Team USA roster announced for Nike Hoop Summit

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source: AP
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USA Basketball announced the 11-man roster for the Men’s Junior National Select Team on Monday afternoon. The group will play the World Select Team in the 18th Nike Hoop Summit, which is scheduled for April 11 at the Moda Center in Portland.

The group is comprised entirely of players who won gold medals with USA Basketball with either the U17 or U18 team last summer.

Here’s the roster for Team USA:

Isaiah Briscoe, 6-foot-3, Roselle Catholic High School (Roselle, NJ) — committed to Kentucky
Jaylen Brown, 6-foot-7, Wheeler High School (Marietta, GA) — undecided
Jalen Brunson, 6-foot-1, Adlai E. Stevenson High School (Lincolnshire, IL) — committed to Villanova
Henry Ellenson, 6-foot-10, Rice Lake High School (Rice Lake, WI) — committed to Marquette
Chase Jeter, 6-foot-10, Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, NV) — committed to Duke
Luke Kennard, 6-foot-5, Franklin High School (Franklin, OH) — committed to Duke
Malik Newman, 6-foot-3, Callaway High School (Jackson, MS) — undecided
Ivan Rabb, 6-foot-10, Bishop O’Dowd High School (Oakland, CA) — undecided
Caleb Swanigan, 6-foot-8, Homestead High School (Fort Wayne, IN) — undecided
Allonzo Trier, 6-foot-4, Findlay Prep (Henderson, NV) — committed to Arizona
Stephen Zimmerman, 7-foot, Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas, NV) — undecided

All 11 members of the team also made the 2015 McDonald’s All-American game last week and most of the team has played together before in some capacity with USA Basketball.

Briscoe, Brown, Brunson, Jeter, Kennard, Trier and Zimmerman helped the USA U18 team win a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championships in Colorado Springs with a 5-0 record last summer. Ellenson, Newman, Rabb and Swanigan were members of the USA U17 team that also won gold at the FIBA U17 World Championships in Dubai last August.

The group will face the World Select Team, which will consist of 11 players who are 19 years old or younger from FIBA’s five geographic zones. It’s expected that LSU commit Ben Simmons will be on that team and it will be interesting to see if Kentucky commit Skal Labissiere will be on the roster as well after he was ruled ineligible for the McDonald’s All-American game. The World Select Team will be announced in March, according to the Nike Hoop Summit website.

Making this event is a big deal because it’s another week for national scouts and NBA personnel to view these guys at the end of the high school season. The Nike Hoop Summit has sent 165 players into the NBA Draft during its 17-year history and college basketball currently has 32 players who also played in the game. It also never hurts to represent USA Basketball, and with a team full of gold-medal winners, this 2015 group will understand how much that matters.

Team USA currently holds a 12-5 record in the game’s history and Duke freshman Justise Winslow was the MVP of last year’s game.

Four-star 2019 forward flips commitment from Big Ten to SEC program

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Four-star 2019 forward Tray Jackson flipped his verbal commitment from Minnesota to Missouri on Friday night.

The 6-foot-8 forward announced his decommitment from the Golden Gophers on Twitter and then announced a commitment to Missouri a little more than two hours later. Regarded as the No. 96 overall prospect in the Class of 2019, Jackson reclassified from the Class of 2018 and saw his recruitment blossom in the summer.

While decommitting happens in basketball recruiting semi-frequently, flipping a commitment to a new school within a matter of hours is a very uncommon practice. Typically associated with football recruiting, Jackson’s switch is a big deal for Missouri.

His pledge gives head coach Cuonzo Martin an athletic and versatile frontcourt player with upside as Jackson could play multiple positions. The Tigers missed on E.J. Liddell, but Jackson is a nice prize to land instead. Missouri now has two four-star prospects in the Class of 2019 as Jackson joins four-star guard Mario McKinney.

Minnesota needs to replenish its recruiting efforts as they are now without a commitment in the Class of 2019. With head coach Richard Pitino facing pressure to win this season, this isn’t good for the future of Golden Gopher basketball either.

West Virginia lands five-star 2019 center Oscar Tshiebwe

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West Virginia pulled in a major commitment on Saturday as five-star 2019 center Oscar Tshiebwe pledged to the Mountaineers.

A late-developing, high-motor big man who ascended into a national recruit this summer, the 6-foot-8, 230-pound Tshiebwe represents an important grab for West Virginia. Tshiebwe represents a potential replacement for Sagaba Konate in the middle as the Mountaineers beat some pretty impressive programs to land him. That includes Baylor and Kentucky.

