In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Tyler Glazier assigns superlatives to prospects who differentiated themselves this past week while participating in the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon:
Following large events, it’s not uncommon for us to tweet out our ‘post-event superlatives’ list, where we choose both fun and functional categories and assign a prospect who fits best into each slot, based on their performance at the given event. This time, it felt appropriate to add some reasoning and context behind our superlatives following a full week of practice, scrimmages and last Friday night’s Hoop Summit game, itself.
2022 Nike Hoop Summit Superlatives
Dariq Whitehead (Team USA) | Montverde Academy (FL) | 6’5” Guard *Duke commit
Game Stats: 20 MIN, 17 PTS (6-12 FG, 5-7 3FG), 5 REB, 4 AST, 3 STL, 3 TO
Few high school peers have had the run Dariq Whitehead has had over the past three weeks, seeing him win the prestigious McDonald’s All-American game MVP, followed by a GEICO National Championship and most recently donning the USA logo across his chest as a select invite to the Nike Hoop Summit. However, while most players might get overwhelmed or fatigued by the grind, Whitehead was his typical focused self and took care of business against some of the top young talent in the world. Whitehead was ‘Mr. Reliable’ for team USA and quietly dominated practice on both ends throughout the week, culminating in an efficient stat line against the World Team on Friday night. In a game that saw a total of five Duke commits take the court between the two teams, Whitehead did an excellent job asserting himself and making winning plays on both ends of the floor. His shooting consistency, BBIQ, leadership, etc. have all come a long way since he stepped foot on campus at Monteverde five years ago as he’s morphed into a much more complete player. With the Jon Scheyer era kicking off in Durham, Whitehead will be a much needed productive leader and steady influence for the first-year head coach as he aims to sustain the program’s storied history of success.
Cam Whitmore (Team USA) | Archbishop Spalding (MD) | 6’6” Wing *Villanova
Game Stats: 15 MIN, 19 PTS (7-8 FG, 2-3 3FG, 3-4 FT), 0 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO
After a productive McDonald’s All-American game, Whitmore continued the circuit rounds by suiting up for team USA in the prestigious Nike Hoop Summit. As a first-time Team USA participant as well as the lowest-ranked recruit entering the event, Whitmore quickly established himself as one of the more intriguing prospects playing for either team. At 6’6” and 200 pounds, Whitmore has the requisite physical tools to step on Villanova’s campus and be an immediate contributor from day one. And while he’s known for his highlight finishes from his time at Archbishop Spalding (MD), Whitmore showed everyone in attendance that he’s more than just a dunker as he showcased his secondary creating, playmaking, outside shooting, rebounding, toughness, and defensive versatility throughout the week. Still only 17 years old, Whitmore is on an excellent developmental track and projects to get even better under Coach Jay Wright as he and future running mate Mark Armstrong look to keep the legacy going for the Wildcats.
Kel’el Ware (Team USA) | North Little Rock (AR) | 7’0” Big *Oregon
Game Stats: 18 MIN, 11 PTS (4-5 FG, 1-1 3FG, 2-2 FT), 5 REB, 0 AST, 1 STL, 0 TO
While taking in his newfound celebrity status throughout the week in Portland, Ware gave Ducks fans a little taste of what the future looks like in Eugene, (hint: it’s bright). While Ware stock has been slowly building momentum over the past year or so, his performances at both the McDonald’s All-American game and now the Nike Hoop Summit felt like a coming out party for the 5-star big. At a legit 7’0” tall, Ware showed off his unique blend of fluidity, interior scoring, rim protection, pace and range shooting touch throughout the week. Rarely in a rush, Ware made the game look easy at times and was a tough cover for other skilled bigs in attendance such as Vincent Iwuchukwu, Felix Okpara and Yohan Traore of the World Team. While it’s strange to say the 10th ranked player in the country is underrated, after what he just showed at Hoop Summit, the case for the 9 players in front of him got that much harder to argue. The Ducks got a good one.
