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Highlights from 2015 adidas Nations

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Team Rose, which included Lonzo Ball, Kobi Simmons, Edrice Adebayo, Rawle Alkins, and Mustapha Heron, defeated Team Wall, 113-93 on Monday night at Cerritos College in Norwalk, California to win the 2015 adidas Nations.

Alkins, the five-star guard down to 10 schools, scored a game-high 26 points. Markelle Fultz led Team Wall with 14.

The field at the 2015 adidas Nations also included the nation’s top point guard, Dennis Smith Jr., who averaged 16.0 points and 7.6 assists per game in the showcase, as well as Wenyen Gabriel, July’s biggest stock-riser, wh helped Team Africa finish third.

Frank Jackson and Terrance Ferguson, ranked Nos. 10 and 11 by Rivals, played in the same back court for Team Wall, the runner-up in the event.

adidas Nations releases list of college counselors

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Adidas has released its list of 39 college counselors for its annual adidas Global Nations event in California. This year’s list of college players is a pretty good one, as it features some incoming McDonald’s All-Americans like Ben Simmons and Antonio Blakeney (LSU), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue) and Thomas Bryant (Indiana) as well as college stars like Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Georges Niang (Iowa State) and Kyle Wiltjer (Gonzaga) — to name a short few.

The event is important because it gives the college counselors chances to play games against each other in front of NBA scouts. NBA guys will often jump in and get in the games as well as Kyle Lowry, Aaron Afflalo and Tracy McGrady jumped into games with the college guys last summer.

Here’s a full list of the college counselors at the 2015 adidas Nations:

Abdul-Malik Abu, N.C. State
Bryce Alford, UCLA
Zach Auguste, Notre Dame
Cat Barber, N.C. State
Antonio Blakeney, LSU
Jonah Bolden, UCLA
Joel Bolomboy, Weber State
Amida Brimah, UConn
Thomas Bryant, Indiana
Aubrey Dawkins, Michigan
AJ English, Iona
Isaac Hamilton, UCLA
Nigel Hayes, Wisconsin
Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Max Hooper, Oakland
Brice Johnson, North Carolina
Jalen Jones, Texas A&M
Yogi Ferrell, Indiana
Jake Layman, Maryland
Hassan Martin, Rhode Island
Frank Mason, Kansas
Shelden McClellan, Miami
Monte Morris, Iowa State
Mamadou Ndiaye, UC-Irvine
Georges Niang, Iowa State
Landry Nnoko, Clemson
Evan Payne, Long Beach State
Tim Quarterman, LSU
Devin Robinson, Florida
Wayne Selden, Kansas
Shavon Shields, Nebraska
Ben Simmons, LSU
Caleb Swanigan, Purdue
Isaiah Taylor, Texas
James Webb, Boise State
Thomas Welsh, UCLA
Isaiah Whitehead, Seton Hall
Troy Williams, Indiana
Kyle Wiltjer, Gonzaga

Can LSU play up to its talent level this season after disappointing ’13-’14?

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LONG BEACH, California — With a front court headlined by Johnny O’Bryant III and bolstered by the addition of a talented recruiting class led by forwards Jarell Martin and Jordan Mickey, LSU entered the 2013-14 season with the expectation of competing for an NCAA tournament bid. In total, LSU returned five of its top seven players, which is why the SEC coaches picked the Tigers to finish fourth in the preseason poll.

Things didn’t work out that way.

LSU won 20 games but finished just 9-9 in conference play. Instead of spending Selection Sunday wondering where their NCAA tournament would begin, LSU found itself awaiting the NIT selection show. The Tigers lost in the second round to SMU, and while they did lose contributors such as O’Bryant, leading assist man Anthony Hickey and third-leading scorer Shavon Coleman, there is once again optimism in Baton Rouge.

Mickey and Martin lead the returnees, and LSU also adds a solid group of newcomers led by juco point guard Josh Gray and UNC Asheville transfer Keith Hornsby. From a talent standpoint, the belief is that the pieces are there to earn the program’s first NCAA tournament appearance since 2009. In order to make good on that potential, however, LSU is going to be the team that beat Kentucky without reverting to the team that went 2-7 on the road in SEC play this season.

