In a spring full of all-star games, the rosters in Saturday night’s Nike Hoop Summit may have looked like one, but the stakes were a lot higher than any post-season walk-through.
Native Canadian and 2014 Huntington Prep (WV) forward Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead the World Select Team to an 84-75 win over Team USA at the Rose Garden in Portland, Ore.
Undeclared senior Shabazz Muhammad, who is currently considering Kentucky, UCLA, and Duke, scored 35 points on 12-for-27 shooting, setting the Nike Hoop Summit single-game scoring record.
The United States got off to a slow start in the first half, falling behind by as many 18 points, but battled back to take a 75-74 lead with 3:20 to play in the 4th quarter.
The World Select Team then went on a 10-0 to close the game, including a rainbow three-pointer by Findlay Prep (Nev.) forward Anthony Bennett that proved to be the dagger. Bennett is a Top 10 prospect in the class of 2012
As is many times the criticism of American competition playing in international games, the United States struggled early with chemistry and settled into a one-on-one style game with poor shot selection and a lack of offensive rebounding.
The US was outrebounded 57-34 on the game and allowed 21 offensive boards.
Seven-foot center Wang Zhelin of China was the most impressive interior force for the World team, scoring 19 points on 8-for-11 shooting and grabbing eight rebounds.
The World used a steady gameplan of a match-up zone on the defensive end, which neutralized the stockpile of American athleticism and forced the US to shoot from the outside.
In other statlines of note, UCLA-bound guard Kyle Anderson had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists, while Michigan State-bound guard Gary Harris had eight points and four rebounds.
This is the fourth loss ever by the United States in the Nike Hoop Summit in 15 years of competition.