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Nike Hoop Summit 2011 Review

April 18th, 2011 · No Comments

A week ago, the Nike Hoop Summit 2011 saw a victory of Team USA over the World Team 92-80. We take a quick look at the European based players to see how they competed in this prestigious event.

Mateusz Ponitka from Poland lead the World team in scoring with 17pts. The SG/SF showed his nice shooting touch and overall good understanding of the game. You could see him read what the opponents give him and not trying anything that he is not able to do. When he is open, he takes the three-point shot, also on the fast break. He has very good positioning and sees where to move to get open. He used this in order to create the space to cut from the weak side on several occasions and get the pass for the score close to the basket. Ponitka is not only waiting on the wing to get the ball for the shot but moves well without the ball. On defense, he lacks a bit of lateral speed to stay in front of the faster American guards. This is not a major problem for him at the moment but might limit his upside potential.

Evan Fournier from France did not have a big impact on the scoring for his team but he showed that he is an excellent prospect. Fournier sees the gaps on defense and knows how to attack them but struggled to score on occasions because of his lack of physical presence. He got banged around when he tried to attack the US big guys and lost his balance quite a few times without getting the foul call. He recognized this and tried to score with using his fundamentals by going for example for a jump stop in the drive followed by the head fake and the score after a quick pivot move. The forward from Poitiers also had some good passes on the break or out of the curl and shared the ball nicely without forcing anything. Even if he did not score that much in the game, I think it was a good game for the French guy as he realized what are the points he needs to work on and could show nevertheless what potential he has.

The Latvian Davis Bertans was a bit unlucky in the beginning of the game with his shots but hit some nice three-pointers in the end of the game. His shooting mechanics look excellent and with his gained height, he has one of the highest release points because he always takes nice elevation on the jump shot. Bertans can hit the three-pointer after the kick out but also when coming from the side and the lateral pass. He tends to lose a bit of his balance in the air though when taking the shot in the move which leads to some mixed results.

Bismack Biyombo from the Democratic Republic of Congo was the story of the Nike Hoop Summit from an international point of view. Next to declaring for the NBA Draft, getting in trouble on contract situations with his (former) Spanish team Fuenlabrada and breaking the contract even after the game, he had the time to record the first ever triple-double of the Hoop Summit history with 12pts, 11rebs and 10blks. The first thing that stands out of course when you see Biyombo play is his outstanding athletic presence and explosiveness. You got the feeling that the Congolese is present on every rebound and tries to block or at least change every opposing shot. He never stops to run the court up and down and jump around in the paint. With his limits in terms of game experience, you can only think about how effective he could use this energy level down the road. He has fantastic timing to reject shots on the defensive end and does it at an incredible level above the rim jumping quickly of either one or two feet. Next to all these huge physical abilities, it has to be said that Biyombo is of course still pretty raw on the offensive end. He has no real back to the basket move and prefers even to face the basket to beat his defender on the drive. He has great speed in doing so and came up with a nice turn around attack of the basket out of a post-up. But he needs to improve his ball handling in order to be a serious option as a face-up player. When he gets doubled in the low post, he struggles to recognize the good pass and is not technically enough to do it the right way. He has not real jump shot to speak about and his free-throw shooting needs some development as well.

Dario Saric, the youngest player in the game, had a relatively quiet game in Portland. He could not really show what he is best at which is making plays. He scored on a couple of jump shots or on the fast break and had several nice assists but nothing that showed his overall great potential. Saric might come back at the Hoop Summit as a real leader in the next two years and take the game in his hands. He should be able to do so with his leadership qualities and great feel for the game.

Przemyslaw Karnowski had some trouble in the game against the overly athletic US front court and quickly recognized that he will not be able to score a lot in this situation. He concentrated on another one of his qualities which is sharing the basketball and creating scoring opportunities for his team mates. Karnowski had some great passes out of the post for the opposing side and get the assist.

Lucas Riva Noguiera “Bebe” is displaying a fantastic length but struggled physically during the game. He gets bounced when he attacks the basket because he can not match the strength of the American inside players. Additionally, I had the impression that Bebe is a bit slow in his executions and reactions to the situations on the court. But still, he can develop into a very interesting player in the next years but he seemed to be the prospect that has still the longest way to go from the members of the International team.

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