Saturday, July 20, 2013
Top PG steps up at Nike Global Challenge
By Paul Biancardi
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Day 2 action at the Nike Global Challenge was intense Friday as pool play concluded and teams battled for their spots on the final day, which concludes with the championship game on Saturday.
Playing with FIBA international rules in this event has been fun to watch, such as guys reaching for the ball when it's over the cylinder. There is also a 24-second shot clock, which has been fantastic because it has added an element that is sorely lacking in the U.S. high school game. In addition, the 3-point line is farther out at 22 feet, 1 inch, so when guys are nailing 3s, it shows they are really good shooters.
Here’s a look at five players who stood out on Day 2 at the Global Challenge, including No. 1 point guard Tyus Jones, ESPN 100 shooting guard Devin Booker, Duke recruit Grayson Allen and a pair of standouts from the Pan-Africa team. There is a full lineup of games Saturday, with the championship contest pitting USA South vs. USA West. We’ll have lessons learned from the entire event on Monday.
Tyus Jones, the No. 1 point guard in the ESPN 100, came up big when needed at the Nike Global Challenge.
Tyus Jones (Apple Valley, Minn./Apple Valley)
2014, PG, 6-1, 171
Uncommitted Jones, the No. 1 point guard in the ESPN 100, is one of the absolute best guards in the pick-and-roll game as he creates separation and reads the defense to deliver the assist or score himself. He has always had the floater in his offensive arsenal, and now he nails long-range jumpers as he executes and produces on a high level almost every night. He keeps his dribble alive until he can make an assist or just make a simple pass, which is a sign of maturity. In addition, his vision to drive, draw multiple defenders and dish the ball out for assists is second to none in the 2014 class. In a game against the Pan-Africa team Friday, the USA Midwest squad was down five points with two minutes to go. I was looking for Jones’ leadership at that moment, and he stepped up, controlled the offense and dished for five assists to lead his Midwest team to a 98-91 comeback victory.
Jiday Noble Ugbaja (Daly City, Calif./Archbishop Riordan)
2014, PG, 6-0, 175
Uncommitted Ugbaja is a quick, athletic and tough point guard who is playing for the Pan-Africa squad at the Global Challenge. He runs his team with unselfishness, uses his dribble penetration to force the help defender, then picks his spots to hit an open teammate. His go-to moves are a crossover or step-back. He put on a shooting display making long 2-point shots in a close afternoon loss to the USA Midwest team Friday, scoring 15 points in 31 minutes of action. Coming into the Global Challenge, he had interest only from Navy, Portland, UC Riverside and Sacramento State and had no offers. But expect this to change immediately with his performance here.
Devin Booker (Moss Point, Miss./Moss Point)
2014, SG, 6-5, 185
Uncommitted Booker came out strong and finished strong in USA South’s 130-122 win over USA Midwest on Friday night, going 5-for-6 from behind the FIBA 3-point line. The ESPN 100 shooting guard has been slowed a little so far this summer with an ankle sprain, but he came out aggressive and maintained that posture the entire game. His feet get set fast; his body follows; and his release is quick and high off his head, leading to an accurate stroke from deep. His efficiency was at a high level Friday night as he scored 21 points in just 13 minutes of action.
Boubacar Moungoro (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academy )
2014, SF, 6-7, 200
Uncommitted Moungoro, who had a monster driving dunk that was impressive, is super-athletic and used his physical tools to contribute to his Pan-Africa team’s great efforts Friday. On offense, he scores using hard, straight-line drives, catch-and-shoot jumpers from midrange or an occasional 3-pointer. In transition, his game is all about finalizing plays, defending second-chance points and rebounding. The ESPN 100 small forward has put a lot of time into improving and continues to work hard in practice and games. He holds offers from Miami, LSU, South Florida, Auburn, Gonzaga, Alabama, Florida State and Murray State.
Grayson Allen (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence School)
2014, SG, 6-4, 185
Committed to Duke Allen’s performances can best be described as consistent and productive. His approach to the game starts with being ready to compete each and every game. In Friday night’s big win for the USA South against USA Midwest to send the South squad to the championship game, Allen had a linescore that would please his future coaches at Duke: 8-for-12 from the field and 3-for-5 from distance as he dropped 20 points in 31 minutes. What makes him hard to guard is that he will drive and finish to dunk on opponents, but he also knocks down open 3s, so he is a consistent perimeter threat.