Ben Simmons finished with 13 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists as the World team defeated the USA for the third time in four years at the Nike Hoop Summit.
Australian centre Thon Maker posted 2 points and 10 rebounds in the 103-101 victory, while New Zealand’s Tai Wynyard had 2 points and 2 assists in limited minutes.
The Nike Hoop Summit is a premier annual basketball game that features the world’s best basketball players aged 19 years old or younger taking on a USA Basketball Junior National Select Team that is comprised of elite, American high school seniors.
The World team opened up the game on a 12-0 run but the US squad managed to keep the game close. In a game of runs, the World team entered the half with a 47-44 lead.
Both squads would continue to go back and forth but it was the World team who was able to get stops down the stretch to ultimately win the game.
Canada’s Jamal Murray was the standout player of the game, posting a game-high 30 points and 5 assists.
Ben Simmons excelled in this environment. The 6’10 forward was determined to get his teammates involved, making some extremely impressive passes en route to a 9 assist performance – a Nike Hoop Summit record.
World team head coach Roy Rana praised Simmons for his selflessness.
“Every time we’ve won, we had a very special player who has been selfless, I’m not surprised that Ben broke the assist record. He’s much more willing to help his team be successful and takes great joy in that. He has a special talent in his ability to pass and that is going to create a special future for him.”
Thon Maker looked outmatched in this game. He showed off his terrific motor and can be dominant on the glass, but he had a lot of trouble finishing at the rim and had a knack for bobbling a lot of passes. At 7’1, his upside is still extremely high, but the unwarranted hype that has been endowed upon him is slowly dying down.
Although Maker’s performance on this day was subpar, it was a welcome sign for Australian basketball fans to see him in an Australian jersey – albeit not an official one. The game was not a FIBA event so Maker isn’t ‘locked in’ to play for Australia, but donning the jersey is a telling sign – showing which country he identifies with.
Despite only playing 11 minutes, Tai Wynyard was able to demonstrate the type of player he is. A self-described ‘banger’, Wynyard is the ultimate utility player – setting hard screens and banging down low. He finished with 2 points – those points coming from an impressive drop-step on the low block.
The 6’10 Kiwi signed with Kentucky earlier in the year, opting to join John Calipari’s program over Texas and Villanova. Although the program is known for its one-and-done prospects, Wynyard isn’t projected as that type of player. The likelihood is that he’ll be a part of the program for at least two years.
Ben Simmons has had a busy past few weeks: competing in the McDonald’s All American Game, winning the DICK’S National Championship, and winning a number of individual accolades. The next stop for Simmons, who has signed with LSU, is the Jordan Brand Classic in New York on April 17th.
Thon Maker will have a well-deserved break before competing in the 5th Annual Ballislife All-American Game in Long Beach, California on May 2nd.
Dante Exum’s rise to prominence came as result of an impressive Nike Hoop Summit performance in 2013. The 6’6 guard, who’s now the starting point guard for the Utah Jazz, posted 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals in just 22 minutes.
An incredible 165 Hoop Summit alumni have been drafted in the NBA, and as of March 10, 2015, 90 U.S. and World Team alumni were active in the NBA, comprising nearly one-quarter of the league.