NCB On The Trail: 2013 Nike Global Challenge

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Basketball is a global game, and that was apparent at this past weekend’s Nike Global Challenge. After a spring and summer full of competition with the Nike EYBL circuit, the Nike Skills Academies and the Peach Jam, 40 of the top U.S. high school basketball players were brought together on four regional teams to compete in the invite-only Global Challenge against teams from Canada, Pan-Africa, Brazil and France.

At the conclusion of the eight-team, three-day tournament featuring some of the world’s top young hoops prospects, the USA West team emerged with the championship following a 98-95 victory over USA South. Uncommitted ESPN 100 small forward Stanley Johnson (Fullerton, Calif./Mater Dei) for the West and Ohio State-bound shooting guard D'Angelo Russell (Louisville, Ky./Montverde Academy) for the South were named co-MVPs of the event for the U.S. contingent. Johnson led all scorers with 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds in the championship game.

With so much talent from not just the United States but across the world on display for three days, here are five things we learned from the 2013 Nike Global Challenge.

Stanley Johnson
Courtesy of NikeESPN 100 SF Stanley Johnson continued his strong summer with a co-MVP performance at the Global Challenge.
The deepest position in 2014

We are two-thirds of the way through the July recruiting period, but these players have been playing on the travel team circuit since April and it's clear that the wing position -- the shooting guards and small forwards -- has an elite group that scores easy and often.

The Global Challenge only confirmed that thought as the collection of wing talent was elite. It's the deepest position in the 2014 class, and the core players at the top are starting to separate themselves because of their ability to consistently score, play at a high level and win.

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WilliamsPeter G. Aiken/USA TODAY SportsRoy Williams hasn't had a lot to smile about recently, but UNC's 2014 recruiting class is changing that.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- It’s been a rough stretch for Roy Williams and the North Carolina Tar Heels program. There’s the academic scandal that won’t seem to go away, the recent off-court issues with guard P.J. Hairston, and the mediocre season (by UNC standards) in 2012-13.

The Tar Heels finished 25-11 overall last season and 12-6 in ACC play, which was respectable after losing four first-round picks in the 2012 NBA draft.

Still, Marcus Paige wasn’t ready to be immediately thrust into the role as the program’s starting point guard. James Michael McAdoo saw his NBA stock plummet as he struggled to find a natural position. The Tar Heels didn’t have a big man ready to step in for Tyler Zeller and John Henson, and Williams stubbornly waited too long until inserting Hairston into the starting lineup and playing small ball.

But help is on the way.

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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.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On the first day of competition at the Nike Global Challenge on Thursday, some of the best U.S. high school players were pitted against some of the best young prospects from around the world. The Global Challenge pits four U.S. teams from the West, Midwest, South and East against teams from Brazil, France, Africa and Canada.

On Thursday, the U.S. squads swept through the international teams. Here’s a look at four players who stood out on Day 1, including recruits committed to Indiana, Ohio State and Maryland.

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