While the United States men’s national team’s scrimmage against Brazil on Saturday is the showcase event in Chicago this week, there’s also the Nike Global Challenge for basketball fans to take in. Featuring some of the top high school-aged players, the Global Challenge is an eight-team event consisting of four American squads and teams representing Brazil, Canada, China and Pan-Africa.
Games began on Wednesday, and Courtside Films put together a highlight reel of some of the opening day’s best plays. Among the players you’ll see in the video above are 2015 small forward Jaylen Brown, 2015 center Daniel Giddens (Ohio State commit; watch his defensive sequence at the 30-second mark) and 2016 shooting guard Malik Monk. Games at the Nike Global Challenge run through Saturday.
Having narrowed his list of choices to six schools in February, 2015 four-star center Daniel Giddens is seen by scouts as a player capable of helping his new team immediately on the defensive end of the floor. Friday afternoon the Marietta, Ga. native announced his decision to attend Ohio State.
Giddens, who was born on Independence Day, picked Ohio State over Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana and Kansas. This is a big development for Thad Matta’s program, which struggled with inconsistency in the post last season. Neither Trey McDonald nor Amir Williams enjoyed the best of seasons in 2013-14, and following the season the program added Temple transfer Anthony Lee in hopes of improving the depth and production of the front court.
All three of those players are seniors in 2014-15, meaning that adding depth (and skill) to the front court rotation was important for the Buckeyes with regards to the 2015 class. Ohio State also added Virginia Tech transfer Trevor Thompson this spring, and he along with Marc Loving, Giddens and 2014 signee David Bell will be asked to lead the way for the Buckeyes in the paint in 2015-16.
Giddens is Ohio State’s fourth verbal commitment in the 2015 class, joining guards A.J. Harris and Austin Grandstaff and small forward Mickey Mitchell.
As one of the top front court prospects in the country, 2015 center Daniel Giddens has been one the receiving end of recruiting pledges from many of the nation’s top programs. However Giddens made the decision to narrow his list down to six schools in February: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Ohio State.
And Sunday afternoon the Marietta (Ga.) Wheeler HS product announced via his Twitter account that he’ll be making his college decision on July 4, which in addition to being Independence Day is also Giddens’ birthday.
This past season Giddens, who plays alongside another highly regarded 2015 prospect in forward Jaylen Brown, helped lead Wheeler to a 28-6 record and a second place finish in the Georgia Class AAAAAA state tournament. Wheeler fell to Tift County in the title game, 63-49.
Giddens, who’s playing with E1T1 Elite this summer on the Nike EYBL circuit (6.6 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.6 bpg in 16 games), was also a member of the United States U-16 national team last summer. That team won the FIBA Americas title, with Giddens posting averages of 6.8 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.
What kind of player will one of the six aforementioned schools be receiving when Giddens announces his decision July 4? Kellon Hassenstab of Hoopniks.com wrote the following about Giddens back in February:
A talented defender at this stage in his development, Giddens is still putting the pieces together on the offensive end. Playing in a strong program at Wheeler, Giddens has made an impact on the glass, as well as in blocking shots. He has all the tools to be an imposing defender and rim protector on the defensive end of the floor. He is most comfortable near the hoop on the offensive end, as is athletic enough to make plays off rebounds and in transition.