RELATED: Rating the performance of every college player at adidas Nations

“We have to be more consistent,” Mickey told NBCSports.com at the adidas Nations camp. “We beat some big-name teams but we weren’t able to string together wins like we needed to. We definitely need to work on being more consistent, and on our team defense.”

To Mickey’s point, there were multiple occasions in which LSU found a way to generate positive momentum, only to allow it to slip away with a lackluster performance. After losing two of their first three games to start SEC play the Tigers won back-to-back games, only to drop a two-point decision at Alabama on January 25. LSU managed to pick up wins over Kentucky and Arkansas in the games that followed, only to be soundly defeated at Georgia on February 6. And the Tigers struggled on the road, with their only wins coming against South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

Obviously, that has to change if the Tigers are to take a step forward in 2014-15, and the hope is that their new point guard can help lead the charge.

Given his ability to score from the point guard position, Gray gives LSU an added dimension at the position. While Hickey did dish out 3.7 assists per game and did a good job of taking care of the basketball — his assist-to-turnover ratio ranked second in the SEC — he shot just 36.9 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc.

Last season at Odessa, Gray accounted for 33.8 points and 5.9 assists per contest and, given the front court talent this group boasts, could potentially give LSU a boost it lacked a season ago. But he arrives on campus thinking not of how his ability to score can help the Tigers, but of the importance of establishing himself as a capable leader of the team. One of LSU’s biggest issues was that it had too many shot-happy guards on a team that should have been pounding the ball inside.

MORE: Superlatives for the best college players at adidas Nations

In order to best position himself, Gray’s worked hard not only on his individual game but also on establishing a rapport with his teammates and coaches during summer workouts.

“I’ve worked hard to make sure I’m ready to contribute and have an impact,” Gray told NBCSports.com. “I’m just going to be very coachable, do what my coach asks of me and we’ll go from there.”

From an efficiency standpoint, LSU finished in the middle of the SEC, ranking eighth in the conference in offensive efficiency, and the Tigers were even worse when it came to getting to the foul line. LSU scored just 18.6 percent of its points from the foul line in 2013-14, a number that ranked last in the SEC and is evidence of its struggles getting the ball to its bigs. O’Bryant was the Tigers’ most effective player when it came to getting to the foul line, and making strides in this area would give LSU more opportunities to put points on the board.

That’s just one area in which the Tigers, especially the members of the front court rotation, will need to account for the departure of their leading scorer. And according to Mickey, the act of “replacing” O’Bryant won’t fall on the shoulders of one player alone.

“We just have to make up for it as a team,” Mickey said. “We have to trust our offense, trust our coaches and not be selfish players.”

Mickey will be a key player for LSU as it looks to return to the NCAA tournament. He comes off of a season in which he established himself as one of the best freshmen in the SEC. Mickey started all 34 games for the Tigers in his first season, averaging 12.8 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per contest and ranking sixth in the SEC in field goal percentage (53.4 percent). Mickey’s worked hard to become a more consistent mid-range shooter, and for his new point guard, the experience of playing together at adidas Nations served as an eye-opener with regards to the amount of talent Mickey possesses.

“Coming out here and playing on the same team, that’s helped a lot,” Gray said at the time. “Now I know what he likes, what he doesn’t like and what positions he’s [at his best]. He cleans up the boards, he runs the floor, gets second-chance [opportunities] and blocks shots.”

This season, LSU won’t lack for talent in a conference that will once again be led by a loaded Kentucky squad and reigning league champ Florida. And once again, the question for the rest of the conference is who can step forward to challenge those two perennial juggernauts. The Tigers fashion themselves as a team capable of doing so, with their returnees and new faces like Gray and Hornsby, who has the potential to give this group the perimeter shooter needed to complement their front court options.

Yet in order to do so LSU will need to play with greater consistency than they did in 2013-14. With last year’s freshmen now sophomores, the hope is that last season’s experiences have helped those players grow. And with there being just one senior on this year’s roster, a good 2014-15 could very well serve as a springboard into the future for Johnny Jones’ Tigers.

