PORTLAND, ORE – The Nike Hoop Summit promises to bring together the best under 19 talent on the planet. After the first three days of practice for a World Select team that lost seven of their original roster choices to injury and scheduling conflicts, the 11 young men in attendance – representing ten different countries – are more than delivering on that promise.
While assembling a team to represent the world sounds like a daunting task, George Raveling, current Director of International Basketball for Nike, explained that their global infrastructure allows Nike to identify talent and quickly get the number of prospects to 25 or 30 before attempting to form the final roster. Even with the injuries to many of original selections – including Canada’s Trey Lyles (NPH #1 2014) – Raveling mentioned that the current squad is one that he is extremely proud of, “We came out with an outstanding team; it clearly shows you that there is such a rich reservoir of talent globally to pick from.”
Andrew Wiggins, the only Canadian on the active roster and the reigning Hoop Summit MVP, has managed to be an almost perfect teammate while still picking his spots during scrimmage and taking over when needed. While Wiggins may not possess a maniacal need to dominate and win every drill, he still emphatically congratulates teammates when they hit shots or make key defensive plays, and is quick to offer a smile to a teammate that got the better of him during a 1-on-1 matchup. The fact that Wiggins does this with the eyes of dozens of NBA scouts and GM’s trained on him makes it all the more impressive. Head Coach Roy Rana summed it up perfectly, “He’s a veteran now…he just comes in and does what he needs to do, and he makes it look easy.”
Roy Rana, who is coaching his third consecutive Hoop Summit, is drawing rave reviews from players and NBA personnel alike. “I love him, he’s a great coach.” Australia guard Dante Exum told NPH after practice “Every time he sees something he’s getting on me to get better on that aspect of my game.”
An NBA scout noted that Rana is getting more comfortable in his third year at the helm, and is doing a great job of showcasing the players while still keeping them fresh for Saturday’s game.
The World Team practices again on Thursday and Friday, while Team USA will have their first practice Thursday morning, and will practice a total of four times in two days.
Practice Notes and Quotes
- Canadian Senior Men’s National Team Head Coach and Portland Trail Blazers Assistant Coach Jay Triano was in attendance for day three of practice.
- Nike’s George Raveling on Canada Basketball: “Everybody in the world is talking about Canada…outside of the US, there is probably no country in the world that is producing more blue-chip young basketball talent than Canada.”
- Andrew Wiggins on his matchups in practice: “Dante (Exum) and Sergey (Karasev) are great players. They’re pros where they are from, so it’s good to see where I stand against them.”
- More from George Raveling: “In 2016/2020 Canada should be playing a prominent role in global basketball, I fully expect them to jump up into the top 5 in the world.”
- Dante Exum on guarding Andrew Wiggins: “His first step is ridiculous…and when he gets you on that spin or that backdown, that’s hard to guard.”
- Thursday’s practices have moved from the Trail Blazers Practice Facility to the Rose Garden Arena. It will be the only chance the players have to play on the main court in advance of Saturday’s game.
- Coach Rana on his team: “I’m impressed, they’re a very smart bunch of basketball players. They’re coming together pretty quickly, they’re unselfish and they play the game the way the game should be played.”
- Andrew Wiggins on his relationship with Roy Rana: “I’ve been with Roy for years now…me and him are very fond of each other.