Portland, OR – The athleticism gap between Team USA and the World Team that was evident all week in practice carried over to Saturday’s Hoop Summit game, as Team USA won with ease, 101-67. Team USA exploited the World Team’s lack of perimeter shot-creation and ball-handling ability, routinely pressing the World team into live ball turnovers. They had an incredible 32 turnovers, and Team USA turned those into 29 points as the main catalyst for the blowout.
The only time the international squad was able to make any hay against the US was briefly by switching to a 3-2 matchup zone in the last first and early second quarters. The US team countered with 6-7 athletic wing Terrance Ferguson’s zone busting. Ferguson, possessing a great combination of size and athleticism for an NBA wing, got scorching hot finding cracks in the zone in the second quarter, tying the Hoop Summit record for total threes in a game with six in the second quarter alone before ultimately breaking it in the second half with seven total threes in route to 21 points. Ferguson has displayed elite shooting ability off the catch from distance all week in practice, with a quick, fluid release. The World Team was not able to run him off his spots and force Ferguson to make plays off the bounce, which is his weakness, and Ferguson burned them. He projects as a borderline elite 3&D prospect who if he adds strength and a skilled floor game could vie for a top 8-10 pick whenever he declares.
Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz supplemented Ferguson’s first half onslaught with steady contributions. Tatum, the 6-8 Duke bound forward, chipped in with his normal smooth scoring game. He hit multiple fade-aways where he really thrives in the midrange game with his size and high release. Tatum also continued his trend this week of being a menace off the ball defensively, using great instincts to accrue steals. The latter, 6-4 guard Fultz, displayed his normal combination of slippery ball-handling and fantastic court sense breaking down the World defense both off the bounce and the pass. The Washington bound guard has impressed all week with his all-around game, and could be the first guard selected in the 2017 draft if he declares.
Local star 6-2 point guard Payton Pritchard closed the game emphatically in the final period with his three-point shooting tirade. Pritchard at 202 pounds is a tough competitor and an elite dual threat shooting off the dribble and off the catch. Pritchard hit four 3s in the final period to cap the game off, displaying fantastic handle freezing defenders with step-back off the dribble threes between the legs at full speed. Te future Oregon Duck will be a nightmare for Pac-12 guards to check for the foreseeable future.
World Team star prospect 6-11 center DeAndre Ayton was held in check, scoring eight points on 3-of-9 shooting. The US interior defense with 6-11 centers Jarrett Allen and Marques Bolden were able to negate Ayton’s raw strength and athleticism advantages he has over standard opponents, and draw out his lack of skill in the intermediate game and finishing on non-dunk situations at the basket. Ayton remains a physical specimen for a 17 year old, but has a lot of work to do in developing a floor game making plays on the move and scoring around the basket.
Outside of Ayton, the only player on the World team who flashed was Wesley “Mogi” Silva, the 6-5 lengthy wing. Mogi provided a much needed energy jolt to the World Team getting to the line and attacking the glass (8 total rebounds). Right now he is mostly tools and athleticism, but he displayed promising skill-level on a euro-step in transition and several nice drop-off passes.
Once considered a surefire first round pick in the 2016 draft, 6-4 guard Isaia Cordinier really struggled throughout the week and in the game, personifying the World Team’s total lack of shot-creation. Cordinier is a bouncy athlete with elite quickness, but he doesn’t impact games with his lack of ball-skills and size.
Overall, Team USA’s combination of athleticism and legions of depth were too much for an international team that was completely outclassed from a talent perspective.
This article was written by Cole Zwicker, a correspondent and scout for NetScouts Basketball. You can subscribe to our RSS feed from the upper right corner of our home page, follow us on Facebook, or on twitter. \
Thanks to Sam Forencich/USA Basketball for the photos.
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