PointGuardU.com was in attendance for the 2012 Nike Global Challenge and World Basketball Festival, which culminated at the DC Armory in the nation’s capital. Here’s a scattershot blast of news, notes, and musings on the event.
James Young is every bit as good as advertised. The 6’6 2013 shooting guard is a smooth athlete, which belies his ability to explode to the rim. He has NBA lottery pick written all over him. Young had 29 points and MVP honors in USA Midwest’s championship victory over Team Canada and Andrew Wiggns, considered by many to be the best player in high school basketball.
Nick King, another elite 2013 wing, scored 23 in USA Midwest’s title win as well. But in a strange and frightening turn of events, King was hit in the mouth and face with just under a minute to go in the 4th quarter and game play was stopped for nearly 10 minutes as the medical staff tended to King where he lied on the floor. Confusion spread over most of the audience as no one could see King laying on the ground, his body obscured by a group of medics and trainers.
Things looked grim when a stretcher was rolled out to the baseline where King had not moved since going down. His head and neck were braced as he was carted away, but reports indicate King wasn’t seriously injured. A bizarre and scary interlude to say the least.
For any Arizona fans who closely follow the recruiting world, do you not absolutely love Rondae Jefferson’s game? An extremely versatile point forward, Jefferson can handle, distribute, slash, finish at the rim, and projects to be a great defender. Given Arizona’s need for wing players in the 2013 class, Jefferson is a player that should be at the top of every Wildcat fan’s wish list.
He’s the kind of player that Sean Miller can make into a star, and the opportunity would be there from day one at Arizona. Here’s a comparison to chew on: a cross between ex-cat Andre Iguodala and current senior Solomon Hill.
Jefferson told us that he still plans to announce his college decision on his birthday, January 3rd, regardless if he knows where beforehand. While we won’t hold him to that, it certainly seems like Jefferson plans to make 1/3/13 a special day for him and whoever wins his services.
Parker Jackson-Cartwright is widely considered one of the best point guards in the 2014 class, and he held his own against competition at the Global Challenge. Known for his vision and ability to facilitate for others, Jackson-Cartwright did a lot to quiet critics with his solid defense and a few aggressive finishes at the hoop.
Marcus Lee, a rangy 6’10 forward out of Deer Valley HS, is simply a block machine. He has great timing and the length to be extremely disruptive. For his opponents, airspace is elusive. When his body begins to fill out (last weighed at 199 lbs), he could be an elite post defender.
Team Canada has been loaded in recent years, which is probably why they’ve had consecutive trips to the finals at the NGC. And while most of the attention goes to phenom Andrew Wiggins, one of the team’s unsung heroes and most talented players is Xavier Rathan-Mayes. A deadly shooter and scorer who reclassified from 2014 to 2013, Rathan-Mayes also has a fire and intensity that is going to make him a major player at the college level. To put it simply, the kid has swagger.
Arizona fans may not be familiar with 2013 Oak Hill guard Sindarius Thornwell, but he had one of the most impressive performances of the tournament with 38 points and 13 rebounds in Team USA West’s 97-95 overtime win against a solid Lithuania team.
Nigel Williams-Goss, 2013 Washington Huskies commit and former teammate of Arizona’s Brandon Ashley, is hard-wired to score. The steady point guard can facilitate, but just has a natural knack for putting the ball in the hoop. While he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, Williams-Goss was still able to attack the basket and score almost at will.
While not an Arizona recruit, 2014 Theo Pinson is one of my favorite players in his class. Extremely athletic, Pinson is an exciting player to watch that can do a little of everything on both sides of the ball.