Zagoria: Top 10 Players at the Nike Global Challenge

WASHINGTON — The 2013 Nike Global Challenge didn’t quite match the 2012 version in terms of overall talent.

There was no future No. 1 draft pick like Andrew Wiggins and no flurry of Kentucky commits headed to arguably the greatest recruiting class in history.

“There’s no Wiggins, there’s no Jabari Parker. There’s some nice kids who have a chance to be good college-level players,” one veteran scout in attendance told “That being said, there’s always a couple kids who will come on and surprise you.”

A slew of NBA scouts and big-time college coaches attended the three-day event, including Kentucky’s John Calipari, Louisville’s Rick Pitino, Kansas’ Bill Self, North Carolina’s Roy Williams, Indiana’s Tom Crean, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo and Michigan’s John Beilein.

Here’s a breakdown of the top 10 players at last week’s Nike Global Challenge:

STANLEY JOHNSON, 6-6 SF, Santa Ana (CAL) Mater Dei

Johnson was named Co-MVP of the event after leading the USA West team to the title by posting 25 points, 11 rebounds and five assists in a 98-95 win over USA South this past Saturday. He is considering seven schools – Kentucky, Kansas, Florida, Oregon, Arizona, UCLA and USC – and will take official visits to the first five.

NBA Scout’s Take: “Really showed something bringing the ball up the floor. His perimeter game is improving, which is really going to help him big-time because he’s very good around the basket. With the perimeter game, his upside is much better than the first night I saw him. He’s got a real chance also. He understands how to play. He’s a winner.”

D’ANGELO RUSSELL, 6-4 SG, Montverde (FL) Academy

The Ohio State commit averaged 23 points through his first three games – including a 30-point outburst against Pan Africa and a 28-point flurry against USA Midwest – to help USA South reach the final. The Co-MVP of the event added 10 points and five boards in the title game.

RELATED: Why the 2014 NBA draft will obliterate the 2013 NBA draft

NBA Scout’s Take: “Lefty jump-shooter, instant offense. Can and will get his shot. Big-time scorer. Great performance in the Global Challenge.”

THEO PINSON, 6-6 SF, High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian

Playing alongside two fellow North Carolina commits in Joel Berry and Justin Jackson and Duke pledge Grayson Allen, Pinson attacked the basket relentlessly in helping USA South reach the final. After putting up 19 points and seven rebounds in a win over USA Midwest, he had 12 and six in the final.

NBA Scout’s Take: “Going to the goal, going to the goal, he’s going to take it to the goal. Gets to the free- throw line. Can rebound, very active, very athletic. I understand he’s going to North Carolina. North Carolina’s getting themselves a terrific player.”


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