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 World Team 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.
Josh Green | G | IMG Academy (Florida) | Australia
HT: 6’6” | WT: 205 | ESPN 100 Rank: 7 | College: Arizona Wildcats
Like RJ Barrett last year, this will be Green’s second appearance in the Nike Hoop Summit. Green is a deadly scorer from all three levels and he can create his own looks in a variety of ways. When slicing through the middle of the defense, he switches between soft floaters and thunderous dunks. Adding to his finishes is his ability to shield the ball from defenders with excellent positioning.
Green’s size and versatility will give him plenty of options moving forward. He can reach an entire new level if he become less predictable with the ball in his hands. If he can sprinkle in new moves and continue to find open teammates, Green will be one of the most coveted combo guards in basketball.
Nico Mannion | G | Pinnacle High School (Arizona) | Italy
HT: 6’4” | WT: 192 | ESPN 100 Rank: 8 | College: Arizona Wildcats
From a pure offense standpoint, Mannion might be the most intriguing prospect in Portland this week. He is a stellar ball handler and his family has NBA roots. His father Pace Mannion bounced around the league in the eighties as a defense-first player, but his son brings a different set of skills to the table. Mannion is a proficient shooter off the dribble and is a knock-down catch-and-shoot operator. On drives, he displays the special ability to find open teammates through collapsing defenses.
Mannion is a perfect fit for the showcase games that occur before the summer, so don’t be surprised if he produces an eye-popping stat line on Friday. His offense will garner plenty of attention from the NBA personnel in attendance.
Precious Achiuwa | F | Montverde Academy (Florida) | Mali
HT: 6’9” | WT: 215 | ESPN 100 Rank: 16 | College: Undecided
Achiuwa is an ideal fit for any modern defense. His lengthy frame combines with his quickness to make him a multi-dimensional stopper. From blocking shots to defending in space, he can do it all. Along with his natural gifts, Achiuwa is in non-stop motion from the moment he steps on the floor. Offensively, he runs the floor well and makes himself a big target in transition.
Despite being one of the older players in the competition (19 years old), there is still plenty to like about Achiuwa’s upside. He needs a go-to move for half-court sets, but the rest of his skills should allow him to make an impact immediately at the next level.
The Nike Hoop Summit will take place on Friday at the Moda Center.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com