2016 Nike Hoop Summit USA Basketball Roster Breakdown

2016 Nike Hoop Summit USA Basketball Roster Breakdown
Dec 14, 2015, 03:39 pm
USA Basketball today announced their roster for the Nike Hoop Summit game, which will be held in Portland on April 9th of 2016 (3PM EST, Noon Pacific). Tickets can be purchased here.

The roster is comprised as follow:
Edrice Adebayo6'9" 225 PF7/18/1997 18.4 KentuckyHigh Point Christian (NC)
Jarrett Allen6'10" 220 C4/21/1998 17.6 St. Stephens Episcopal (TX)
Marques Bolden6'11" 240 C4/17/1998 17.6 DeSoto (TX)
Terrance Ferguson6'8" 183 SG5/17/1998 17.5 AlabamaAdvanced Prep (TX)
De'Aaron Fox6'4" 160 PG12/20/1997 17.9 KentuckyCypress Lakes (TX)
Markelle Fultz6'4" 170 PG5/29/1998 17.5 WashingtonDeMatha Catholic (MD)
Wenyen Gabriel6'9" 185 PF3/26/1997 18.7 KentuckyWilbrahama and Monson (NH)
Harry Giles6'10" 230 PF4/22/1998 17.6 DukeForest Trail (NC)
Jonathan Isaac6'10" 185 SF10/3/1997 18.1 Florida StateIMG (FL)
Josh Jackson6'8" 184 SF2/10/1997 18.8 Prolific Prep (MI)
Josh Langford6'5" 196 SG1/15/1997 18.9 Michigan StateMadison Academy (AL)
Payton Pritchard6'0" 172 PG1/28/1998 17.8 OregonWest Linn (OR)
Jayson Tatum6'8" 190 SF3/3/1998 17.7 DukeChaminade College Prep (MO)

A few notes:

Chemistry over Talent

As we've seen in the past, USA Basketball did not simply look to put together the most talented and highly regarded group of prospects it could from the very deep pool of Americans at its disposal. Instead, a number of players who will certainly be McDonald's All-Americans and potentially NBA players down the road were left off.

They include the likes of:

-Malik Monk – arguably the biggest “snub”, Monk is considered a top five or six recruit by all of the high school services, and has been invited numerous times to USA Basketball headquarters in Colorado Springs, as recently as this past October for the Junior National Team minicamp. Monk's omission from the roster is likely heavily due to fit, as you never quite know how a ball-dominant combo guard like him will work on a team that looks like it will be very half-court oriented, particularly if asked to come off the bench. While Monk has frequently been part of USA Basketball mini-camp and training camps, he's never actually been on an official roster (some players on this team have been on as many as three), so there be somewhat of a trust issue there as well, as he does not possess as much experience playing with the other players in this group. Monk was unable to participate in the mini-camp last October due to injury, and may have lost his spot in the process to someone like Josh Langford, who proved to be one of the toughest and most competitive players in attendance, and thus very difficult to omit.

-Miles Bridges – while Bridges is a consensus Top-11 prospect according to all the major recruiting services, his omission from the Hoop Summit roster is far from a surprise, as he basically sealed his fate this past October. Bridges held an invite to the Junior National Team minicamp, but elected not to come due to a conflict with his college announcement ceremony. Considering that there was no drama in that announcement whatsoever (Bridges was viewed as a Michigan State lock by that point), and the fact that he really could have held a self-indulging ceremony like that any time he wanted (including in Colorado Springs), this was clearly not a move that reflected very well on his USA Basketball candidacy. He didn't do himself any favors with that move, and now will not enjoy the exposure of the Nike Hoop Summit practices and game.

-Lonzo Ball – ranked anywhere from 7-14 according to the major recruiting services, Ball could have had a case to be considered based on perceived talent alone. After being cut from a few USA Basketball training camp rosters in 2013 and 2014, Ball hasn't been a part of the USA program (reportedly by choice) and thus was never really a strong candidate to be invited.

-Frank Jackson – ranked anywhere from 10-17 according to the major recruiting services, Jackson was likely one of the last players “cut” from the roster and will probably be one of the first considered should an injury occur in the lead-up to the event. The Duke commit hurt his chances by not having a great showing at the Junior National Team minicamp this past October, looking more like a shooting guard than a point guard, struggling to make outside shots, and forcing the issue badly at times. Markelle Fultz's strong performance over the course of the weekend likely cemented his spot on the final roster over Jackson.

