A number of Australia’s top high school prospects were on show last weekend at the adidas Nations Global event in Long Beach, California. Thon Maker was a member of the Championship winning squad, winning MVP honors, while William Mcdowell-White and Keanu Pinder were also standouts.
The Asia Pacific squad – led by the team at LivOn Basketball – featured Victory Rock Prep stars Deng Adel and Deng Riak, along with Australian junior representative players Tad Dufelmeier Jr, Callum Barker and William Mcdowell-White. Rounding out the squad was former Sunrise Christian Academy star – and Perth Native – Keanu Pinder, as well as up-and-comers Gabe Hadley and Tom Fullarton.
Coached by former NBA player Randy Livingston, the squad also featured 3 of New Zealands best prospects: Matthew Freeman, Jackson Stent and Nikau McCullough.
William Mcdowell-White emerged as a star for the Asia Pacific squad, averaging 13.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg & 3.5 apg on an outstanding 72% from the field. The 6’5 guard out of Brisbane, Queensland showed an improved perimeter game and was able to compete athletically with some of the best US talent at the event. With newest Louisville commit Deng Adel limited with a shoulder injury, Mcdowell-White was able to step up as Asia Pacific’s primary perimeter option on both ends of the floor.
Mcdowell-White was a shoo-in for the Australian U17 Men’s squad that will compete at the FIBA World Championships in a few days but chose to withdraw from the program after a falling out with the Queensland South state coaches. He’s received offers from Portland and Hawaii but look for his recruitment to pick up after this impressive showing.
Perth native Keanu Pinder also had moments of brilliance throughout the tournament. The 6’9 forward, who will attend Hutchinson Community College before fulfilling his committment to Nebraska, provided a lot of energy for Team Asia Pacific. Pinder was relentless on the glass all tournament – averaging 7.3 rpg to go with his 14.5 ppg on 61% FG.
Australian centre Thon Maker, who is ESPN’s #1 ranked player for the Class of 2016, was also at the event – representing Team Lillard.
Team Lillard had an extremely impressive run, finishing the tournament with a 5-0 record – ultimately defeating Team Wall 106-78 to become the 2014 adidas Nations Champions. Maker saved his best performance for the Championship game, with 18 pts (6/6 FG, 6/6 FT) and 8 rbs in the blowout win.
Maker averaged 13.2 ppg and 8 rpg throughout the tournament and was named Tournament MVP. Along with his impressive numbers, Maker was also able to finish several highlight-reel dunks throughout the weekend.
With Basketball Australia occupied with the Australian U17 Men’s squad at World Championships in Dubai, as well as the Airbnb Boomers squad taking off for their pre-worlds campaign, adidas turned to Randy Livingston to put together a team of his own to represent Asia Pacific at the event. Credit to the coaching staff (Randy Livingston, Warren Rosen, Travis Russell and Kenny McFadden) for their efforts over the weekend.