it’s early April, that means it must be about that time again. Time to see how the USA stacks up against the rest of the World out on the basketball court.
For high school hoops fans, avid and recreational alike, the Rose Garden figures to be the place to be this weekend considering the 2011 Junior National Select Team will be taking on the World Select Team at the 14th annual Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, OR.
Make no mistake, Team USA will be tested from start to finish.
The World Select Team is absolutely loaded with talent. And some of the names you might have heard of, Kentucky-bound Kyle Wiltjer for one. The Canadian plays his high school ball at Jesuit in nearby Portland, OR and is one of the more high-profile players around.
Another concern for Team USA is Kevin Pangos, also a Canadian who is heading to Gonzaga, where he’ll play point guard for the Bulldogs. Lastly, a pair of 7-footers, Brazilian Lucas Riva Noguiera and Przemyslaw Karnowski from Poland, could also cause problems.
That said, let’s take a look at the roster for Team USA.
Son of Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers, this kid continues to emerge from the shadows of his famous father to forge his own identity. The younger Rivers does it all, just about whenever he wants, mind you. His jumper extends well beyond the three-point arc. Putting the ball on the floor isn’t a problem either. Rivers, heading to Duke, rebounds, distributes and defends too.
Brad Beal | 6-3 | G | Chaminade Prep (MO) | 2011
Leave him open out on the perimeter, and chances are Beal will make you pay each and every time for the mistake. Rest assured, the World Select Team is well aware of this sharpshooter heading to Florida. Beal, however, is not a selfish player. If the defense is cheating, he is savvy enough to find the open man underneath the basket. Big men love playing alongside him.
Rakeem Christmas | 6-9 | F | New Church Academy (MD) | 2011
His game is East Coast, no doubt. He will fit in well once he arrives on campus over at Syracuse. In the meantime, Christmas has some unfinished business to attend to, and in all likeliness, that business will take place down in the low block, particularly on the defensive end of the floor. He goes after rebounds with reckless abandon and challenges every shot in his in his vicinity.
Anthony Davis | 6-10 | F | Perspectives Charter (IL) | 2011
Right around this time last year, Davis was not considered as one of the country’s premier players. Far from it, in fact. Fast forward to present day though, and he’s the talk of the town, one of the nation’s top prospects heading to Kentucky on a scholarship. Davis will provide a post presence for Team USA so expect to see him get the ball early and often against the World Select Team.
Michael Gilchrist | 6-7 | F | St. Patrick (NJ) | 2011
Most consider him as the nation’s top player. And for all intents and purposes, the distinction is worthy. Gilchrist does a little bit of everything, most of it well, better than his peers. His offensive skill set is polished, both inside and out. When it comes to his mentality, he is relentless as they come. His desire is to be the best at all times and it wouldn’t surprise us if he is against the World Select Team and ends up shining on one of the biggest stages around. Then, it’s off to Kentucky.
James McAdoo | 6-7 | F | Norfolk Christian (VA) | 2011
When talking about players who are fundamentally sound, McAdoo’s name comes to mind. He knows how to play within an offensive set and is equally adept at getting and running in the transition game. Best part about is, the North Carolina commit gives maximum effort on defense as well. The World Select Team figures to have its hand full with McAdoo, just watch.
Figures to have the ball in his hands quite a bit. And rightfully so, considering he’s one of the top point guards in the nation. Expect him to spell Rivers, at times, perhaps even play alongside his fellow floor general to give Team USA a dynamic backcourt tandem that could end up giving the World Select Team plenty of fits. Teague will be playing his college ball at Kentucky.
Tony Wroten | 6-5 | G | Garfield (WA) | 2011
This kid has the mentality of a power forward wrapped up in the body of a wing. He loves contact — he lives for it — which makes him difficult to deal with once he sets his mind on taking the ball to the basket. Don’t be surprised to see him create a match-up problem and run the show for Team USA from time to time. Wroten will stay close to home and play college ball at Washington.
Adonis Thomas | 6-6 | F | Bishop Melrose (TN) | 2011
He’s in an intriguing prospect because Thomas possess the ideal size to play small forward but lacks in stature to play power forward. Nevertheless, he brings plenty to the table, specifically speaking, quickness and athleticism. Those are things you just can’t teach. Thomas, who committed to Memphis is what you call a glue guy, the type of player every team needs.
Quinn Cook | 6-1 | G | Oak Hill Academy (VA) | 2011
With Rivers and Teague in the mix, it might appear as if Cook is the odd man out. That, however, is not necessarily the case. He will be relied on to shut down the point guard for the World Select Team and could end up switching over to harass the shooting guard, at times. Cook won’t hurt Team USA on the offensive end either. The Duke-bound guard can score with the best of them.