A Huge Roster

After getting pounded on the glass by a bigger, longer, stronger, tougher and more athletic World Select squad last year (resulting in a 103-101 loss), USA Basketball has put together a significantly taller, quicker and more versatile group of frontcourt players this time around.

Last year's group of big men was composed of: Stephen Zimmerman, Caleb Swanigan, Ivan Rabb and Chase Jeter, while this time around we see the likes of Edrice Adebayo (a freak athlete with a ripped frame), Marques Bolden (6'10, 250 with a 7'4 wingspan), Jarrett Allen (6'10, 223, 7'4 ½ wingspan) and two combo forwards in Wenyen Gabriel (6'9, 7'1) and Jonathan Isaac (6'10, 7'0)

Just as important is the amount of size USA has in the backcourt, with point guard De'Aaron Fox (6'4, and a tremendous defender), Josh Jackson (6'8, also terrific defensively), Jayson Tatum (6'8), Terrance Ferguson (6'8), Markelle Fultz (6'4) and Josh Langford (6'5) giving the squad a great deal of positional versatility. It should be noted that the 2016 high school class is considered significantly deeper and more talented than the 2015 group (regarded by some as the weakest in the last decade), which should give the US team a better chance of emerging victorious in April.

New Rules Allow for More Players

For the first time, both the USA and World Team rosters will be composed of 12 players, instead of 11. In the past (every roster prior to 2014), USA would actually only bring 10 players out, but with the World Team typically bringing in 11, USA Basketball elected to follow suit the past two years. While that means that one or two players won't see much playing time during the actual game, it does give a chance for the US team to bring in a player like Payton Pritchard, who may a draw for local fans.

Ranked as a 40-60 range as a high school prospect according to the various recruiting services, Pritchard normally wouldn't get the nod in a roster composed of 10 or 11 players historically, but with the game struggling to draw as many fans as some may have liked recently, he may be able to entice some local fans from the Portland area to attend. Playing his high school basketball in suburban Portland, Pritchard is working on his fourth consecutive state championship, and is also an Oregon commit, which likely didn't hurt his chances of making this Nike sponsored game.

The 13th member of the roster will be three-time USA gold medalist Harry Giles, who is out with an ACL tear. He will attend the event as an honorary USA team captain.

Two World Select Team Candidates Invited to USA

Wenyen Gabriel, born in South Sudan, will make his first appearance on a USA Basketball roster of any type when he arrives in Portland this April. Gabriel does not yet hold a US passport at this stage (making him ineligible for official FIBA events), but is on his way to getting one, as he currently holds a certificate of citizenship. Gabriel, who had a tremendous summer and is considered one of the most improved players in high school, was viewed as a lock to be invited to the World Select squad had he not been nabbed by USA Basketball first. Gabriel was in the conversation to be invited to the Junior National Team minicamp last October very late before an ankle injury brought that to a halt.

Edrice Adebayo hasn't been a part of USA Basketball since being attending the Junior National Team minicamp all the way back in 2012, and thus his inclusion on this roster may be viewed as somewhat of a surprise. It certainly wasn't looking that way in October when he wasn't part of the group of players initially assembled. But with USA needing all the length, athleticism and interior toughness they can muster up inside the paint, it makes a great deal sense to bring in the five star recruit. Had USA Basketball passed on Adebayo, he almost certainly would have gotten a call from the World Select Team, as his Nigerian heritage would likely be enough to earn him the nod (citizenships are loosely checked at the Hoop Summit regardless, as this is not an official FIBA event).

The World Select roster is traditionally announced in late March.

Wenyen Gabriel and Edrice Adebayo also share two additional parallels, as they are both Kentucky commits, and both grew up playing on the adidas circuit on the grassroots level. While you occasionaly hear industry people deride Nike's sponsorship of the game (and USA Basketball in general) in the construction of the Hoop Summit roster, it is difficult to say that that played any role this year, as the inclusion of Markelle Fultz, Josh Jackson, Josh Langford and others proves.

Early Announcement

This is by far the earliest USA Basketball has announced their roster for the Nike Hoop Summit. In the last seven years, we've seen the official announcement made anywhere between mid-January and March 6th. This roster went out over a month prior to any other year, with the reasons revolving around marketing and promotional purposes. As mentioned previously, the Hoop Summit hasn't been as well attended by fans as some may have hoped. A new promoter has been hired this time around, and they will try and draw up local support earlier on using the strong roster that was built.

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