The Trail Blazers’ practice facility and home court at the Moda Center is set to host another star-studded Nike Hoop Summit this week. Portland will once again provide the stage for one of the best competitions that features future NBA stars. For basketball fans in the Pacific Northwest, the Hoop Summit is a perfect opportunity to get in on the ground floor for the professionals of tomorrow.
Like previous years, both squads are loaded with top-level talent. Team USA, headlined by the best high school stars in the country, will face an equally loaded World Team. Before the action gets underway this week, Blazer’s Edge contributor Steve Dewald has the details on three Team USA players to keep tabs on.
Along with these introductions, Steve and fellow contributor Dan Marang will be checking in with updates from this week’s practices. Until then, here is a look at three players primed to put on a show when Friday’s game arrives.
Cole Anthony | G | Oak Hill Academy (Virginia)
HT: 6’3” | WT: 175 | ESPN 100 Rank: 2 | College: Undecided
Anthony, son of former Blazers guard Greg Anthony, returns to his birthplace for this week’s competition. He has yet to commit to a school for next season, but the Oregon Ducks have made Anthony’s final list of suitors.
On the court, Anthony gets to his spots with ease thanks to an explosive first step. Once in motion, he effortlessly creates space that combines excellently with his high release point on his shot. As a ball handler in pick-and-roll sets, Anthony uses a myriad of moves to keep defenders off balance. From splitting defenses, stepping out for three-pointers, or hitting open teammates with a beautiful passes—Anthony is capable of generating points quickly.
Due to an impressive arsenal on offense, Anthony’s NBA ceiling is high. From a size standpoint, he is perfectly equipped to hold his own against NBA point guards. But his defensive versatility might end there.
Isaiah Stewart | PF | La Lumiere School (Indiana)
HT: 6’9” | WT: 248 | ESPN 100 Rank: 4 | College: Washington Huskies
At first glance, Stewart is bit of a throwback big man. He has a relentless motor that puts him in position to corral rebounds at a high rate. Stewart’s rebounding exploits are on full display on the offensive glass. By consistently positioning himself with purpose, Stewart is a master of extending possessions. Outside of rebounding, he is an excellent finisher above the rim and does a superb job converting lobs into dunks.
When Stewart isn’t soaring through the air, he has shown early signs of a traditional post game. He still has to work on his discretion when passing out of the post, but his comfort on the low block is encouraging for his long-term development. His half-court skills need polish, but his body is ready for the professional game. If he can cut his turnover rate and extend his range, he will garner interest from NBA teams.
James Wiseman | F/C | East High School (Tennessee)
HT: 7’1” | WT: 240 | ESPN 100 Rank: 1 | College: Memphis Tigers
There is a reason why Wiseman was the most coveted recruit in the 2019 class. Even at his size, Wiseman is one of the most fluid athletes in the country across all positions. He routinely rises above opponents to finish at the rim and secure rebounds. On defense, Wiseman has the profile of a player that can alter shots in the paint and switch to the perimeter when needed.
Wiseman’s physical gifts are undeniable. He has a soft touch on his shot and a decent shooting motion. The sky is the limit if he can convert those two traits into a diverse set of moves on offense.
The Nike Hoop Summit will take place on Friday at the Moda Center.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com