Lamar Washington (Portland Generals) | Arizona Compass Prep (AZ) | 6’4” Guard *Texas Tech
Game Stats: 22 PTS (8-15 FG, 3-8 3FG, 3-4 FT), 5 REB, 2 AST, 3 TO *Scrimmage Stats
While the majority of these superlatives belong to official Nike Hoop Summit invites, it was tough to leave the AZ Compass Prep product and Portland native off the list based on his admirable one-day performance where he went toe-to-toe against the USA team as a member of the Portland Generals, the Hoop Summit scrimmage squad that seems to be growing a cult following. After being unable to participate in the scrimmage against the World Team on Wednesday due to conflicts, Lamar “Mar Mar” Washington made the most of his opportunity in a scrimmage against Team USA on Thursday in the Moda Center on an NBA floor in front of NBA GMs. With a strong 6’4” frame, fearless attitude and layered offensive game, Washington showcased his ability to break down defenses, pull-up from deep and finish at the rim on his way to a statement 22p-5r-2a statline. The goal of the Portland Generals team is not only to tune up each team before they face-off Friday night, but to also provide an opportunity for talented, albeit sometimes overlooked prospects to prove themselves in front of NBA evaluators. And while Washington wasn’t the only one who made a positive impression, he was definitely the guy who made the most of his limited time and is a sleeper prospect to follow in Lubbock, going forward.
Omaha Biliew (World Team) | Link Academy (MO) | 6’8” Forward *Undecided
Game Stats: 20 MIN, 12 PTS (5-12 FG, 0-3 3FG, 2-4 FT), 6 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 2 TO
The lone representative of the newly formed prep powerhouse Link Academy, Biliew showed up ready to make an impact with his temporary teammates on and off the court as well as have a strong showing in front of NBA evaluators. The most vocal prospect on the World Team throughout the week, Biliew’s energy helped raise the intensity and focus of each practice session that would have him leaving in a sweat-soaked jersey. Gifted with an excellent physical profile at 6’8” with an uber-long 7’2” wingspan, Biliew acted as a versatile two-way option for the World Team that could slide between positions defensively, slash to the basket, crash the glass, and knock down open looks with his much-improved jumper. Always active in practice, Biliew brought that same high motor to the game on Friday night as he plugged holes and took advantage of scoring opportunities. Still only a high school junior, the Nike Hoop Summit served as a positive litmus test for Biliew to see where he stacks up against the competition in this type of setting while also providing an excellent learning experience. Expect Biliew to continue improving as he applies the absorbed information from the week into AAU on the Nike EYBL Circuit as well as into his senior season.
Swiss Army Knife
Leonard Miller (World Team) | Ft. Erie Int'l Acad. (CAN) | 6’11” Wing *2022 NBA draft eligible
Game Stats: 18 MIN, 11 PTS (4-9 FG, 2-4 3FG, 1-1 FT), 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 BLK, 1 STL, 2 TO
After an extremely unique high school journey which saw Miller balling in Canada, Utah, Florida then back to his native Canada, he’s gone from a mostly unknown prospect to now one of the most intriguing players in the 2022 class in a several month time span. At 6’11” tall, big hands, length and broad shoulders, Miller’s physical maturation has been incredible to watch as he went from a lanky junior at Wasatch Academy (UT) to a grown man as a Fort Erie (CAN) post-graduate in approximately two years. Now draft-eligible with NBA size and a guard-like skill-set, Miller is a toolsy athlete who can slice his way to the hoop to finish strong over length, knock down quick step-back threes from NBA range against guards and punish unset defenses as a transition playmaker or productive slasher, all while playing with a care-free, been-there-before attitude, regardless of environment. While he’s still rounding out his maturity as a decision-maker, Miller’s upside and versatility were on full display against some of the top talent in the USA. Look for him to continue his rise to potential stardom with whatever college, NBA, or alternative pro program he decides to join.
Keyonte George (Team USA) | IMG Academy (FL) | 6’4” Guard *Baylor
Game Stats: 16 MIN, 8 PTS (2-6 FG, 1-3 3FG, 3-3 FT), 0 REB, 1 AST, 0 TO
After a successful senior season with IMG Academy (FL) where he routinely filled up the box score, George currently sits as the number-four prospect in the country (per 247 composite rankings). At a filled-out 6’4”, George is a lethal scorer when he’s got it going, as evidenced in a range shooting barrage to end the USA vs. Portland Generals scrimmage on Thursday afternoon, the day before USA took on the World Team. Aside from scoring, George flashed his defensive upside when locked in and was more than comfortable acting as a lead guard on a team that lacked a traditional floor general. While he remained mostly quiet throughout the week until the onslaught against the Generals, George’s confident demeanor and court presence never dropped off as he carried himself like an apex predator who could strike at any moment. More of a gamer, George came alive when the bright lights were on Friday night in the Moda Center as he was knocking down shot after shot during pregame warmups and seemed ready to unleash against NBA All-Stars let alone the World Team. As Baylor’s highest-ranked commit since the ESPN recruiting database began in 2007, it’s a perfect marriage between star power and program grit that should help shape George into the rising NBA star he currently views himself as while simultaneously taking Baylor for a potential deep tournament ride next spring. It should be another fun season in Waco.
