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Albert Schweitzer 2012: USA Preview

April 5th, 2012 · 5 Comments

As usual, this USA team is not a strong team as USA Basketball selects for the U16 or U19 Tournament of the Americas, Nike Hoop Summit, U17 or U19 World Championships or even the World University Games. It is actually not a USA Basketball official team, and at least when I was able to make it all the way to Germany for the event in 2008, it was presented as an Adidas US All Star Team. Anyway, taking as a main source info from the well-known scouting services such as Rivals, Scout or ESPN, it does not look as a medal contender, and not even as good as other US teams that have taken part at the Albert Schweitzer Tournament.

The official roster announced for the event consists of 11 players who all come from the United States, making a difference in comparison with previous editions where there were always two spots for Army kids. There might still be a chance we see the last spot filled in with an Army kid. I would say that player should be UC-Riverside signee and Rota-based wing Tre’von Owens. Owens was outstanding last February at the DODDS-Europe basketball championships in Wiesbaden, but that’s just words and probably reflects the sad fact that the AST has pretty much finally parted ways with the US Army community in the area.

It is important to note that in the official roster every single player is listed within the 2013 class, so even if they were born in 1994 many of them, they will not be attending college next fall. Most of them still have their recruitment open and their class ranking may still vary.

Derek Willis is the player with most pedigree in the team. Kentucky-bound, he’s not the classic one and done Coach Cal recruits every season but has a change to be a McDonald’s All American next season. He’s ranked among the top35 players in the country for all Espn, Rivals and Scout. A face up power forward who can shoot the ball, dribble and displays nice mobility. He doesn’t look very athletic and it seems he must work on his low post game back to the basket.

Nick Smith. A 2013 PF who virtually comes from nowhere. He’s not registered at any data base, but he is a 20-10 at his high school in Arkansas and has already suggested that scouts from Davidson will be in attendance in Mannheim following in his footsteps. UC-Davis, Missouri State, Stanford and Yale have also shown interest on him.

Deontaye Curtis. A southern 2013 PF. Athletic but a bit undersized, Ole Miss have been trying to sign him. Has drawn interest from many other high major schools though. Listed as a 3* prospect for Rivals.

Steve Haney Jr. A consensus 3* prospect. A 6’6’’ SF from Michigan. A good shooter from the perimeter. It looks like as he lacks athleticism.

This is footage from his freshman season, so he might have enjoyed a good physical evolution. Apparently, he has moved to Florida, where he has drawn interest from South Florida. Anyway, he’s been more targeted by Michigan schools including the Wolverines and other in the area such as Cleveland State or Valpo.

Stevie Clark. A small point guard who’s ranked as a 4* for both Espn (ranked as high as #58 in the nation) and Scout. He’s recently received Oklahoma High School Player of the Year accolades, drawing major interest from lots of big programs.

This video summarizes his 40-point performance at the State Championship Game. He might be short, but he’s overall physical condition is good. He’s definitely not weak, and he’s quick. A good shooter, can score in bunches, but in Mannheim we’ll see his ability to run an offense. I think he could be one of the tournament sensations, sort of what Erving Walker was four years ago.

Austin Nichols. A PF ranked among the 50 best players in the country for Rivals. Heavily recruited, he’s a paint man. He’s scoring options include the offensive boards,running the fast break and a basket after a dish. We haven’t seen him dribbling, passing or playing in the post, but looks like he can finish around the rim with effectiveness. Not very big, he’s got the length and the athleticism.

Darian Harris. 2013. A white 6’6’’ sharpshooter in the mold of Haney. Plays in the AAU circuit with Nick Smith. Has drawn attention from many mid-major programs including Creighton Belmont, Creighton, Lehigh and even Nebraska or Oklahoma. All in all, a little bit more Hoosiers than Haney.

Darryl Hicks. A 3* prospect who has drawn more interest from mid-majors than from high-majors. An undersized shooting guard. Used to be considered as a shooter, he has now added more skills, improving his dribbling. Although a bit short for the shooting guard position, he is athletic enough to play the 2 spot as we can see in the following video.

Marki Bryan. An undersized power forward who has low majors as his more realistic college options as of now. We have heard Seth Greenberg, head coach at Virginia Tech has taken a look at him, so knowing the type of player Seth likes, he must be a hustler. Played at the ESPN Rise last week against some of the nation’s finest. Can shoot from midrange and play around the baseline. He’s not afraid of contact.

He’s the big white guy wearing the #50.

Derrick Walton. A pure point guard Michigan-bound. He’s ranked among the top100 players in his class for both ESPN and Rivals. He’s small, a good shooter though.

Collin Hartmann. A 3* 2013 prospect from Indiana. The same kind of player we mentioned previously with Haney and Harris, a 6’7’’ white swingman. He doesn’t look as a pure shooter though, and more as an athletic swingman. He’s ranked among the top 100 player in his class for Rivals.

I have the feeling they will use an 8-9 men rotation, starting Walton and Clark in the backcourt with Hartmann, Willis and Nichols in the frontcourt. I expect the typical American defense using a lot their hands, but giving space if their rival can handle and move the ball correctly. In the offense, I think they will try to run as much as possible, and in 5 on 5 situations will play 1on1, pick and roll, and their guards will shoot lots of three pointers. Nothing new in this kind of American teams that lack practicing time.

They should be able to finish between the first eight teams, but cannot see them playing for the medals. They will miss the home court advantage for sure.

Juan Cobos writes regularly about European players in the US College system. He contributes to several websites, among them eurohopes.com for example.

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 carlo // Apr 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    Sharing your evaluation on this young weak team, confirmed by yesterday’s test-game (Germany-USA 93-66).
    Very interesting coverage indeed.

  • 2 Don Turner // Apr 5, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    Its about time USA WAKE UP and send the
    McDonald’s current team to Germany and kick a–

  • 3 Christophe // Apr 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    @Don
    that would be great

  • 4 Tommy Brown // Apr 6, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Thats a great way to welcome your guess ,but your kids there turn pro at 13 thats why they come to usa to toughing up you saying typical usa teams , these guys are potiental mcdonald all americans you down them like that wow, thats why you write

  • 5 carlo // Apr 7, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Interesting analysis of US team on http://www.stripes.com/blogs/europesports-blog/europe-sportsblog-1.8499/u-s-teens-face-uphill-battle-at-schweitzer-tourney-1.173733
    but with some remarks:
    1) 2012 US roster is made by 11 HS players only, this means a spot for one DoDDS player could have been available, as mentioned by Christophe as well;
    2) Until 1971 US teams were made just by DoDDS players and after the poor cumulated results it was in 1973 that 8 (not 10) US HS players were assembled together with 4 DoDDS cagers. And that year USA won the tourney, led by future NBA standout Kent Benson, MVP Bill Langloh and Ulice Payne and coached by Dick Stewart. Afaik DoDDS quota was reduced to two players at the beginning of 1990s.

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