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Event Preview: Nike Hoop Summit

In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Michael Visenberg previews the 2023 Nike Hoop Summit, which will take place on April 8 at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon:

The simple explanation of the Nike Hoop Summit: 13 of the best high school seniors in the USA against 13 of the best players 19-and-under from all over the world. Dating back to 1995, that recipe has yielded 36 NBA All-Stars and 219 draft picks. Including players who were selected but unable to play due to COVID-19, the Nike Hoop Summit has featured 14 of the past 15 number-one overall picks in the NBA draft.

Since 2008, the game has been held in Portland and has been a weeklong destination for every NBA team each April. Practices typically start the day of the NCAA Tournament Final and the festivities conclude with a ‘USA vs. The World’ game at the end of the week. This year’s teams feature 14 McDonald’s All-Americans (10 from Team USA and 4 from the World Team). While it’s the general expectation that players step onto any court with the goal of winning the game, the spring “all-star circuit” does not always tend to prioritize that spirit, with the Nike Hoop Summit historically serving as the lone exception. This is no ordinary all-star game, but an opportunity for these elite U19 players to represent their country across their chest, so it always feels like more is at stake.

Last year, Team USA beat the World Team 102-80, after a two-year pandemic-induced hiatus. USA leads the all-time series 16-7 entering this year’s game, in what should be a more competitive showdown. The World Team features two Hoop Summit veterans in London Johnson and Mackenzie Mgbako, while for the first time in history, Team USA will have a former World Team participant in Omaha Biliew. Although 2022 featured average heights of 6’7.3” for Team USA and 6’8.3” for the World Team, both rosters are slightly shorter on paper in 2023 (USA average height: 6’5’.4”; World: 6’6.5”). The USA in particular has chosen to go with more wings/combo forwards with only one player standing over 6’10” in Blake Buchanan.

Another storyline this year is just how open this high school and the 2024 Draft Class is at the top. While the Hoop Summit is not the official arbitrator, it consistently provides an early glimpse at some of the top performers that the basketball world will become familiar with over the next year. Nike Hoop Summit typically offers much more structure and emits a different energy than other postseason high school events, and below, we’ve included some context surrounding the players who are hoping to make their mark on the 24th edition.

Team USA

Omaha Biliew | 18.6 (game time age) | 6’8” Forward | Waukee HS (IA) *Iowa St. Commit

Last year, Biliew was one of the more consistent performers in practice and was also the World’s second-leading scorer in the game with 12 points. His defensive ground coverage is what he is well known for, with an ability to get low and defend multiple positions. One of the enticing things about Biliew is his potential to play either the 4 or 5, thanks to his blend of functional length (measured with a 7’2” wingspan and 8’11.25” standing reach at the Hoop Summit, last year), strength and activity level.

His offensive game has a few more question marks — he makes his living in transition, while his half-court game and shot are both swing skills that scouts will hone in on pertaining to his NBA translation. In 2022, he brought big time energy, rebounded well, and provided glimpses of floor-stretching ability. Biliew may get the call at center quite a bit this week due to his ability to “play bigger” and if it works, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Iowa State deploy him as an undersized big man for stretches in the Big 12. Longterm, if his ball skills and decision-making improve, his ability to cover multiple positions while giving some offensive credence at either big position fits the modern NBA quite well.

Blake Buchanan | 19.2 | 6’10.5” Big | Lake City HS (ID) *Virginia

One of the standout performers at the PT40 in 2021, the big man from Idaho had a huge summer on the Under Armour circuit, vaulting him into top-100 status and providing the opportunity to choose between multiple blue blood-level college programs, which ultimately led to signing with Virginia. With big hands and good coordination for someone 6’10+, Buchanan makes his biggest impact around the basket on both ends. He competes hard for rebounds and does a good job of maintaining verticality without fouling when it comes to rim protection.

