Andrew Wiggins

World Team coasts to victory in Nike Hoop Summit

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With three of the last four Nike Hoop Summit contests being decided by single digits, Saturday’s matchup between the USA Select and World teams didn’t look to be one that would get out of hand.

But thanks to the superior rebounding and ball movement of the World Team there wasn’t much suspense in Portland, as the World won 112-98 at the Rose Garden.

Andrew Wiggins was the most notable name on the World roster and he certainly had an impact, accounting for 17 points, nine rebounds and four assists on the evening. Wiggins is down to four schools, with Florida State, Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina still jockeying for his services.

But the biggest star may have been French forward Livio Jean-Charles, who tallied 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting along with 13 rebounds.

As a team the World out-rebounded the USA 50-35, and with guards Wiggins, Dennis Schroeder (Germany) and Dante Exum (Australia) leading the way Roy Rana’s team assisted on 24 of its 38 made baskets.

“That was a really good game for the World Team, and probably the most impressive thing is the way we’ve shared the ball from the very first practice,” said Rana following the win.

“I thought there was great chemistry, kids just phenomenal to coach. Like I told them in the locker room, certainly going to be one of my more memorable coaching experiences, just because of the quality of the kids that we’ve had here this week.”

By comparison the USA Select team accounted for just 15 assists on 37 made field goals, with guards Kasey Hill (five) and Andrew Harrison (four) the only players to record multiple assists.

Jabari Parker, who will attend Duke next season, led the Americans with 23 points and Kentucky commits Andrew Harrison and Julius Randle added 19 apiece. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who will attend Arizona, scored 17 points off the bench.

As a result of the victory the World team has won consecutive games in the Nike Hoop Summit for the first time in the history of the event. The question going forward is whether or not 2014 prospect Karl Towns Jr. (Kentucky commitment) can help carry the torch for the World team in next year’s event.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

UNLV’s Stephen Zimmerman out with a knee injury

UNLV forward Stephen Zimmerman Jr. shoots against San Diego State during an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016, in Las Vegas. (L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
(L.E. Baskow/Las Vegas Sun via AP)
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The injury Stephen Zimmerman suffered on Saturday will keep the star UNLV freshman out for at least a week, a source told NBC Sports.

The injury is not thought to be serious, however. Zimmerman may be kept out for longer as a precaution, but that’s a result of the Runnin’ Rebels being in a situation where the rest of their regular season is relatively meaningless.

They’re not getting an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament regardless of how they finish out league play. With back-up center Ben Carter out with a torn ACL, it’s more important to make sure that Zimmerman, who is averaging 10.6 points and 9.1 boards this season, is totally healthy for the Mountain West tournament.

That tournament, mind you, will be played at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center.

So the Runnin’ Rebels, regardless of how poor they’ve played this season, will always have a chance to land an automatic bid.

Anyway, the more interesting aspect of this story is how Zimmerman injured the knee. It was a completely avoidable play that came after the whistle, but I’m not sure it was what you would call a “dirty play”. You tell me:

VIDEO: Buddy Hield is ‘all money’ on game-winning three vs. No. 24 Texas

Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) takes a shot over Oklahoma State forward Chris Oliver during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stillwater, Okla., Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
(AP Photo/Brody Schmidt)
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With a little more than three minutes left on Monday night, No. 24 Texas held a 57-51 lead on No. 3 Oklahoma in Norman as Jordan Woodard struggled again and Buddy Hield failed to find the rhythm that he had throughout the first three months of the season.

At that point in the game, Hield was 4-for-14 from the floor with 15 points and four turnovers. He had just missed a pair of wide-open threes

“I couldn’t make a shot,” Hield said after the game. But that changed down the stretch. First, Hield finally got a three to drop. On the next possession, he got all the way to the rim and scored. On the following two possessions, he was fouled on a drive to the rim and hit four free throws. And after missing a pull-up jumper, Hield did this:

“I told coach I wanted the ball,” Hield said, “I saw Lammert coming to bite, so I pulled up.”

“It’s all money.”

Hield is already the favorite to win National Player of the Year, and this performance is only going to help his cause further. Think about it like this: Buddy was not good on Monday night, at least according to his (admittedly lofty) standards. But he still finished with 27 points and shook off a cold shooting night just in time to take over down the stretch.

Now think about this: Hield’s head coach has enough confidence in him to hand him the keys in the final minutes despite the fact that he’s struggling and on a team that has two other players that Lon Kruger trusts on game-winning possessions. Think about it. When Oklahoma beat West Virginia at the buzzer, it was Jordan Woodard that the play was drawn up for. When they beat LSU, it was Isaiah Cousins that got the rock on the final possession while Hield was used as a decoy. .

Want to talk about coaching luxuries?

Kruger has three guards that can shoot, penetrate and score, and penetrate and kick, and one of them is the National Player of the Year that doesn’t mind being used as a decoy.