The first game of the 2014 Jordan Brand Classic featured the 20 international players competing against each other as “Black Jersey” and “White Jersey” teams. The “White” team prevailed 74-71 as team MVP Jahvon Blair(Canada) scored 16 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists and four steals. 6’11, 258-pound Udoka Azubuike (Nigeria) was MVP of the “Black” squad with 10 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. All but one of the players are 16 years of age and younger with most in their first or second year of high school.
The game was sloppily played in the first half but picked up in the second half. Shooting was poor with both teams shooting in the low 30 percent range while combining for 39 turnovers.
Udoka Akubuike, C (Nigeria) – Akubuike is literally a man among boys with his 6’11, 258-pound frame. Listed with a 1999 birth date, the 14 year-old uses his strength to score down low, mostly on dunks. At this point he overpowers his defenders. He has quick jumping ability and on several occasions in the game and in the practices he followed his own miss with an strong dunk. Azubuike is fairly slow down the court and doesn’t have an offensive game away from the basket, but if his age is accurate he will be something in a few years. If he is only 14 he is likely not done growing.
Jahvon Blair, PG (Canada )- The 6’1″ point surprised with a solid all-around game. He only committed two turnovers and ran his teams’ offense under control. He’s crafty and quick and while he didn’t have a particularly good shooting game (4-of-12 FG, 1-of-4 3PT) he did make his free throws (7-of-8) when it counted. He does appear to have range and a decent stroke. He holds onto the ball a little too much but his quickness and game understanding should help him as he develops.
Kassoum Yakwe, SF (Mali) – Yakwe is currently at Our Savior New American (NY). He’s a wiry 6’7 and could play the “2” or “3” at the next level. Yakwe is a lefty with a nice shot rotation. He hit two three-pointers in the game, one off the dribble. He’s very athletic and fast and exhibited quick jumping ability with two blocked shots. Yakwe showed off some nice spin moves on penetration and appears to be solid with the ball in his hands. He ended the game with 13 points shooting 4-of-5 overall and 2-of-3 from deep. He bears watching.
Ibrahima Fall Faye, PF (Senegal) – The 6’9″ Fall Faye is wiry (203 pounds) and needs to get stronger but exhibited strong rebounding and shot blocking ability. He’s long and is another quick jumper. While he currently can get in trouble making decisions with the ball (six turnovers), he does react quickly on both ends of the court, can score inside and did exhibit decent touch away from the hoop. He wound up with 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots.
Lucas Siewert, CF (Brazil) – We saw Siewert at adidas Nations last summer when he was part of the Latin American team. Since then he’s come to the states and is playing at Cathedral High School in California. The 6’9″ Siewert is much improved from last year. He’s developed a nice perimeter game with range and a nice rotation on his shot. He has ball skills and caused a defender to fall over after a crossover. With his size, his ball skills and ability to score inside and out, Siewert is a definite high major recruit. He scored 10 points and made 2-of-4 three-pointers.
Lovro Buljevic, PF (Croatia) – The 6’9″ Cibona player showed a solid all-around game. He’s not particularly athletic but in the European mold for big men can step out and drain the three-pointer. He even made one off the dribble. Buljevic appears to be a decent rebounder (four in this game) and has a good game understanding. He scored 12 points, making both of his three-pointers. He needs to improve his speed and vertical jump.
Rodney Miller, C (Dominican Republic) – The 6’11, 230-pound center is currently at Oak Hill Academy (VA). He was born in 1996, making him older than most of the players by one or two years. Miller showed solid rebounding ability with nine in this game, and is long and has shot blocking ability. His offensive game needs improvement and appears to have an unorthodox running style. With his size and length he’s another high major prospect.
Milos Glisic, CF (Serbia) – The 6’8″ Partizan product had a decent game (five points, five rebounds) but impressed us most in Barcelona. He has great versatility and could play three positions at the next level. He’s good in transition and can score inside and out. Glisic must improve consistency in his long distance shooting but is a good shooter from mid-range. He’s an excellent rebounder on both sides of the court. He is one of the European players with the highest potential.
Anthony McNish, SG (Canada) – A prototypical shooting guard with a very strong frame (6’3′, 200-pounds) for his age. MicNish showed the ability to drain the three in catch and shoot situations (2-of-4 3PT) and has a nice stroke. He finished with 14 points and three rebounds and can create offensive advantages because of his strength.
Isaiah Hartenstein, PF (Germany) – He is the son of ex-Oregon player Flo Hartenstein. He’s still growing and it will be interesting to see how he develops in one or two years. He’s long and showed decent touch in making a 16-footer. Hartenstein has excellent mobility running well as a trailer in the fastbreak. He can play pick & pop with a nice catch and shoot ability. He can penetrate aggressively from the high post or the top of the key. Isaiah needs to improve his movement in the low post, and his post moves. He’ll need to get stronger and projects as a center. He has great potential.
Tadas Sedekerskis (6’8, Lithuania) was active on the boards (10 rebounds, five offensive) but wasn’t making his shot (2-of-12 FG). He does have good size for a “3” and his shot looks good, but just wasn’t falling in the game. Frank Ntilikina (6’2, France) is a skinny, quick point guard who ran the offense well and under control. He only committed one turnover in 23 minutes which is exceptional in these types of games. Gerardo Texeira (6’7, Puerto Rico) is an interesting swing forward/guard prospect. He only made 1-of-5 threes but appears to have nice range and shooting ability. The “White” team guards, Ognjen Carapic (6’0, Montenegro) and Aleksandar Aranitovic (6’4, Serbia) did not have good games, combining for 1-of-16 shooting. Both looked much better in Barcelona. The starting point of the “Black” team, Kevin Cham (6’0, Montverde Academy (FL), France) also had an off game, shooting 1-of-7 with eight turnovers.
Overall, it was a game that featured players with solid potential. Although it wasn’t particularly well-played it did give us a view of players that we will watch over the next few years.
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