Nike Hoop Summit is a massive opportunity for Buchanan, quite literally. He is the only player here who one would officially call a true “center” and with the size advantage up front for the World, he will likely at least have a chance to come in and bring a change of pace. He has done work on his body and shot, two areas he’ll need to continue to develop in college. Buchanan chose a great fit in Virginia, a program with a strong track record of big men leaving Charlottesville on a pro track — whether the NBA or overseas.

Isaiah Collier | 18.5 | 6’4” Guard | Wheeler HS (GA) *USC

If there were betting odds on who winds up as the alpha dog in this class, Collier seems to be the early favorite. Claiming the Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year award and winning McDonald’s All-American co-MVP with a game-leading 25 points, he brings size, strength, court vision, and presence. What he lacks in length, he makes up for in his ability to make a defender pay when he gets first contact. He also is one of the better passers in the country and possesses strong instincts as a defender.

Shooting is just about the the only logical factor that could prohibit Collier from maintaining his position at the top of the class (currently is #1 in the 247Sports Composite rankings), as he certainly has a pull-up game, though it can be streaky. His hands are immense, helping him maintain his handle and get finishes off with either hand. Collier has been considered a top-25 talent for the majority of his high school tenure and a strong senior season has caused an even higher ascent into the rankings — his performance during this week can help cement that status.

Eric Dailey, Jr. | 19.2 | 6’7” Forward | IMG Academy (FL) *Oklahoma State

After playing four years at IMG Academy, Dailey, Jr. decided to stick around for a postgrad year in Bradenton, this past season. Showing some encouraging indicators last summer on the U18 National Team, the strong lefty has size and a layered skillset as a combo forward. Dailey is able to utilize his strong frame, functional straight-line handle and physicality to get to the basket. Over the years, he’s also shown a willingness to mix it up on the glass and get to balls in and out of his area — he’s also a versatile defender, with length and lateral ability to defend either forward spot, even guarding in space in a pinch.

Dailey, Jr. is one of the older players on Team USA and will be expected to play immediately at Oklahoma State, and he appears physically prepared to do so. Initially, Dailey, Jr. opting to re-classify into 2023 was seen as a chess move in preparation for the 2023 NBA draft, but for the time being, all signs seem to be pointing to Stillwater. However, with a big week in Portland effectively auditioning in front of (likely) all 30 NBA teams, anything is possible.

Justin Edwards | 19.3 | 6’7” Wing | Imhotep Charter School (PA) *Kentucky

Brandon Miller was the oldest McDonald’s All-American last season and will almost certainly be the first freshman off the board in June’s draft. Justin Edwards, currently #2 in the 247Sports Composite Rankings, will hope to emulate that after a season at Kentucky. Edwards has solid positional size and length on the wing for the college game, but may be slightly below average physically by NBA standards. With that being said, Edwards brings a lot to the table on both ends of the ball.

He’s a fluid athlete, productive straight-line driver, capable cutter, can finish strong in the paint and has some touch on his lefty jump shot. Although talented offensively, consistency from long range remains his primary swing skill. Defensively, Edwards uses his agility as a team defender to regularly generate events, read passing lanes and showcase his timing as a weakside rim protector. Edwards also brings energy and seems to play bigger than his listed size. He will be playing alongside a lot of scorers this week in Portland, and if he shows he can make open jumpers, make things happen when run off the line and maintain his typical defensive presence, he’s in for a successful week.

Ronald Holland | 17.7 | 6’8” Forward | Duncanville HS (TX) *Texas

Known for his ability to impact the game beyond his scoring, Holland is also one of the bigger threats in the open floor in this year’s high school class. The Austin-bound two-time gold medalist can make acrobatic finishes or throw down on someone’s head when given a head of steam. He gobbles rebounds with an ability of someone several inches taller, he’s about as switchable of a defender as you’ll see at the high school level and he’s become a sneaky-solid passer as a secondary playmaker. Holland has an ability to grab a rebound and go, and is someone who excels in a high tempo environment, gliding down the floor with effortless ease. Not surprisingly, his defensive ground coverage is elite, as well.