Tshiebwe is quick off the floor and a good athlete, as he could be a very dangerous player in Bob Huggins’ system because of his brand of basketball. Regarded as the No. 21 overall prospect in the Rivals Class of 2019 national rankings, Tshiebwe also took official visits to Baylor, Illinois and Kentucky during the recruiting process.

Tshiebwe joins three-star guard Miles McBride in West Virginia’s 2019 recruiting haul.

VIDEO: Marshall’s Taevion Kinsey easily clears three teammates on ridiculous dunk

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Marshall freshman Taevion Kinsey put down one of the preseason’s best dunks on Friday night. With the Thundering Herd hosting Herd Madness, the 6-foot-5 Kinsey put down a ridiculous dunk that easily cleared three teammates.

Most dunkers use an arm on the shoulder during the dunk. Kinsey didn’t need any sort of help as he glided over his teammates.

Kinsey is going to be a dunker to keep an eye on in the future. His teammates certainly think highly of his dunking ability, as most of them projected Kinsey to win the dunk contest before the event even started.

VIDEO: Zion Williamson impresses Duke fans in Cameron Indoor debut, downplays link to trial

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Duke freshman Zion Williamson made some ridiculous dunks look effortless in his Cameron Indoor Stadium debut on Friday night. As part of Duke’s annual “Countdown to Craziness” event, Williamson took part in a scrimmage against his Blue Devil teammates.

That included Williamson going head-to-head with fellow freshman R.J. Barrett in a scrimmage. And more absurd dunks in the warm up line.

But besides for the on-court action, Williamson was also asked about his family’s link to the college basketball corruption trial. On Tuesday, a transcript of calls was read to the New York courtroom that allegedly included Williamson’s stepfather on FBI tapes asking for money and a job from Kansas men’s basketball coaches. The tapes were not admitted as evidence.

“Honestly, I’ve paid no attention to it,” Williamson said to reporters, including ESPN’s David M. Hale, about the trial. “I’m just a college kid, out here having fun with my classmates, looking forward to stuff like Countdown and our first game. You only get one chance at the college experience, and I want to enjoy it.”

Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski also downplayed Williamson’s link to the trial, pointing to the NCAA eligibility center’s “exhaustive” process to vette incoming recruits.

“They have an eligibility center now that these kids and their parents go through — and they go through everything,” Krzyzewski said. “We feel very comfortable with him and all our freshmen.”

We’ll likely hear more about Williamson, Kansas and this trial, as time goes on. Williamson also might legitimately not know much about this if it was his stepfather on the call. For now, Williamson is making a huge impression with Duke fans every time he steps foot on the floor.

(H/t: Lawrence Davis III and Duke men’s basketball)

Louisville lands commitment from Irish basketball star

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For the sixth time since Chris Mack took over the Louisville program, the new Cardinal head coach has landed a commitment from a member of the Class of 2019.

On Friday, it was Aidon Igiehon, a top 50 recruit, that announced he will be playing his college basketball for the Cardinals.

He followed in the footsteps of fellow four-stars Samuell Williamson, David Johnson, Jaelyn Withers and Josh nickelberry, not to mention three-star forward Quinn Slazinski.

And all this has happened over the course of the last five months.

Mack got the job in April, after he finished his final run with a Xavier program that he had been in charge of for the last nine years. That came just six months after Hall of Fame head coach Rick Pitino was fired for a series of scandals that had enveloped the university in the last few years, not the least of which was their involvement with the FBI investigation into corruption in college basketball.

That may be the most impressive part of all of this.

No one really knows what is going to happen with Louisville and the NCAA as a result of the way that they were able to entice Brian Bowen on campus. What we do know is that while Louisville was on probation due to the fact that a member of their coaching staff was paying for strippers and sex workers for players and recruits, an agreement was made for Adidas to pay the family of Brian Bowen $100,000 to get him to enroll at Louisville. Bowen’s father said under oath that, in addition to that money, he also accepted at least one $1,300 payment from former Louisville assistant Kenny Johnson.

Those are NCAA violations committed while the program was on probation.

And those are the kind of things that the NCAA does not take lightly.

Everyone involved with the reason that Louisville was on probation and that actually committed those violations has moved on, but that hasn’t stopped speculation that the Cardinals could be facing even more punishment from the NCAA, which is what has made this recruiting job by Mack so impressive.

He’s filled up an entire class of prospects before he’s even coached a game for the program all while this nonsense is swirling around his program.

Was there ever any doubt that the Cardinals hired the right guy?