While the Nike Hoop Summit might not have the street cred, name recognition or history of the McDonald's All-American Game, it's become a must-see, week-long event for NBA scouts because it has one thing the Mickey D's game doesn't: an abundance of top international talent.
While Canadians who played their high school basketball in the United States -- players like Myck Kabongo and Khem Birch -- are eligible for the McDonald's game, high school aged future NBA players playing professionally in Europe, Africa, South America or Asia are simply absent at the Golden Arches.
That's where the Hoop Summit comes in. The game features a hand-selected group of 10 international players -- generally from three if not four continents -- and has an established track record of uncovering future NBA players. That "World Team" faces a group of 10 top American players -- including many McDonald's All-Americans in a showcase game on Saturday, April 10 at the Rose Garden arena, home of the Portland Trail Blazers. One of the game's biggest benefits is its timing, as it precedes the NBA Draft by just a few months, serving as a great, recent data point for the league's talent evaluators.
As global scouting has become more systematized, this game has become a serious pipeline. Six 2010 first round picks -- including John Wall, Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousins -- were Hoop Summit alumni. Lottery picks from 2009 -- including Tyreke Evans and DeMar DeRozan -- were Hoop Summit alumni. Six 2008 lottery picks -- including Derrick Rose and Kevin Love -- were Hoop Summit alumni. And, last year's Hoop Summit was headlined by a few names -- Kyrie Irving and Harrison Barnes -- with whom you're probably familiar. International players that currently play in the NBA who passed through this game in recent years include Serge Ibaka, Yi Jianlian, Nicolas Batum, Patty Mills, Andrea Bargnani, Luis Scola and Kevin Seraphin. Texas forward Tristan Thompson and Turkish big man Enes Kanter -- who was ruled ineligible to play for Kentucky -- played in last year's game.
This year's Nike Hoop Summit USA Team includes 10 McDonald's All-Americans. Among them: likely future lottery picks Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers, Michael Gilchrist and James McAdoo. The World Team features multiple international players who are projected to be first round draft picks by DraftExpress.com, headlined by Bimack Biyombo from the Congo (a ridiculous 7-foot-7 wingspan making him nearly a foot longer than he is tall) and Lucas "Bebe" Nogueira from Brazil (whose standing reach is 9-3, meaning he can essentially dunk when he stands on his tip toes).
Over the last two or three years, interest in the Hoop Summit has catapulted. In some cases, it's the best -- if not the only -- place to see raw international prospects face off against their American colleagues. It's become a setting for players to make or break their reputations. Wall's dominance in Portland during 2009 catapulted him to the top of most mock draft boards. Kanter's huge game last year solidified his stock as a future lottery pick. A middling showing can often lead international prospects to head back home for another year of seasoning.
Like any showcase event, the Hoop Summit has a fair bit of razzle dazzle and can stray from fundamental basketball for stretches. As important as the main event on Saturday night, though, is the week's worth of practices at the Blazers' practice facility that lead up to the event, where media and scouts are able to watch prospects go through drill work, halfcourt sets and live scrimmages. The gym was already packed on Wednesday night as Biyombo stole the show with his high-energy defense, activity on the glass and a series of thunderous dunks.
Team USA kicks off practice on Thursday. SBNation.com will be there all week to keep you apprised of the important developments.
All roster information courtesy of NikeHoopSummit.com.
|G||6'3''||180||06/28/93||Chaminade Prep / St.Louis, MO||Florida|
|F||6'9''||225||12/01/91||New Church Academy / Philadelphia, MD||Syracuse|
|Quinn Cook *||G||6'1''||178||03/23/93||Oak Hill / Bowie, MD||Duke|
|Anthony Davis *||F||6'10''||220||03/11/93||Perspectives Charter / Chicago, IL||Kentucky|
|Michael Gilchrist *||F||6'7''||220||09/26/93||St.Patrick HS / Somerdale, NJ||Kentucky|
|James McAdoo *||F||6'8''||210||01/04/93||St.Patrick HS / Norfolk, VA||No.Carolina|
|Austin Rivers *||G||6'3''||175||08/01/92||WinterPark HS / WinterPark, FL||Duke|
|Marquis Teague *||G||6'2''||175||02/28/93||Pike HS / Indianapolis, IN||Kentucky|
|Adonis Thomas *||G||6'6''||205||03/25/93||Bishop Melrose HS / Cordova, TN||Memphis|
|Tony Wroten||G||6'5''||206||04/13/93||Garfield HS / Seattle, WA||Washington|
|Kyle Wiltjer *||F||6'10''||221||1992||Canada||Jesuit HS (Portland, OR)|
|Dario Saric||F||6'9''||190||1994||Croatia||KK Dubrava Zagreb|
|Davis Bertans||F||6'7''||205||1992||Latvia||Union Olimpija Jr. Team|
|Mateusz Ponitka||G||6'5''||190||1993||Poland||AZS Politechnika|
|Kevin Pangos||G||6'1''||178||1993||Canada||Dr.Dennison HS (Ont)|
|Evan Fornier||G||6'6''||185||1992||France||Union Poitiers|
|Raul Togni Neto||G||6'2''||195||1992||Brazil||Pitagoras Minas Tenis Club|
|Lucas Riva Nogueira||C||7'0''||225||1992||Brazil||Estudiantes|
|Przemyslaw Karnowski||C||7'0''||269||1993||Poland||Sport School Cetniewo|
|Bismack Biyombo||F/C||6'9''||240||1992||Congo||Baloncesto Fuenlabrada|
* designates McDonald's All-American