Friday, September 28, 2007

Preparing for 2007-08: Scouting the Nike Hoops Summit

In the first of a multipart series, we will be taking a look at some games from last year that are relevant to the 2007-2008 season, starting with the four spring all-star games.

First up, the 2007 Nike Hoops Summit. Team USA had a ten man roster. The coach used Team A (starters) and Team B (other 5), until the middle of the 3rd quarter where foul trouble and game situations forced him to mix and match.

The starting five were the "designer" names. Derrick Rose had a good game, he did what was necessary for the team to win, he had some nice passes (and a couple that didn't click). He also showed that he can be effective off the ball. Rose is certainly a candidate to be the Jason Kidd of his generation. Calipari may get a ring because of Rose. He is solid!

He shared point guard duties with OJ Mayo who played mostly under control and had a few impressive plays, including a couple of nice passes. He also made a couple of iffy decisions but that's part of the game. But he's got the talent and hints of Jordanesqueness.

Dookie Kyle Singler had a quiet game but he didn't try to force things. He is better than he played at the Hoop Summit. Later on he got into foul trouble which took him out of the game.

The starting power forward was Michael Beasley who showed flashes of his potential at the start of the game, and later in the game when Kevin Love went out and opened up things in the paint. He is clearly an offensive weapon. He also had an impressive block.

Kevin Love was the starting center and he played to his strengths, toughness and Wes Unseldesque passing. He got clobbered a couple of times but he casually shook it off. Which is why he is a great match for Ben Howland. He did have a funny comment when he called Ben Howland's offense "impressive". Ben Howland is probably the only coach who uses a blazing fast point guard like Darren Collison to run on the break with a primary purpose not to score, but to wear down the defense.

The most impressive player in terms of exceeding expectations in my opinion was Syracuse bound Johnnie Flynn who had a solid game and played like a solid point guard. Move over Devendork, there's a true point guard in town :-) Flynn gave the opposing team's point guards major headaches on defense as he pressured and hounded them.

The most efficient player of the game was Patrick Patterson, which is why I think he is better than his rating. Even though very few plays were run for him, he managed to put points on the board, and grab rebounds, and found himself in many plays on both sides of the court because of effort and anticipation.

The most inefficient player was Nolan Smith, he gave the ball a headache, he wasted time and possessions without actually going anywhere. It is no surprise he was pulled from the game, and he (and fellow Dookie Singler) returned to the game after the game was decided for good in late 4th quarter. He seemes destined to play out of position at Duke as Coach Ratface K said during the interview he can play all three guard/wing positions.

Donte Greene is no Carmello (then again very few players are), but he is going to be a very productive player at Syracuse. He had an impressive play from the perimeter with a couple of crossovers and broken ankles.

The last player on the team was scoring guard Jerryd Bayless who played as the name suggests. He did not force things since he was playing with an all-star cast. He will put points on the board at Arizona for sure!

From Team World, Nigeria 7'1" big man Solomon Alabi (not Alibi) will be playing for Leonard Hamilton at Florida State. And while the U word is overused (upside), he sure does have a lot of upside if he develops more basketball skills. Initially he will be a factor rebounding and shot-blocking, as he has athletic skills, strength and wingspan - as long as he does not get in foul trouble in the ACC.

Croatian shooter Ugrinoski was apparently offered a scholarship by Tim Floyd and USC, but he went for the dollars (or euros) of professional ball in Europe. The other player that had some flashes (which I am assuming is why the NBA was interested) was Finnish point guard Petteri Koponen. But he will not be going/coming to college hoops. Israeli tough forward Omri Casspi had a burst in the 2nd quarter after he got dunked on, while the two french forwards (Batum and Ajinca) shows a lot of promise as well. But I'll leave all that for the NBA and NBA Draft bloggers :)

Next up: The Roundball Classic.

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