Dillon Mitchell (Team USA) | Montverde Academy (FL) | 6’7” Wing *Texas
Game Stats: 24 MIN, 6 PTS (3-5 FG), 8 REB, 4 AST, 1 TO
It’s amazing to think that around this time last year, Mitchell was sitting outside the top-100 of the 247 composite rankings about to blow up after a productive spring/summer with Bishop McLaughlin (FL) and E1T1. Now sitting at 14th in the latest 247 composite and continuing to trend up, it’s even more amazing to think about what took everyone so long to notice him in the first place. At 6’7” with a combination of elite bounce and fluidity, a high defensive motor, acute self-awareness, a tangible enjoyment of the game, and budding perimeter skills — what’s not to like about Dillon Mitchell? A player who can be a star in his role while also having the potential to be an actual star is both an easy player to watch and a hard one to take your eyes off — and Mitchell fits that profile. He did an excellent job elevating, not stealing, the show during his week playing alongside his talented Team USA peers at the Hoop Summit. Look for Mitchell to bring that same energy to Texas as you’ll likely see him in multiple SportsCenter Top 10 plays on your living room TV next season.
Jean Montero (World Team) | Overtime Elite | 6’1” Guard *2022 NBA draft eligible
Game Stats: 29 MIN, 23 PTS (7-15 FG, 4-8 3FG, 5-6 FT), 1 REB, 3 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO
Entering the Nike Hoop Summit as the most experienced pro prospect after spending multiple years overseas playing for Gran Canaria in the ACB league and most recently with the newly-formed Overtime Elite program, Jean Montero came out to prove he was not only one of the best guards in attendance, but that he should also be considered one of the best guards in the upcoming 2022 NBA draft. While other guards such as London Johnson and Tyrese Proctor were doing their thing as scorers throughout the week, Montero brought a much needed calming presence to the World Team roster. His tight handle, craft, shiftiness, BBIQ, passing, compact shooting stroke, and floor general instincts were a constant in practices as he’d navigate pick-and-roll coverages, dictate pace and balance scoring vs. facilitating in a veteran-like manner. Once the lights turned on Friday night, Montero came ready to play in front of fans and NBA decision makers alike en route to a game-high 23 points against bigger opponents such as Amari Bailey and Anthony Black. With the draft soon approaching, Montero is back training and getting ready to further prove himself in draft workouts as he eagerly works toward the chance to represent his native Dominican Republic in the NBA next season.
Jarace Walker (Team USA) | IMG Academy (FL) | 6’7” Forward *Houston
Game Stats: 13 MIN, 6 PTS (3-5 FG), 4 REB, 0 AST, 2 STL, 1 TO
Coming in as one of the more seasoned prospects after four years with IMG and having spent the majority of his early basketball career as a 5-star recruit, Jarace Walker brought a needed boisterous leadership presence and professional approach to a team full of future pros. Walker is a USAB veteran as well, having participated in the 2018 and 2019 Junior National Team minicamps, in addition to being named a finalist for the 2019 FIBA U16 team. That familiarity with the program revealed itself all week as he remained focused, encouraged others and found ways to fit in with his teammates on and off the court. And at a chiseled 6’7” 220-pound frame, Walker didn’t just talk the talk, but also walked the walk as he showed his dominance and efficiency as a two-way prospect who can fill up a stat sheet while locking down opponents’ best offensive options. Walker will be an exciting pairing next to bucket-getter Emanuel Sharp as Houston looks to make another deep tournament run next March.
Mackenzie Mgbako (World Team) | Gill St. Bernard’s (NJ) | 6’8” Wing *Duke
Game Stats: 21 MIN, 2 PTS (1-7 FG, 0-3 3FG), 2 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 3 TO
In a Hoop Summit field full of potential and upside, it’s the future Blue Devil, Mackenzie Mgbako, who takes home the ‘most intriguing’ superlative from the week. While there are certain aspects of his game, such as off-the-dribble shooting, creating, getting stronger, etc. that still need attention, it was his beautiful shooting stroke, defensive versatility, prototypical wing size, and athleticism that drew everyone’s gaze in the gym. Add in the fact that he was one of only a handful of 2023 prospects in attendance and it becomes easy to get overly excited about what the future holds for the future Duke product. Although he struggled to get much going in the game itself, Mgbako did enough behind the public eye in practices to have his name underlined by NBA evaluators in attendance. Few players throughout the country have the baseline skill-set in conjunction with the natural tools that Mgbako possesses, which is what makes him a top-3 player in the 2023 class according to 247. With his work ethic, BBIQ and professional approach to the game, look for Mgbako to continue making himself more of a complete player as he pushes for that number-one spot and prepares himself for what’s to come in the ACC and beyond.
