Nike Hoop Summit 2013: Livio Jean-Charles' MVP night may be a sign of things to come

Jerry Lai-US PRESSWIRE

The 6'11 French forward scored 27 points to lead the World team to victory. Next, he eyes the NBA Draft, where his stock is rising.

Before last week, you could have said that Andrew Wiggins was the only guy on the Nike Hoop Summit's World team who was worth a close look from NBA scouts.

Then on Saturday night, France's Livio Jean-Charles scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds en route to being named the game's MVP, as the World won the game, 112-98.

And with that performance, Jean-Charles officially caught the eyes of NBA executives from around the league. Sure, there were murmurs in Hoops Summit practices that he was maybe a better player than anticipated. He showed off his athleticism and improving offensive game throughout the week and was already virtually assured to be selected in the upcoming NBA Draft.

But that was before he stepped on the court against some of the best high schoolers in the country and out-shined them all. And that includes Wiggins, who early projections say should go No. 1 in 2014.

It's quite possible that the Hoop Summit alone could have made the 6'11 Jean-Charles a first-round pick. DraftExpress had him going early in the second round before this game, but when you flirt with breaking the World team's scoring and rebounding records, people tend to take notice.

The 19-year-old forward's sudden rise to prominence through one game in Portland is not without precedent. As recently as 2011, Bismack Biyombo hauled in 11 rebounds and blocked 10 shots in the Nike Hoop Summit before being taken 7th overall in the NBA Draft. Before Biyombo, it was Enes Kanter, whose 34-point, 13-rebound outburst made for perhaps the greatest single-game performance the event has ever seen.

In the game's earlier days, Tony Parker and Dirk Nowitzki also had strong games for the World team to promote their statuses in scouts' eyes.

But can Jean-Charles follow in the footsteps of the World players who came before him? It looks as if it's at least a possibility. NBADraft.net's scouting report praises his basketball instincts and his rebounding ability. More importantly, he's described as a versatile defender, giving him instant value to just about any team.

Even after Saturday's game, he still needs to get better offensively to compete with the best in the NBA, but the frame and the athleticism is there, so he should continue to develop. Europeanprospects.com also lauds his hustle and even notes that he is developing a three-point game. Now, imagine a few years in the NBA, with him learning under the best coaches and playing against the best players every day in practice. You could bet that thought has crossed scouts' minds over the last few days.

At this point though, Jean-Charles is not a lottery pick. Even in a weak draft class, there are plenty of more well-known players ahead of him. But it's possible that as the first round wears on and more competitive teams start making their selections, they could look to Jean-Charles as that one piece that could both provide help now and be a steady contributor for years to come. Time will tell.

It's happened before, and if Saturday is any indication, it very well might happen again.

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