NIKE HOOP SUMMIT: WORLD TEAM MAKES IT BACK-TO-BACK WINS

PORTLAND, ORE., Nike – FRANCE’S Livio Jean-Charles and Dennis Schröder of Germany were among the outstanding performers for the World Select Team that beat the USA 112-98 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit on Saturday.

Returning Canadian Andrew Wiggins and Australia’s Dante Exum also turned in strong contributions as the World Team recorded their biggest ever margin of victory in the Hoop Summit series and won consecutive games for the first time in series history.

It was only the fifth time in 16 Hoop Summit games that the World Team has won but, following victories in 1996, 1998, 2010 and 2012, they have now won three of the last five meetings with the USA.

Jean-Charles (ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne) scored a game-high 27 points and 13 rebounds while Schröder (NY Phantoms Braunschweig) added 18 points and 6 assists.  Wiggins (Huntington Prep, New Jersey) added 17 points and 9 rebounds on his second appearance at Hoop Summit while Exum (Australian Institute of Sport) had 16 points.

Played in front of a nationally televised audience and a crowd of 6,265, the Nike Hoop Summit is the country's premier annual basketball game featuring America's top male high-school-age players taking on a World Select Team comprised of the top international players, 19-years-old or younger.

"That was a really good game from the World Team," said winning coach Roy Rana (Canada), who is now 2-1 as Nike Hoop Summit World Team coach. "Probably the most impressive thing is the way we have shared the ball from the very first practice. I thought there was great chemistry and they were just phenomenal kids to coach.

“Like I told them in the locker room, this is certainly going to be one of the more memorable coaching experiences of my life, just because of the quality of the kids we have had in here this week. I thought that showed out on the floor. They were extremely unselfish and I thought they played a great game.”

The USA scored the game’s first basket but would never lead again as Jean-Charles scored seven points and the World Team raced into a 12-6 lead. 

A three-point play from Karl Towns Jr. (Dominican Republic), with 2:57 to play in the first half, opened a 16-point lead although the USA responded strongly in the third period, pulling to within two points, at 64-62, on an Andrew Harrison basket with 3:32 remaining.

However, the World Team finished the third with a 10-4 run, including four points from Wiggins and three free-throws from Tomas Dimsa (Lithuania) and Jean-Charles opened the final period in electrifying style. The French forward scored six points in an 11-3 run that stretched the World Team lead to 85-69 and the USA would never come closer than nine points again.

Now, the World Team and Coach Rana can look forward to the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit with renewed confidence after a memorable victory.

“It’s great,” said Coach Rana. “We always celebrate so much about the Hoop Summit game but the week of practice we have before is probably even more valuable. Everyone on this team has had an impact at some point in the week. They were phenomenal. Every single guy played well and made a contribution. It was a great team from top to bottom.”


Some comments from the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit players:

Andrew Wiggins (Canada)

“It was a blessing to be here. Coach reinforced rebounding and that’s what I think was the key to our victory. Also, playing hard, and we were unselfish. So we had great players who made different plays deep in the stretch.

“It means a lot to get two wins in a row at Nike Hoop Summit, it’s the first time it’s ever been done. And it means even more because I have a Canadian coach who I have been with throughout four, five years. So it’s a special thing that we can both cherish and a blessed opportunity that we’re here and able to play among the best players in the world.”

Livio Jean-Charles (France)

"We played a good game, we shared the ball and played together. We had a good chemistry on the team and with the coach and that made everything real easy."

On his conversation with Portland Trail Blazer player and Hoop Summit alumnus Nicolas Batum at the end of the game.

“He told me he hoped I didn’t score the last two free-throws because he scored 25 points (in Hoop Summit) and he didn’t want me to break his record. He said that I played well and he said that Tony Parker, who is president of my club, is happy for me.”

On his week in Portland.

“We have a great spirit on the team. I knew a few of the guys from playing against them at European Championships and practice was always very hard, coach pushed us. But I liked the spirit. I hurt my leg and was a bit upset when I had to miss a scrimmage game on Thursday but coach told me it was okay and better to play in two days and he was right.”

Dennis Schröder (Germany)

“I felt during the week, from the first day, that we were a team who would play together. And we did that and played good defence against the USA. I will take home a lot of experiences from the week. Playing with the best 11 players from around the world, playing together, practising hard every day, it was great.”

On his thoughts of an NBA career.

“I will declare for the draft and I am excited. I knew before the game I would declare so I tried my best to help my team to win the game and maybe help myself too.”