Amari Bailey (UCLA): Polite and mature person off the court who is a tough defender and plays with a mean chip on his shoulder on the court. Showcased his ability to drive-and-kick, finish and pick up full court on defense. He and Adem Bona will be a fun pairing at UCLA.
Anthony Black (Arkansas): A late invite, but showed why he belonged all week with his versatile defense, playmaking, finishing, and high motor. He and Nick Smith, Jr. will play well off each other at Arkansas next season.
Gradey Dick (Kansas): Shot the leather off of the ball and fit seamlessly alongside the other talent on the USA team throughout the week in practice. Smart prospect with legit size, functional athleticism and NBA skills.
Kyle Filipowski (Duke): Got off to a slower start, but asserted himself more as the week wore on. Soft touch inside, can stretch the floor, coordinated, can put the ball on the floor, etc. Will create space for Lively to work inside, next season.
Dereck Lively II (Duke): Charismatic and fun-loving personality on and off the court. Was extremely supportive of teammates, raised the work ethic of the team, was coachable, etc. Also did an excellent job playing his role of a lob target, rim runner, interior presence on both ends, etc. Going to make his mark with Duke next season.
Nick Smith, Jr. (Arkansas): Scoring combo guard who thrives in space and playing off other talented prospects. Able to make plays in pick-and-roll, get buckets at all three levels and showed his upside as a pesky defender. Will be a hometown hero for Arkansas.
Matas Buzelis (Undecided): Flashed his unique blend of size, fluidity, coordination, bounce, and guard skills in practices before being sidelined with a dental issue. Made an impression in front of NBA evaluators and is a candidate to come back next year to finish what he started. Look for him to further cement himself as a top-10 prospect in the 2023 class over the coming months.
Sidy Cissoko (Baskonia): The only player aside from Tyrese Proctor to make the trip to Portland from overseas. Intriguing guard with NBA physical tools and athleticism who is playing professionally in Spain. Really came alive towards the back half the week and put on a show on both ends in the game Friday night. A lot to like, moving forward.
Vincent Iwuchukwu (USC): He arguably put on his most impressive performance of his young career throughout the week. Did a great job taking advantage of the opportunity to showcase himself by playing with a high motor, running the floor rebounding his area, blocking/changing shots, finishing strong around the rim, and even knocking down a few open jumpers. Has all the tools to be a long time NBA big.
London Johnson (Undecided): Was an absolute dog throughout the week as he fearlessly took it to guys like Jean Montero and Tyrese Proctor in practices. Quick guard who brings toughness, playmaking and microwave scoring. Look for Johnson to lead Norcross to potential back-to-back state titles next season. College decision coming soon.
Felix Okpara (Ohio State): Was a pleasant surprise for the World Team throughout the week as he was effective playing within himself. Mobile big who can slide his feet on the perimeter, protect the basket, rebound, get out in transition and finish above the rim. Made a positive impression on scouts and is a name they will be following at Ohio State.
Tyrese Proctor (Duke): One of the more intriguing prospects on either roster. Ideal size at the lead guard spot, shoots an easy ball, is fluid as a lead creator, has some touch around the basket, is a smart defender, etc. Could go through quiet spells offensively, but is starting to tap more and more into his full potential with each passing event. Solid pickup for Duke.
Mike Sharavjamts (Dayton): Representing the country of Mongolia, Sharavjamts flashed what everyone has been buzzing about recently as he knocked down open looks, made plays in the open court, played sound defense and finished above the rim. While he didn’t necessarily have a signature performance throughout the week, Sharavjamts definitely sent the message that he’s a prospect to be taken seriously as he heads to Dayton next season.
Yohan Traore (Auburn): Another late addition, Traore replaced the injured Adem Bona to round out the group of bigs for the World Team. With a long/strong frame, Traore was aggressive, finishing strong inside and showed he can knock down open looks beyond the three-point line. After initially committing to LSU, Traore recently re-opened his recruitment and is now committed to Auburn. Look for him to continue his positive development track under Coach Bruce Pearl.
Adem Bona (UCLA): Despite being sidelined with an injury, you could see the Prolific Prep (CA) big man anxiously cheering his teammates and badly wishing he could play as he stood on the periphery throughout the week. Bona is a genuinely kind off-court personality who would have added toughness, athleticism, rebounding, rim protection, and finishing to the World Team. He was hoping to be cleared to play in the Jordan Brand Classic.