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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Nike Global Challenge Preview - USA East

The Nike Global Challenge is coming to DC this weekend for three days jammed packed with basketball and plenty of talent. 30 of the best American high school hoopers will be divided into 3 teams (East, Midwest, West) and will play in a round robin style against each other and other countries. This year China, Brazil, Lithuania, Puerto Rico, and Canada will all make the trip to the nation's capital. The players representing the United States are all legitimate top-100 prospects and plenty will eventually be in the NBA. These guys were the best of the best when it came to the AAU circuit this summer and did more than enough to earn an invite. I'll be there in person on Saturday to soak in all the action and as a amateur talent evaluator, I will have my eye on the guys with the most NBA potential. If you want an idea of how stacked these rosters are, do yourself a favor and check out nikeglobalchallenge.com/history and enjoy looking over the rosters.

Here is just a random roster from 2009:

Kyrie Irving
Dion Waiters
Josh Selby
Will Barton
Trevor Cooney
Adonis Thomas
Roscoe Smith
Tobias Harris
Okaro White
DeJuan Coleman

Like I said, plenty of talent. That was the east roster in 2009. Here is the current one...

C BeeJay Anya (#13)- Anya is a true center with one of the largest wingspans ever measured. He takes up a lot of space, has reshaped his body, and knows his role. He needed to get in better shape and he has really worked on that. Next thing he needs to work on is adding some offensive moves. Anya is a project, but hes the type of guy that gets drafted just based off the way he looks. Its a bonus that he understands his role and shows rapid improvement. He has turned into a confident, vocal leader of his AAU team which isn't something you always see from an overgrown high school kid. Many times they can be quite timid. Anya is a legit NBA prospect and the lottery could definitely be a possibility down the road. He's from Maryland and I think Georgetown could be his eventual destination. Indiana is also said to be one of the favorites.

PG Anthony Barber (#26) - Barber has the measurables of a future NBA point guard. He stands at 6'2 with long arms and is an elite athlete. He is also a great defender and possesses a great first step. When looking for a high school point guard to develop into a NBA player, he has all the initial requirements. Once he gets into college, he can improve on his shooting and weight issues. Thats not a big deal. The only question mark for him is just how good he is at running a team in the halfcourt. So far this summer though, it sounds like Barber has been answering his question marks.

“I’m shooting the ball better and being more vocal as a point guard,” Barber said. “I’m not going at the same speed all the time and I’ve learned how to slow down. I think I’ve improved more as a point guard than I was last year.” He kills it in transition, but he needs more experience running a halfcourt set. Unfortunately, there probably won't be much halfcourt offense going on at the Global Challenge. We will have to wait for college where he could be playing for Anthony Grant down at Alabama. Kansas, Louisville, and NC State are also said to be in the mix.

PF Austin Colbert (UR) - Colbert is one of the few not in ESPN's top 100, but he did boost his stock at the NBPA Top 100 camp. Colbert right now has the athleticism and even a nice touch offensively, but he doesn't dominate as much as he should. His motor isnt bad, but it could use some tuning up. He probably stays in college for a few years because he needs to put on weight to truly take advantage of his game. Georgetown, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Xavier, and Villanova are all in the mix for the Connecticut native.

SF Kuran Iverson (#80) - Unlike Colton Iverson, this Iverson is actually related to The Answer. They are cousins, but aren't close. Iverson has been on colleges' radars for awhile now due to his size and skill level, but he's seen his stock drop slowly as he still hasn't shown the ability to play smart basketball. He has potential lottery talent, but needs to prove in college he can be efficient and a winner. He is looking at Seton Hall, Florida, and Oklahoma State. I think he should avoid playing with Aquille Carr in New Jersey because even though it would be fun to watch, Iverson wouldn't get a chance to prove himself in a normal offense.

PG JaQuan Lyle (#8 Class of 2014) - Lyle is one of the few juniors on this team, and as you can assume, he has a ton of upside. He has great size at 6'4'' which allows him to see over defenses and has helped him become the great passer he is today. He isnt the greatest athlete, but is very skilled and smooth, knowing how to get into the lane and create for him and others. He is considered a combo guard now, but projects to a point guard down the road. His shot is inconsistent, which is one of the few complaints about his actual game. The lack of elite athleticism may hold him back from being hyped as a great NBA prospect, but after he puts up numbers in college, he should get plenty of interest. There is lots of mutual interest from Big Ten schools at the moment.

SF Theo Pinson (#13 Class of 2014) - Another junior, Pinson is a prospect that can be scary good down the road. Hell, he is already scary good right now. He has a star mentality already and has the athleticism and skills to go with it. At this point of his career, there really is nothing that worries you in his development. He is a great mid-range and around the basket guy and also makes his teammates better with his passing. Basically, he is the kind of guy scouts say "I just hope he doesn't peak too quickly" because there isn't much bad you can say about him. I look forward to seeing how he stacks up in this kind of setting. The North Carolina native has offers from Georgetown and Indiana.

SG Shane Rector (UR) - Rector is a true point guard that is perfect to run a team like this. Just like in NBA summer league where teams bring in pass first point guards just to run their offense and put their other players in positions to succeed, that is what Rector will be expected to do for this team. He is a true pass first guy with great speed and ball handling skills. He keeps defenses honest with his shot and is a pesky on the ball defender. He's a little on the small end for a elite point guard prospect at 6'1'' so look for Rector to be playing winning basketball in college for a long time. The Bronx native has a host of schools, including nearby Rutgers and St. John's.

PF Kyle Washington (UR) - Washington is your typical stick PF that can make part of the game look so easy. He runs and jumps effortlessly, being able to block plenty of shots and finish many transition dunks. The rest of his game needs some work, most notable his weight. He is below 200lbs right now, so he will need at least a few years in college before he is physically ready for the NBA.

SG Kameron Williams (#68) - Williams is a big time scorer in high school with his great shooting ability and ability to move without the ball. He has a very slight frame, but has that Baltimore toughness. He ha quick anticipation skills and is very springy off the court. When it comes to a possible NBA future, it may come down to if he can play PG, as right now he is small for a SG. He's only 6'2'' 155lbs. He's been compared to Stephen Curry, Juan Dixon, Eric Maynor, etc. all of whom needed to switch to PG in order to make it in the NBA. He just started blowing up, so his recruitment is still very much in the air.

SF Troy Williams (#43) - Troy Williams was formally a top ten prospect deciding between North Carolina and Kentucky, but his stock has taken a hit this summer after the AAU circuit. Funny enough, since he is the nephew of one of the biggest AAU legends of all time, Mr. Boo Williams. Williams has great size and a good skill set, but needs to get more consistent. Every part of his game can use some fine tuning, but he does have a nice base in each area. It is just time that Williams makes that next leap. Right now, it looks like Williams may have to be in college for a few years until he can stand out and take over a team.

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