The half court is still a place where Holland is refining his skill set. He is still under 200 pounds at this stage, and is not exactly the ideal size for a traditional NBA power forward, (he measures out right around average for a small forward). His energy and athleticism do somewhat mitigate his lack of elite positional size, though it will definitely be worth monitoring just how comfortable he can become as a range shooter. If he grows in confidence in that department and can improve his handle when in tight spaces, it makes him incredibly intriguing, especially considering the youth factor (he is the youngest player in the 2023 Hoop Summit). Even with the question marks, Holland projects to be a rock solid complementary piece and a rotation player that would fit with plenty of NBA teams.

Bronny James | 18.5 | 6’3” Guard | Sierra Canyon School (CA) *Undecided

The lone uncommitted player on Team USA, James more than backed up his selection to the McDonald’s All-American game going 5-8 from deep, dishing out four assists, and displaying the defensive ability that he’s becoming incredibly known for (and a big reason why he’s risen back up national rankings, this season). He is a high-level athlete with instincts on both ends that one might expect from the son of one of the NBA’s all-time greats. He’s also a timely relocator with a more-than-competent stroke, plus has some good eyes for open space as a cutter.

James moves well on defense and is great at mirroring on the perimeter, and really knows how to read passing lanes. He makes decisions quickly and tends to optimize his dribbles vs. trying to do too much with the ball. Based on everything we’ve seen thus far with James, playing next to another primary handler is optimal, which would be the likely case with all of his apparent “finalists,” who all boast highly-ranked incoming freshman PGs. So, whether he chooses USC, Oregon, or Ohio State, James should be in a position to succeed. His size may not be ideal as an off-guard, but his athleticism and two-way smarts, and smooth shooting stroke, should be enough to make the eventual father-son tandem come to fruition.

Jared McCain | 19.1 | 6’2.5” Guard | Corona Centennial HS (CA) *Duke

McCain is a physically strong guard who can comfortably generate offense both as a shooter or as a slasher. The winner of last month’s McDonald’s All-American three-point contest has found success playing both on and off ball, which should help with Duke’s lineup versatility, next season. With a lot of ball-dominant primary options on Team USA, expect McCain to take on more of a scoring role, thanks to his ability to create space and get to his spots.

His strength also propels him as a defender, where he is pesky at the point of attack and gives consistent effort. Though he’s a combo guard, he has better positional size at the 1 vs. the 2, so proving his ability to get into the paint and finish vs. the World’s length will be something to watch for — if he impresses in that regard in this setting, it will widen the pathway to his outcome of potential NBA roles, down the line. He has a competitive fire and with his steady hand as a shooter, basketball IQ, and overall playmaking acumen, McCain should be a factor under the bright lights on April 8.

Jackson Shelstad | 17.9 | 6’0” Guard | West Linn HS (OR) *Oregon

After playing with the “Portland Generals” last year, Shelstad will become the first Oregonian to play in the main event since Payton Pritchard in 2016. Coming off a historic high school campaign which resulted in being crowned Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year for the second-straight year, Shelstad has fully earned his spot on the Team USA roster. Although he is only 6’0”, his quickness is exceptional, allowing him to create space at a high level.

He’s also adept at getting to the paint, keeping defenses off balance, and is a knockdown pull-up shooter. His explosiveness helps him play beyond his size, make plays defensively, and catch opponents off guard as a rebounder. This week will be an opportunity for Shelstad to compete with the best of the best, and to show he can be relied upon as more of a set-up man as opposed to a heliocentric scorer. He certainly does have that ability and will give the Hoop Summit fans a preview of what projects to be a major role from day one in Eugene.

Sean Stewart | 18.1 | 6’8.5” Forward | Montverde Academy (FL) *Duke Sean Stewart, son of former NBA player Michael “Yogi” Stewart has pro-level athletic tools with a reported 39-inch vertical, which he put to good use while winning the McDonald’s All-American dunk contest, in Houston. His vertical pop and nonstop motor allow him to finish through contact, rebound at an impressive rate and keep plays alive for his team.

