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FIBA youth stars set to showcase skills at Nike Hoop Summit
PORTLAND (Nike Hoop Summit) - When international basketball fans tune in to watch the 20th annual Nike Hoop Summit on Friday in Oregon, there will be plenty of familiar faces.
Numerous players that featured at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2016 or at various continental U18 events will compete in the glitzy, glamorous, up-and-down-the-floor, no-holds-barred clash between a USA Junior National Select Team and a World Select Team.
Don't be surprised if a lot of these players compete at this summer's FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Cairo, Egypt.
USA coach Miles Simon will have a roster loaded with superstar-in-the-making talent. Among his standouts will be Collin Sexton, who led the United States in scoring en route to claiming the U17 world title in Zaragoza Spain.
Sexton was named MVP of that event.
Other members of that squad that will play for the USA include Gary Trent Jr., Jaren Jackson Jr, Wendell Carter Jr, Kevin Knox II and Troy Brown. Trent was the MVP at the 2015 FIBA U16 Americas Championship in Argentina.
Carter was the leading rebounder in last year's USA U17 team, while he and Jackson each finished with a team-high 7 blocks in the tournament. Carter made the All-Star Five.
"There are a lot of great players and only one ball," Carter said of the Nike Hoop Summit. "You just have to find something to help your team win. If it's not scoring, maybe it's rebounding, blocking shots, taking chargers, setting good picks. Everyone has to find his one niche in the team."
Brown's team-best 20 steals ranked third overall in Zaragoza.
Knox had already stepped up to the top of the podium as a member of the 2015 USA U16 national team in Argentina. Last year in Zaragoza, he was a real crowd pleaser while averaging 11.2 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. He got the fans on their feet in the USA's Semi-Final triumph over Lithuania.
The rest of the USA roster is made up of Mohamed Bamba, Trevon Duval, Quade Green, Michael Porter Jr, MJ Walker and Jarred Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt, a member of the American team that won the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, attended the 2016 USA U17 World Championship Team training camp but was injured and unable to participate.
Bamba, Porter, Walker and Green won the title with the Americans at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile.
"They're (USA) obviously talented, athletic and will get up and down really fast. It should be fun. I think we can go at them and give them a run for their money."Canada's Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of World Select Team
Though Walker didn't play much in Chile, he said the international basketball experience with the USA was excellent.
"It was intense, and just a different environment," he said. "The seriousness was taken to a different level. Everybody was dedicated and focused on one goal."
The World Select Team is led by veteran Canadian coach Roy Rana and is stocked with talent from his country.
Among the Canadians are Lindell Wigginton, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, R.J. Barrett and Luguentz Dort.
Last year, Gilgeous-Alexander and Wiggington played for the Canada team that finished runners-up to the USA at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Chile, while Barrett was the leading scorer for his country at the U17 Worlds in Spain.
Tadas Sedekerskis, who plays for Baskonia in Spain's La Liga, has played for Lithuania's youth teams the past four years. At the FIBA U18 European Championship 2016 Division A in Turkey, he averaged 14.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game as the Baltic nation finished runners-up to France.
Sedekerskis shone for Lithuania at the FIBA U18 European Championship 2016
Germans in the World Select Team are Kostja Mushidi of Serbian outfit Mega Leks, who played in this season's Basketball Champions League, and Isaiah Hartenstein of Zalgiris Kaunas.
Both players have been raising eyebrows in Europe for several years as members of their country's youth national teams.
Mushidi and Hartenstein were joint-leading scorers for fourth-placed Germany at the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championship in December.
In that same tournament was Borisa Simanic, who was Serbia's third leading scorer. Simanic has also had a lot of high-level experience with Crvena Zvezda in both the Adriatic League and Euroleague.
The World Select Team also has Felipe Dos Anjos of Brazil, Nick Richards of Jamaica and Ikechukwu Obiagu of Nigeria.