Class of 2016 star Thon Maker catches alley-oop over defender (VIDEO)

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Thon Maker might be the best prospect in the Class of 2016. He’s currently out in Long Beach, California, where he is competing at the adidas Nations event along with a number of the top high school and college prospects from around the world.

Maker, a 7-foot-1 center from Australia by way of Sudan, dunked all over a player to remain nameless on Friday night, the first night of the event.

Norman Powell sees defense, rebounding as keys for UCLA

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LONG BEACH, California — Tuesday night a water main break sent some eight billion gallons of water onto the UCLA campus, with multiple athletic facilities receiving most of the damage. One such facility was Pauley Pavilion, which is home to five of UCLA’s athletic teams and underwent a $136 million renovation that was completed in 2012. With the court and the locker rooms being flooded, head coach Steve Alford’s program will need to make adjustments as the school makes the repairs needed to have Pauley Pavilion ready in time for the start of basketball season.

As a result, the opportunity for five Bruins to participate in the adidas Nations camp this weekend comes at a good time (the flooding of the facilities was not good, obviously).

One of the five UCLA players in attendance is senior guard Norman Powell, who as a junior put together the best season of his career. Always a solid defender and athlete, Powell made major strides offensively for a team that won the Pac-12 tournament title and reached the Sweet 16. Powell scored 11.4 points per game in 2013-14, increasing his scoring output by more than five points per game from 2012-13 (6.1 ppg).

“[This camp] is definitely a positive,”Powell told NBCSports.com. “We’ve got a lot of guys here, five of us in total, so we’re going to get a lot of experience. We’re playing on the same team so we’re able to build that chemistry early, which is what we want to do. We’re just excited to be around a lot of talented guys and also have the chance to be looked at for the next level [by NBA scouts].”

Joining Powell at the camp are junior forward Tony Parker, sophomore guard Bryce Alford and freshmen Jonah Bolden and Kevon Looney (he did not participate in the morning session). And with the Bruins having to account for the loss of four of their top six scorers from last season, most notably Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson, they’ll all be important figures for UCLA in 2014-15.

Offensively the Bruins were a very gifted group last season, and in speaking with Powell he expects that to once again be the case with sophomore Isaac Hamilton in line to provide added scoring punch after having to sit out all of last season and graduate transfer Jon Octeus (from Colorado State) joining the program. However if there are two areas in which UCLA will need to improve if they’re to once again contend for a Pac-12 title, those areas are defending and rebounding.

Last season UCLA ranked sixth in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage defense and seventh in three-point percentage defense, and from a rebounding standpoint opponents managed to grab 28.6% of their missed shot attempts (sixth in the Pac-12). Despite being a middle of the pack team in those areas a season ago UCLA was able to win 28 games in Alford’s first season. If they’re to have a shot at meeting (or even exceeding) those marks in 2014-15, leaders such as Powell will need to spark an improvement when it comes to getting stops and completing them with a rebound.

Do that and the Bruins will have ample opportunities to get out in the open court, which will in turn ensure that they remain among the contenders in the Pac-12.

“We’d get stops but we didn’t finish them with a rebound, [which would allow us] to push the ball offensively,” Powell noted. “That’s what we’re going to need to work on in the offseason, getting everybody to know what Coach [Alford] wants us to do, being [in the proper spots] help-side, being able to crack down and help the bigs when they need to rotate and just rebounding well.

“There were a lot of games where we lost [due to] defensive rebounding, so we just need to pick that up. We can score with anybody in the country. We proved that last year, and we still have guys who can score this year, so we’re just really looking forward to improving those aspects of our game.”

High school, college counselor rosters for adidas Nations released

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Friday morning the rosters for the fifth annual adidas Nations in Los Angeles were released, with many of the nation’s top high school and college players scheduled to be in attendance. The format for adidas Nations is slightly different than other elite skills camps, with teams representing Africa, Asia, Canada and Latin America participating alongside American high school players in the 2015 and 2016 classes (there are 2017 and 2018 selections as well).

Along with the coaches who preside over the event are college counselors, with Kansas’ Perry Ellis, Louisville’s Montrezl Harrell and Michigan’s Derrick Walton Jr. among the players who will help tutor the younger players while also getting in a few games themselves.

