World Select Team Roster Announced For 2011 Nike Hoop Summit
The World Select Team today was announced for the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit, the premier annual basketball game featuring many of the world's leading basketball players aged 19-years-old or younger, which will take place on Saturday, April 9 (7 p.m. PDT tipoff) at the Rose Garden, in Portland, Oregon.
The game, which sees America's top senior high school players take on a World Select Team consisting of many of the world's top players, has been staged on 13 previous occasions and has given an extraordinary number of talented youngsters the chance to showcase their abilities. More than 100 Nike Hoop Summit alumni have been drafted into the NBA.
Having secured their first victory in 11 years in the series in 2009, in front of a Nike Hoop Summit record crowd of 11,246 and a national television audience, the World Team lost narrowly to the USA 101-97 in 2010.
This year's version promises to be just as memorable as the last two encounters, with the World Select announcing a nine-man roster filled with a great deal of experience in international basketball. Additions are expected to be made to the World roster before the game.
The 2011 World roster for the first time includes a player based in Portland, the venue for the game. Kyle Wiltjer, a 6’9” forward from the Jesuit High School will also represent his home nation Canada at the Nike Hoop Summit.
Along with Wiltjer, the other forward positions are taken by Dario Saric (6’9”, KK Zagreb CC and Croatia) and Davis Bertans (6’7”, Union Olimpija and Latvia).
The team also features four guards – Mateusz Ponitka (6’5”, AZS Politechnika and Poland), Kevin Pangos (6’1”, Dr Denison H.S., Ontario, Canada), Evan Fournier (6’6”, Union Poitiers and France) and Raul Neto (6’2”, Pitagoras/Minas and Brazil).
The global squad is currently rounded off with centers Lucas Nogueira (7’0”, Estudiantes and Brazil) and Przemyslaw Karnowski (7’0”, SMS PZKosz and Poland).
Wiltjer starred at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio, Texas, last year where he helped Canada to a bronze medal and was named to the All-Tournament second team after averaging 19.4 points and 6.0 rebounds a game, while shooting 62.1 percent from the field. His father Greg was a second round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1984, the year in which he also played for Canada in the Los Angeles Olympics, and Greg eventually went on to win a European title with FC Barcelona. Kyle, meanwhile, has recently committed to play college basketball at the University of Kentucky having led his high school to an unprecedented third straight Oregon state high school championship.
Croatia’s Saric has recently been loaned to the KK Dubrava Zagreb club from neighbours KK Zagreb Croatia where he has seen his minutes increase on the way to averaging16.0 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. A regular for the national team at age-group levels, Saric played for the U16 and U18 teams in 2010, being named MVP as Croatia won gold at the European U16 Championship.
Also at the forward position, Bertans was named to the All-Tournament team at the 2010 European U18 Championship as he helped Latvia to a bronze medal with statistics of 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds a game. He has recently signed for the junior team of the storied Union Olimpija club in Slovenia.
At the guard positions, Canadian Pangos has recently committed to Gonzaga University as he concludes his final year at high school in Newmarket, Ontario. A bronze medal winner with Canada at the first ever FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany last year, Pangos became one of the youngest-ever players to appear for the Canadian senior national team in 2009.
From Poland, Mateusz Ponitka plays for the AZS Politechnika team in Warsaw, Poland, in the top division of Polish basketball. He was also named to the All-Tournament team at the FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany in 2010 after helping Poland to a silver medal while averaging 19.0 points a game. He also stood out for his national team last summer at the European U18 Championship in Vilnius, Lithuania.
France’s Evan Fournier, meanwhile, played for the French U19 team in 2010, having helped the U18 team to win a silver medal in the European Championship a year earlier, where he was named to the All-Tournament team. Fournier is currently in his first season with Union Poitiers in the French Pro A league where he recently scored a season-high 21 points in a victory over Nancy.
The final guard, Brazil’s Neto, helped his country to the silver medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, where averages of 15.4 points and 6.0 rebounds a game were sufficient to earn him selection to the All-Tournament second team. He was also chosen for the Brazil senior team that played in the World Championship in Turkey, playing in one game against Iran. His club basketball is played with the Pitagoras/Minas Tenis Clube in Brazil’s NBB.
At the center positions, Neto’s countryman Lucas Nogueira – who is also known by his nickname “Bebe” – first came to prominence in last year’s Nike Global Challenge where he averaged 16.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 63.0 percent from the field. Against eventual winners the USA, he had a 22-point, 14-rebound performance. He currently plays in Spain for a feeder club for the Estudiantes team in Madrid.
Karnowski, a Polish national teammate of Ponitka, plays for the SMS PZKosz team in the second division of his homeland. He came to international prominence at the European U16 Championship in 2009 when he was named to the Tournament first team and named best center of the competition. But it was last summer’s FIBA U17 World Championship where Karnowski really made his name, helping Poland win silver with averages of 14.5 points, 11.0 rebounds (second best in tournament), 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocks per game. He was also named to the All-Tournament team and selected as best center of the U17 World Championship.
The World Team at Nike Hoop Summit 2011 will be led by first-year coach Roy Rana, who is a five-year veteran of Canadian national team basketball. Rana led Canada to bronze at the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany in 2010, the latest in a long list of international honors which also includes two bronze medals and one silver with Canada at the Nike Global Challenge from 2006-09. Coach Rana will again be assisted by Serbia's Marin Sedlacek, who is making his 11th Hoop Summit appearance.
The United States holds a 10-3 advantage in the Nike Hoop Summit. Apart from the victory in 2009, the other two World Team victories came in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina, by a 104-96 margin, and in 1998 in San Antonio, Texas, when, famously, Dirk Nowitzki had 33 points and 14 rebounds in a 104-99 victory.
The World Select Team has been assembled by Nike's Consultant of Global Basketball Rich Sheubrooks after consulting with general managers, clubs, federations, scouts and coaches from around the world. The Nike sports marketing team, from around the world, has also given a great deal of input and suggestions on players from their regions.
“The Nike Hoop Summit is a unique event,” said Sheubrooks. “Bringing together players from around the globe to form a team in less than a week, from so many different cultures, languages and continents proves that basketball is a universal language.
“It is so rewarding to see a guy from Canada and another from Croatia both chasing the same dream and that is to be the best basketball player they can be. It truly is one ball, one dream and one world, meeting in Portland.”
To date, an incredible 109 former USA and World Select players have been drafted by NBA teams and, as of December 1, 2010, 58 former USA players and 17 former World team members were active in the NBA.
The list of World alumni currently in the NBA includes Alexis Ajinca and Andrea Bargnani (both Toronto Raptors); Omri Casspi (Sacramento Kings); Dan Gadzuric (New Jersey Nets); Yi Jianlian (Washington Wizards); Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks); Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs); Vladimir Radmanovic (Golden State Warriors); Luis Scola (Houston Rockets); and Darius Songaila (Philadelphia 76ers).
Tickets for the 14th annual Nike Hoop Summit are now on sale, with reserved courtside seats priced $25 and $50 and all other general admission tickets $6 in advance and $10 on game day. Tickets can be purchased through the Rose Quarter Ticket Office, by calling 877-789-ROSE (7673) or by visiting www.rosequarter.com.