The upside with Stewart is that he really plays within himself and knows where his strengths lie. He is not afraid to mix it up inside and really thrives in the “small ball” 5 role. He is known for his activity level, attacking the glass on both ends and his ability to rim run and finish in transition. He also sets strong screens and has movement skills to switch defensively. Ball skills and consistency as a range shooter are the current question marks as they’ll likely need to be answered for him to boost his NBA stock. Still, Stewart has NBA genes, clear physical tools, a great motor, and is coachable — making him an intriguing long term bet to maximize his ceiling.

DaJuan Wagner, Jr. | 17.9 | 6’3” Guard | Camden HS (NJ) *Kentucky

Highly-touted since first stepping onto a high school floor as a freshman, Wagner has maintained his positioning and currently sits at #3 in the 247Sports Composite rankings. He made history last month as the first-ever third-generation McDonald’s All-American, and earned co-MVP honors after scoring 19 points after halftime, leading his team to a comeback win. Wagner is a shifty athlete who can handle it and finish with touch in the paint. He’s also developed enough as a movement shooter over the years to play alongside another primary, offering some nice lineup versatility.

He silenced any doubt about his competitive fire by following up his McDonald’s performance with a game-winning step-back jumper — the following day — at The Throne National Championship in Atlanta. Wagner has consistently shown an ability to hit tough shots, make plays for others, and play solid positional defense. Looking ahead, keys for him will be proving his ability to convert more often at the rim and to keep defenses honest from long range. Shot selection and overall efficiency are worth monitoring, as well, but Wagner’s natural scoring ability, playmaking instinct and toughness project to translate well next year at Kentucky, making his stay in Lexington a short one.

Ja’Kobe Walter | 18.6 | 6’4.5” Guard/Wing | Link Academy (MO) *Baylor

Walter is a long, scoring-minded perimeter utility piece who can switch defensively across multiple positions. He brings elite length and good vertical pop as an athlete, along with straight line and lateral speed, emphatically checking the ‘physical tools’ boxes. His jumper is just about picture-perfect and his soft touch extends well beyond the high school three-point line. Walter has developed into one of the more intriguing two-way prospects in the class and there’s a lot to like about his game.

While he has enough functional size to play on the wing, Walter will likely play some minutes as an off guard, making the need to improve his handle and self-create points of emphasis. His frame will benefit from a college weight room, as well, making his rim finishing even more of a strength. Walter should step into Baylor ready to contribute from day one, and brings physical tools and shooting to the perimeter. Walter has hovered between top-10 and top-25 for the past few years, but has the type of talent and upside to make his current #22 composite ranking look too low following a successful season at Waco.

Cody Williams | 18.3 | 6’8” Guard | Perry HS (AZ) *Colorado

Williams’ rise to five-star level prospect has been one of the more enjoyable developments to witness over the past few years. Tall and lanky, the younger brother of Oklahoma City Thunder star rookie Jalen “J-Dub” Williams, has ball skills and slashing ability along with simply tantalizing physical tools. He flashes long range shooting ability, playmaking for himself and others, and the upside to be a terrorizing threat in transition.

He can really do a little bit of everything and his brother’s early NBA success causes even more optimism, as it’s widely believed Cody is further along than Jalen at the same stage of their careers. He is an above-the-rim level athlete, heady passer and has a functional handle. His shot seems quite workable, and he is a very versatile defender, as well. Williams provides a ton to like and is someone who has a legitimate chance to earn a green room invite in June 2024.

World Team

Taylor Bol Bowen (South Sudan) | 18.8 | 6’9” Forward | Brewster Academy (NH) *Florida State

It’d be tough to draw up a better fit for Leonard Hamilton’s system than Taylor Bol Bowen. The 6’9 modern hybrid forward brings terrific length, fluid movement, a special motor, and glue-guy characteristics to any roster. Bol Bowen is comfortable handling in the open floor as well as in a straight line and he’s capable of finishing with power at the cup. He’s flashed potential as a spot-up shooter, though range shooting consistency is still an area of development. In the matchup vs. Team USA, expect Bol Bowen to turn defense into easy offense, bring lots of defensive energy and for him to make winning plays on both ends of the floor.

