I just got done watching the second half of the Nike Hoop Summit. Somehow the first half did not record due to an NBA game that was going on, but that's just the breaks, I guess. As in the McDonalds All-Star game, I came away amazed at the quartet John Calipari has convinced to matriculate to Kentucky next year.
The first thing I noticed was that this was not your typical all-star game. It was intense and played at a high level, and the number of shot blocks in this contest was dazzling. The athleticism on display was truly impressive on both sides, but for the USA Select team, it was distributed widely, whereas in the case of the World Select Team, it was mostly confined to the absolutely sick athleticism of 6'9" Bismack Biyombo of the Congo, who came
within 1 block of managed a triple-double. Biyombo was in beast-mode the entire basketball game, and was throwing shot attempts back in the face of everybody and dunking savagely in traffic. As Darth Vader once said to Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, "Impressive. Most impressive."
One of the highlights of the second half occurred very late in the contest, when Kentucky-boundmet Biyombo at the rim on a Biyombo dunk attempt. The result was very nearly Davis' third block of the game, but a foul was called and Davis fouled out of the game with a minute or two to go. But Davis had a big game, 16 points on 8-13 shooting, 10 rebounds to go along with 2 blocks. Davis runs the floor like a deer, and many of his points came on fast breaks, including a couple where Davis finished in significant traffic. He played way above the rim the whole game.
Michael Glichrist also had an impressive game with a very efficient 16 points on 6-9 shooting, 5 blocks and 5 rebounds. Both Davis and Gilchrist threw out future teammate Kyle Wiltjer's inside shot attempts as part of their effort. What is so amazing about Gilchrist is that he his the kind of player every Kentucky fan loves. He never gives up on a play, he defends, can hit the jumper and rebounds the basketball with skill and determination. He is also unselfish on offense and plays the kind of game that helps teams win. High basketball IQ? Gilchrist has it in spades.
Marquis Teague was also excellent in this game, penetrating to the rim at will and making several really nice dishes to future Kentucky teammates, one of which was a beautiful behind-the-back pass right on the money to Anthony Davis for a fast-break dunk. Teague didn't shoot the ball well (3-10), but had 3 nice assist and 4 rebounds.
Kyle Wiltjer didn't shoot the ball well (5-15, 2-6) and didn't get a rebound, but he did show off good range on his jump shot, making 2 threes from the FIBA line. However, he was out-athleted inside in this game by a significant amount, and had trouble getting clean looks because of the length and springiness of the USA Select team.
Overall, it was another impressive showing by the UK-bound players against some of the very best players in their age group in the entire world. The announcers repeatedly expressed their amazement at the collection of talent that John Calipari had managed to produce at Kentucky, and wondered aloud (as do we all) who could beat Kentucky if the their three current freshmen return.
I'll be excited to check out the Jordan Brand Classic next Saturday, when we'll get a chance to once again check out our newest Wildcats against other great high school players.