Below are the rosters for each of the high school teams and the full list of college counselors.

adidas Nations Counselors
G Bryce Alford (UCLA)
F/C Beejay Anya (NC State)
G/F Jabari Bird (California)
F Jonah Bolden (UCLA)
F Perry Ellis (Kansas)
G AJ English (Iona)
F Shaq Goodwin (Memphis)
G Josh Gray (LSU)
F Montrezl Harrell (Louisville)
G/F Zak Irvin (Michigan)
F Stanley Johnson (Arizona)
G Chris Jones (Louisville)
F Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin)
F Shawn Long (Louisiana)
F Kevon Looney (UCLA)
G EC Matthews (Rhode Island)
G Jordan Mathews (California)
F Austin Nichols (Memphis)
F/C Landry Nnoko (Clemson)
F Kelly Oubre (Kansas)
C Tony Parker (UCLA)
F Terran Petteway (Nebraska)
G Norman Powell (UCLA)
G Terry Rozier (Louisville)
G/F Shavon Shields (Nebraska)
C Kaleb Tarczewski (Arizona)
F/C Brad Waldow (Saint Mary’s)
G Derrick Walton (Michigan)

adidas Africa

# Player Height Country
100 Yuat Alok PF 6’10” Kenya
32 Alpha Cisse PG 5’11” Mali
128 Cheickna Dembele C 6’9” Mali
166 Ibrahima Diagne SF 6’7” Senegal
108 Mamadi Diakite PF 6’10” Guinea
36 Richardson Maitre PG 6’2” Haiti
129 Abdoulaye Ndoye PF 6’10” Senegal
34 Dennis Ona Embo PG 5’7” RD Congo
92 Renathan Ona Embo PG 6’4” RD Congo
130 Kassoum Yakwe SG 6’7” Mali

Coaches: Babacar Sy, Marvin Adams, Abdoulaye Ndir, Christian Belise

adidas Asia Pacific

# Player Height Hometown
51 Deng Adel SF 6’7″ Melbourne, Australia
122 Callum Barker SF 6’8″ Hobart, Tasmania
3 Tad Dulfelmeier PG 6’1″ Canberra, ACT
123 Matthew Freeman PF 6’9″ Aukland, New Zealand
86 Tom Fullarton SG 6’6″ Queensland
25 Gabe Hadely SG 6’3″ Launceston, Tasmania
27 Nikau McCullough SG 6’3″ Hamilton, New Zealand
98 William McDowell-White PG 6’4″ Queennsland
96 Keanu Pinder SF 6’8″ Perth, Australia
94 Deng Riak C 6’10” Melbourne, Australia
39 Jackson Stent SF 6’7″ Aukland, New Zealand

Coaches: Randy Livingston, Warren Rosen, Travis Russel, Kenny McFadden

adidas Canada

# Player Height Hometown
76 Joseph Abi-Zakhour Chartouny G 6’4″ St Hubert, Quebec
131 Kyle Alexander F 6’10” Malton, Ontario
85 Dillon Brooks F 6’6″ Missisauga, Ontario
40 Christian David F 6’6″ Toronto, Ontario
166 Jonah Fogg F 6’11” Sault. Ste. Marie, Ontario
8 Jordan James Aquino-Serjue G 6’0″ Montreal, Quebec
9 Sydney Jared Westerman Wilson Davis G 6’3″ Missisauga, Ontario
72 Corey Johnson G 6’6″ Ottawa, Ontario
29 Munis Mahmoud Tutu G 6’0″ Windsor, Ontario
28 Kentebe Oluwafisayomi Farquhar G 6’2″ Pierrefonds, Quebec
41 Jalen Poyser G 6’4″ Malton, Ontario
84 Simi Shittu F 6’7″ Burlington Ontario