Garwey Dual (South Sudan) | 18.1 | 6’4.5” Guard | Southern California Academy (CA) *Undecided

A combo guard with the wingspan of a forward, Dual shot up the national rankings with his play this past spring and summer. He originally committed to Providence, but has since re-opened his recruitment with Ed Cooley taking the head coaching job at Georgetown. Dual has burst off the bounce and all-around athleticism. His length, speed, timing, and approach make him a serious problem for opponents as an on-ball defender. He can also make plays for his teammates and is developing as a shooter. Despite being ranked lower than some counterparts, Dual has clear pro traits in his length, athleticism, and defensive prowess and whichever program lands him will be getting a prospect with exciting longterm potential.

Baye Fall (Senegal) | 19.3 | 6’10” Big | Accelerated Prep (CO) *Arkansas

Fall, a lanky big man with dynamic athleticism, should have plenty of opportunities to intrigue NBA scouts throughout the week in Portland. The high-motor prospect moves quite well for his size, is a proficient rim runner, and uses his long levers and leaping ability to affect shots around the basket. He’s shown glimpses of shooting touch, though his best work comes around the basket and in transition. Fall will need to add strength to get to the NBA level and can use work as a decision maker, but he brings a high activity level and is not afraid to mix it up on the boards and infuse energy into his team on defense.

Aden Holloway (Canada) | 18.6 | 6’2” Guard | Prolific Prep (CA) *Auburn

Holloway uses his innate shiftiness and craft off the bounce to create plenty of opportunities for himself and for teammates. He is a very good shooter and when run off the line, he has enough tricks in his bag to finish amongst bigger defenders. Holloway should end up becoming a major pick-and-roll threat at Auburn and is someone teams will have to account for 25 feet and in. He lacks ideal NBA size, though he’s been able to differentiate himself with his confident scoring prowess and a good portion of that ability should translate immediately in the SEC.

London Johnson (Jamaica) | 18.8 | 6’2.5” Guard | G League Ignite

Showing that he could compete and use his speed to finish during last year’s Hoop Summit, Johnson decided to reclassify and join the G League Ignite, where he will be returning next season with hopes of entering the 2024 NBA draft. It took him some time to adjust to the pro level, as he was a later addition to the Ignite — however, he showed improvement throughout the season. He became more confident in his long-range shooting, and came close to a 1.5:1 assist-to-turnover ratio in his first season playing for Coach Jason Hart. With more reps in store next season, Johnson will undoubtedly show more of his aggressiveness as a scorer, willingness to facilitate and upside as a defensive playmaker. He was a pleasant surprise to many at the 2022 Hoop Summit and as a returnee, he’ll be counted on by the World Team to help lead the charge against Team USA.

Miro Little (Finland) | 18.8 | 6’3.5” Guard | Sunrise Christian Academy (KS) *Baylor

The Finnish guard committed to Baylor has length and physical strength that help him play bigger than his listed size. Little has shown steady improvement as a shooter since first arriving at Sunrise Christian several months ago, and served as the primary playmaker for the NIBC team, playing alongside another high-level guard in Arkansas signee Layden Blocker. He is working on improving his consistency from both mid and long range and is fully capable of knocking down open looks. Little brings big energy and a willingness to compete on defense, solid athletic tools, physicality, and drive to the backcourt.

Yves Missi (Cameroon) | 18.9 | 6’11” Big | Prolific Prep (CA) *Baylor

Cameroonian big man Yves Missi has shown a willingness to do the little things that may not show up in a box score, but tend to impact winning at any level. The World Team’s tallest player is no stranger to doing the dirty work, rim running, cleaning up his area on the glass, tipping rebounds to teammates, protecting the rim, and giving multiple efforts on both ends. He’s very active without the ball and rarely standing in one place for long. The shooting range is a work in progress, but glimpses of hope are evident. Missi still has work to do on his body, but he’s an endearing prospect who’s easy to root for and someone we expect to carve out a productive role in Waco by the time he gets to campus.

