By: Sam Meyerkopf / @HoopLikeDrazen
The World Team at the Nike Hoop Summit is comprised of eleven players from ten different countries. A true world roster. With different playing styles, development, and basketball knowledge, it’s a very interesting mix of players on one team. The World Team morning practice run by coaches Roy Rana and Marin Sedlacek was smooth and purposeful. The team started out with fast break drills, some three on two and two on one play, shooting drills for the guards, post up drills for the bigs, three on three then five on five half court action, and then ended in a ten minute scrimmage (Black Team won 17-11). The team was split up for the whole practice, with the same guys usually matched-up against each other for every drill and scrimmage.
White Team: Dante Exum, Nikola Ivanovic, Andrew Wiggins, Gabriel Deck, Mouhammadou Jaiteh, and Joel Embiid.
Black Team: Dennis Schröder, Tomas Dimsa, Sergey Karasev, Livio Jean-Charles, and Karl Towns, Jr.
To kickoff the week, here is a introduction into each player and what he might bring to this World Team.
Dante Exum, Australia, 1995
Height: 6’6″, Weight: 188 lbs, Wingspan: 6’9 1/4″
First Impressions: Exum jumped out immediately for his uniqueness. A 6’6″ point guard who is real quick and has a nice jumper that he was really confident in. He was dueling with Schroder all practice and was comfortable conducting the offense from the perimeter and getting into the lane. Talked the most on the court, communication isn’t the easiest thing with so many different languages at play. Overall really liked him as an athlete and potential scorer, he’s smooth in everything he does, just want to see him get people more involved. At first he seems like a scoring guard who brings the ball up the court.
Team Role: Will battle Schroder all week for point guard minutes. It’s a great test for Exum because Schroeder is a more typical point guard type who he’d have to guard on the next levels of his career. For now, with so many scorers around, he will be looked upon to run the offense, and keep the floor spaced with his shooting and driving. Wouldn’t be surprised if besides Wiggins he ends up being the best prospect from this group.
Dennis Schröder, Germany, 1993
Height: 6’2″, Weight: 168 lbs, Wingspan: 6’7 1/4″
First Impressions: Fast, quick, jet-like; whatever word you want to use for his speed, you can stick it onto Schroder. He gets into the lane really easily with his quickness and finished in a few different ways around the basket. Was an absolute pest on defense with his giant wingspan, hounding Exum right after he crossed half court. Exum looked at times like he just wanted to get rid of the ball so he didn’t have to deal with Schroder, yelling at teammates just to run up so he could get rid of the ball. Similar question to him as with Exum, will his actual point guard skills come out (running the team, passing, getting guys good looks…) or will he be more a guard who has ball handling responsibilities. He had a few nifty bounce passes on the break and seems to be real comfortable at turning on the jets and getting into transition.
Team Role: My guess is he ends up being the main catalyst for this team come game day, he just seems really confident, something most like in their point guard. With his booming speed he can change his acceleration points easily and just does a great job of pushing the ball. Seems fast but in control and his pro experience shows. This team is packed with shooters so I’d expect a lot of driving and kicking from Schroder. As unique and talented as Exum is, Schroder looked more in control.
Nikola Ivanovic, Montenegro, 1994
Height: 6’3″, Weight: 193 lbs, Wingspan: 6’3 3/4″
First Impressions: Came in thinking he was going to be playing a lot of point guard but with Exum and Schroder in tow he was almost exclusively off the ball today, matched up with Tomas Dimsa. Ivanovic was solid and had a few tricky ball handling moves that led to some nice drives. His jump shot is ok but not as knock down as some of the other perimeter guys here. If he can prove to be a solid passer he might find more playing time come game day. He’s my underdog hope for the week.
Team Role: This is a guy who might get lost in the shuffle with so many talented guys on the roster if he doesn’t find a role quick. Hopefully Coach Rana will put Exum off the ball a little bit and let him run the show at some point.
Tomas Dimsa, Lithuania, 1994
Height: 6’6″ , Weight: 198 lbs
First Impressions: Dimsa looks like a solidly built player, who had a really nice feel for the drills. Growing up and developing in Lithuania he is probably the guy most ready and will be the quickest to pick up on new drills. Doesn’t have the best stroke but is a solid attacker off the bounce.
Team Role: Looks to me like his calling card might become defense as he has the body and opportunity to lock up some of the world’s best wing prospects this week. Also will be a super hustler, got a lot of easy baskets already off of his hustle. If he gets minutes and I haven’t seen the Vegas odds on this yet, but would be my pick for most fouls drawn on Saturday.