Coaches: Joey McKitterick, Nathifa Weekes, Nicky Davis, Nelson Ossee

adidas Europe

# Player Height Hometown
69 Nicolas Bermudez G 6’5″ Madrid, Spain
165 El Hadji Dieng C/F 6’10” Mbur, Senegal
142 Tage Dimbele F 6’8″ Aarhus, Denmark
48 Xabier Gomez G 6’3″ Barcelona, Spain
49 Enrique Jaen G 6’3″ Gran Canaria, Spain
167 Norbert Janicek C 6’10” Bratislava, Slovakia
164 Konsantin Kulikov C 7’0″ Moscow, Russia
77 Pablo Martin G 5’11” Madrid, Spain
104 Serguy Prymiak F 6’8″ Donesk, Ukraine
140 Bourama Sidibe F 6’10” Bomako, Mali
139 Issa Thiam F 6’8″ Dakar, Senegal
103 Mouhamed Thiam F 6’8″ Dakar, Senegal

Coaches: Rob Orellana, Jose Carrion, Santi Lopez

adidas Latin America

# Player Height Country
42 Wesley Alves da Silva SG 6’5” Brazil
168 Adriano Alves Junior PF 6’10” Brazil
47 Oscar Cabrera SF 6’5” Rep.Dominicana
43 Adrew Fleming SF 6’5” USA/Chile
7 Johanns Miranda Walker PG 6’1” Puerto Rico
101 Yesid Mosquera Perea SF 6’7” Colombia
35 Quinn Peters SG 6’4” USA/Brazil
67 Alex Robinson Doria SF 6’8” Brazil
5 Kevin Rodriguez PG 6’1” Puerto Rico
102 Juan Sebastian Morales SF 6’7” Colombia
107 Lucas  Siewert PF 6’8” Brazil
133 Lucas Teodoro de Souza Colimerio PF 6’8” Brazil

Coaches: Walter Roese, Mauricio Alsina, Leonardo Roesler, Thiago Froes

2015 adidas U.S. Howard

# Player Height State
18 Jalen Adams G 6’2” MA
87 Bennie Boatwright 6’9” PF CA
10 Jaylen Brown G/F 6’7” GA
89 Shawntrez Davis 6’8” PF GA
136 Moustapha Diagne 6’8” C NJ
78 Chase Jeter 6’11” F/C NV
14 Derrick Jones SF 6’6” PA
93 Keelon Lawson SF 6’6” FL
64 Justin Simon PG 6’5” CA
65 Cameron Walker G/F 6’7” CA

Coaches: Jerry Stackhouse, Tommy Herrion

2015 adidas U.S. Rose

# Player Height State
6 Dwayne Bacon SF 6’6” FL
54 Carlton Bragg F 6’9” OH
13 Tyler Dorsey SG 6’4” CA
15 Brandon Ingram SG/SF 6’8” NC
91 Charles Matthews SG 6’5” IL
90 Jordan Murphy SF 6’7” TX
141 John Reyes PF/C 6’10” GA
143 Josh Sharma PF/C 7’0” MA
105 Elijah Thomas C 6’9” TX
37 Damon Wilson PG 6’5” GA

Coaches: Phil Matthews, Aubrey McCreary

2016 adidas U.S. Lillard

# Player Height State
23 Lonzo Ball PG 6’5” CA
50 Braxton Blackwell G/F 6’7” TN
118 Tony Bradley Jr. PF/C 6’10” FL
132 DeRon Davis F/C 6’9” CO
17 DeAaron Fox PG 6’3” TX
24 Eron Gordon G 6’3” IN
70 Mario Kegler G/F 6’8” MS
135 Thon Maker PF 7’ VA
56 EJ Montgomery F 6’10” FL
19 Dennis Smith PG 6’2” NC

Coaches: Ross Burns, Scott Garson

2016 adidas U.S. Wall

# Player Height State
119 Abdul Ado C 6’9” TN
26 Rawle Alkins G 6’4” NY
21 Kyle Guy PG/G 6’3” IN
97 Dewon Huell PF 6’10” FL
53 Dedric Lawson PF 6’8” TN
52 TJ Leaf F 6’10” CA
124 Billy Preston PF 6’9” CA
20 Payton Pritchard PG 6’1” OR
74 Maverick Rowan G 6’7” PA
2 Kobi Simmons PG 6’5” GA
55 Romello White PF 6’8” GA

Coaches: Don MacLean, Joe Wootten