Mackenzie Mgbako (Nigeria) | 18.4 | 6’8.5” Forward | Roselle Catholic HS (NJ) *Duke

Another Hoop Summit veteran, Mgbako is a major threat as a spot-up shooter who brings size and poise to the forward spot. He’s not an elite-level athlete by NBA standards, but tends to know how to maximize his natural tools. Mgbako shot lights out for stretches with NJ Scholars in EYBL play and brings near-ideal wing size with some defensive ability. With some added ball skills, he could become a “3-and-D” archetype and then some. Mgbako should get a lot of early floor time at Duke and in the meantime, a larger usage role on the World Team will be his to lose.

Michael Nwoko (Canada) | 18.4 | 6’9.5” Big | Prolific Prep (CA) *Miami

Joining two teammates from Prolific Prep, Nwoko is a physical big man who really makes his presence felt on the glass, no matter the setting. He goes about his business and finds ways to impact games without having any plays called for him. Defensively, Nwoko could be more active and will need to work on his timing and movement skills while guarding in space. Joining a Miami team that could look different after a Final Four run, Nwoko will look to come in and provide energy, a presence down low with college-ready strength.

Zaccharie Risacher (France) | 18.0 | 6’9.5” Wing | ASVEL (France)

Seen as the favorite to be the first international player selected in the 2024 NBA draft, Risacher has successfully leveraged his combination of size, athleticism, and shooting when playing for France in FIBA youth competition and for ASVEL in both the Espoirs (Juniors) and Jeep Elite (Pro A) league. He has proven efficient as a spot-up shooter, and capable as a finisher near the rim. Defensively, he has size, length and good instincts, along with ground coverage and timing as a weakside rim protector. Risacher turns 18 on the day of the game and is someone we expect to have some nice moments at the Moda Center. If he has a strong showing, the current buzz should only build, as Risacher has many of the qualities NBA teams look for in a scoring wing who can more than hold their own defensively.

French prospect Zaccharie Risacher. Credit: @picturethispdx (IG)

Ibrahima Sacko (Guinea) | 19.3 | 6’5.5” Wing | J. Addison School (Canada) *Undecided

Sacko will be representing Guinea in Portland, playing this past year in the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA), where he showed his plus-athleticism and ability to get out in transition. With solid physical tools and a willingness to compete on defense, Sacko had a strong enough season to attract college interest and earn a Hoop Summit invite. His shot still needs work, but Sacko has the frame to become an effective paint finisher. His college recruitment is still open and this week will offer him more of a chance to show exactly what he brings to the table in this high-intensity setting.

Andrej Stojakovic (Greece) | 18.6 | 6’6” Wing | Jesuit HS (CA) *Stanford

The son of former NBA All-Star Peja Stojakovic has a soft outside shooting stroke and is a major threat while spotting up, with a rapidly growing ability to get into his shot off the bounce and off movement. He brings size, secondary ball handling ability and really understands spacing, plus is a willing passer and connective piece. Stojakovic is a budding functional athlete who can make plays as a cutter and can finish with touch with either hand. As well-rounded as he’s becoming, the current meal ticket is his shooting, along with an overall understanding of the game, which translates to both ends. Stojakovic should be an immediate contributor for Stanford as a freshman and he will have a legitimate chance to work his way onto NBA radars, down the line.

Alex Toohey (Australia) | 18.9 | 6’8” Forward | NBA Global Academy *Gonzaga

Toohey will look to become the latest international player to find success in Spokane, following stints with the NBA Global Academy and the Australian Centre of Excellence. He brings size, strength, smarts, maturity, toughness, unselfishness, timing as a cutter, and spot-up shooting — on top of that, he adds an additional skill in his playmaking, which seems to be a staple for many Australian prospects. He’s also an aggressive, active defender and is not afraid to mix it up on the glass. Toohey already has experience with the Australian Senior National Team, which should help him compete for minutes amidst a strong group of forwards on the World Team.

Click here to purchase tickets to the 2023 Nike Hoop Summit.


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