Polish prospects at NIKE Hoop Summit in Portland

PORTLAND– All 10 USA team members put points on the board and four U.S. players scored in double-digits as the USA Basketball Junior Select Team withstood the World Select Team, 92-80. It was the 14th Nike Hoop Summit in front of 9,000 at the Rose Garden, home of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Native Chicago standout, Anthony Davis, who is slated for Kentucky recorded a double- double of 16 points and 10 rebounds for the USA team. “This is my first time playing with USA Basketball, and it’s a great opportunity that I got selected and got to play with them, and playing against the top talent in the world,” said Davis. “We really locked down on defense. Defense leads to offensive fast breaks, and that’s how we got our points. Luckily we came out with the win.”

“I am a big believer in having depth, and with this particular team you have quality depth,” said USA head coach Kevin Sutton. “Having a bench where you could rotate players in freely with very little to no drop off was part of our game plan. We wanted to use our length, we wanted to use our athleticism and we wanted to make it a full court game versus a half court game. So having depth contributed to us being successful tonight.”

The USA was led by 20 points from guard Austin Rivers (Winter Park H.S./Winter Park, Fla.); a double-double of 16 points, 10 rebounds and two blocked shots from 6-9 Davis (Perspectives Charter/Chicago, Ill.); 16 points, five rebounds and five blocks from 6-7 forward Michael Gilchrist (St. Patrick H.S./Somerdale, N.J.); and 12 points and three assists from guard Quinn Cook (Oak Hill Academy/Bowie, Md.).

Bismack Biyombo, (Spain and DR Congo) tallied 12 points, 11 rebounds and a Nike Hoop Summit record 10 blocked shots for the first triple-double in the game’s history. However, Biyombo’s individual performance was no match for a stellar team effort by the USA squad.

“We were trying to win,” Biyomba said. “We came here; we’ve been practicing for four days. It’s really hard to play like we did today. We tried our best on the court.”

The World Team’s Mateusz Ponitka (Poland) put the first points on the board with athree pointer at 9:10, and for the first few minutes of the game the international squad led the Americans. Trailing 7-4, Gilchrist took over and scored the USA’s next seven points, converting an old-fashioned three-point play at 4:44 that gave the USA an 11-9 lead. It was the only lead change of the game as the USA never again trailed.

“It’s hard to get a rhythm,” Rivers said. “A lot of us haven’t played with each other. I thought we actually did great for having not ever played with each other. I started out a little bit slow, and then I knocked down a couple shots and after that I just kept going. My teammates did a good job of finding me, and I just tried to get out in the open court because Anthony (Davis), (James) McAdoo and all of those guys were working so hard getting the rebounds.”

As was the case throughout the game, the World Team several times threatened to take the lead from the USA in the second period, coming as close as three points, 27-24, following a 3-pointer by Kevin Pangos (Dr Denison HS, Ontario and Canada) at 5:39. Rivers scored eight points in the last 3:20 of the quarter, however, to help the USA take a 42-31 lead to the locker room at halftime.

Davis, who scored the first points of the second half with an alley-oop from Bradley Beal (Chaminade College Prep/St. Louis, Mo.) at 9:22, then scored six more points in the next 2:26 to give the USA a 50-36 lead at 6:56, but was sent to the bench at 6:43 with his third foul. The World Team took advantage and compiled a 6-0 run to cut the lead to eight, 50-42 at 4:51.

“We implemented our game plan all week long and I thought the kids really believed in it and they really believed in their own talents,” Sutton said. “So tonight we went out and showed how talented we are, we executed our game plan and I really like how we sustained it over the course of the game.”

Tony Wroten (Garfield H.S./Seattle, Wash.) finished with a game-high five assists, and Davis’ 10 rebounds tied the U.S. Nike Hoop Summit record for rebounds. Tyler Hansbrough also grabbed 10 boards in 2005, as did Jermaine O’Neal in 1996 and Kevin Garnett in 1995.

Ponitka was the top scorer for the international squad with 17 points. The 6’5” Ponitka plays for the AZS Politechnika team in Warsaw, Poland, in the top division of Polish basketball. He was also named to the All-Tournament team at the FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany in 2010 after helping Poland to a silver medal. He averaged 19.0 points a game. He also stood out for his national team last summer at the U18 European Championship in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Karnowski, a Polish national team mate of Ponitka, plays for the SMS PZKosz team in the second division. He came to international prominence at the U16 European Championship in 2009 when he was named to the Tournament first team and named best center of the competition. It was last summer’s World FIBA U17 World Championship where Karnowski really made his mark, helping Poland win silver, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds. The 7’0” center was also named to the All-Tournament team.

Said World Team Coach Roy Rana (Canada), “It’s always tough losing but like I said to the guys in the locker room, this experience is so much bigger than the actual game. It’s been a phenomenal week; these are a phenomenal group of guys and an incredible amount of talent on the world team. Unfortunately, we weren’t the better team today. You have to give full credit to the US team. That’s a very, very special group of US players, and I think their success over the past couple years internationally speaks for itself, but I think we’re going to be hearing from this group on the world team, a lot of these guys are quality kids who are going to do special things in the future.”

The Nike Hoop Summit selects some of the top senior high school players that take on a World Select Team consisting of elite players 19-years-old or younger. The event is a showcase and scouting opportunity as more than 100 Hoop Summit alumni have been drafted into the NBA.

With the win, the USA improves to 11-3 in the 14-game history of the event and has now won the last two Nike Hoop Summits.

Besides the game, the World Team players put on an instructional clinic at St. Mary’s Home for Boys in Beaverton, Ore. Founded in 1889 as an orphanage for abandoned and wayward children, today the facility offers residential treatment for at-risk boys. The players also had two-a-day practices for four days.

Led by USA Basketball’s Men’s Developmental National Team head coach Don Showalter, the World Team players helped teach fundamentals such as dribbling, passing and teamwork to approximately 60 young men. Nike provided equipment and lunch for the entire contingent.{jathumbnail off}

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