Andrew Wiggins, Canada, 1995
Height: 6’8″, Weight: 197 lbs, Wingspan: 7’0″
First Impressions: I wouldn’t be the first person to praise Wiggins’ game and I won’t be the last. He didn’t even seem to be going full speed for most of practice but was still highly effective. He got into the lane pretty easily when he wanted to, off of a just a dribble or two. The thing that impressed me most if that he is turning the spin move into an art form. Right spin, left spin, into a fade-way, finger roll, dunk; Wiggins is about to re-brand the spin move.
Team Role: Score, score, look really athletic, and open up the floor for his teammates.
Sergey Karasev, Russia, 1993
Height: 6’7″ , Weight: 197, Wingspan: 6’9 1/4″
First Impressions: I’m sure Sergey was thrilled when he arrived and realized he’d be matched-up with Andrew Wiggins all week, but that’s how its goes. As the two true small forwards they battled all practice and it looks to be the right match up as they are the two most fluid scorers on the team. A big question mark for him is if he can defend “NBA level” athletes, so defending Wiggins will be something folks will keep a close eye on. What stood out from him was his jumper and ability to get a shot. He has a super smooth lefty stroke that he’s ready to uncork at anytime. Pretty much was solely looking for space to get his jumper off and rarely went deep into the paint.
Team Role: He’s going to be looked at to pour in a lot of points. It was very obvious that this guy plays at a higher level than most of these guys during the season, as Karasev was super comfortable from the start. Look for him to be an assassin trying to get space for that jumper at all times.
Gabriel Deck, Argentina, 1995
Height: 6’7″ , Weight: 228 lbs, Wingspan: 6’8 1/2″
First Impressions: Finally a guy with some actual girth to him. Deck was mainly a screener, rebounder, defender in today’s practice, with the occasional open mid-ranger he was allowed to shoot. Was a very quiet guy, I hope he gains a little more confidence as the week goes on. Will probably battle Jean-Charles and Dimsa for hardest worker of the week.
Team Role: Good fit on this team with so many guys wanting to showcase their offensive skills, Deck can fit in as a hard nosed hustler. He has more the size of a small forward but with this lineup, he’ll be playing all power forward.
Livio Jean-Charles, France, 1993
Height: 6’9″ , Weight: 217 lbs, Wingspan: 7’2 1/2″
First Impressions: The silent killer. Sometimes he was tough to notice in drills because he doesn’t try to go get his shot often but don’t be fooled, Jean-Charles can play. Sporting possibly the best mid-range jumper on the team and some of the best instincts, his game was solid all the way around. He also had a few nifty dimes to guys cutting to the hoop.
Team Role: Forced to play a little bit bigger this week might end up helping Jean-Charles, as he looks really silky offensively for a power forward. Operating from the elbow area he’ll be a real threat with his jumper and if guys can get cutting to the hoop (which a lot were), Jean-Charles will have some play making opportunities. Seems like a guy the coaches will love and play a lot.
Mouhammadou Jaiteh, France, 1994
Height: 6’11” , Weight: 249 lbs, Wingspan: 7’4″
First Impressions: Has a great physical body and looked pretty strong protecting the rim on defense. He has a little bit of a short jumper but kinda pushes the ball up there. The guards on this team do a decent job of feeding the post, so Jaiteh will have opportunities on the block. He also seems like a guy who really wants to learn this week too.
Team Role: Rebound and then get out in transition. Don’t clog the lane and space yourself for guards that need to dish off the drive.
Karl Towns Jr., Dominican Republic, 1995
Height: 7’0″ , Weight: 243, Wingspan: 7’3 1/3″
First Impressions: He just looked like his body would go on for days with his length. A pretty active big who is just looking to jam the ball whenever he gets it inside. Will have some monster blocks this week. Not sure if he’s a solid “team player” yet but the raw skills are very visible.
Team Role: Similar to Jaiteh; rebound, protect the rim, and fill the lane when necessary. Also finish any highlight passes please.
Joel Embiid, Cameroon, 1994
Height: 7’0″ , Weight: 240 lbs, Wingspan: 7’5″
First Impressions: He’s noticeably rawer than everyone else here. Even had problems finishing near the hoop. Super long and big, but against a pretty seasoned group like this, it’s going be tough for him to do a whole.
Team Role: Don’t get posterized, in fact, go posterize someone else.
All height measurements are with shoes on, if that matters to you.