The fourth and final day of the adidas Nations Global Experience featured the third place and championship games. The day wrapped a productive four days, as 100+ top high school and college players came together to work on their skills, learn the game from the pros and play against tough competition, and spectators and NBA scouts had the chance to see some of the nationâ€™s best talent go at it in a controlled environment.
Earlier in the day, the college players departed on early flights and were on tot the next,while the high school players participated in led a clinic at the South Side YMCA. In addition to the adidas Nations high school stars were the same NBA players that mentored them that week: Corey Brewer, Jrue Holiday, Toney Douglas, Robin Lopez, Anthony Randolph and Serge Ibaka. Together the pros and preps guided over 200 local kids through drills. To make things better, two adidas Nations athletes, Wayne Blackshear and Ryan Boatright, are also two local standouts. Blackshear attends Morgan Park High School and Boatright attends East Aurora High School. After the event â€” which was free â€” the players went back and prepped for the nightâ€™s finale.
The games were held at the UIC Pavilion instead of Attack Athletics where the first three days of camp took place. In the third place game, Latin America took on Africa, followed by the championship game â€” USA 2011 vs. USA 2012.
A turnover on the first play of the game by Africa led to a fastbreak lay-up by slick point guard Cesar Guerreo, and African coach Detlef Schrempf immediately called timeout just 26 seconds into the game. Guerreo was just beginning the show he would put on for the rest of the night. With the help of Steven Adams who made his presence felt on the boards, including a thunderous tip-dunk on the gameâ€™s second play, Latin America was well on their way, jumping out to an 11-0 start.
Africa would struggle to score for much of the night, facing tough D by Latin America, in addition to poor shooting on their own behalf. They wouldnâ€™t score their first basket until the 4:55 mark, but never got shy about letting it fly. Behind great play from Guerreo and Adams, Latin led 22-11 after one.
Latin America came out hot in the second quarter as well, getting a huge lift from guard Davi Rossetto de Oliveira, who came off the bench with buckets, defense, and energy, pushing the tempo and finishing. Africa would continue to struggle from the field, and Latin America would slowly pull away going up 14 at the half.
5-8 point guard Issa Soumare would lead Africa on a quick start, using a 14-4 to start the half and cut the deficit to seven. Guerreo would get it back going, however, showing his amazing ability to get to the rack and finish, pushing Latin America comfortably back into the driverâ€™s seat for good. Down the stretch, Hanner Perea would finally start showcasing his length and boings, and Latin America would seal the deal. Despite poor shot selection and decisoin-making down the stretch, Latin America would cruise to a 73-59 win.
The championship would serve as a chance for revenge for USA 2011, or give USA 2012 another opportunity to impress and prove themselves even further after beating 2011 102-91 over the weekend. Deuce Bellow would get the USA 2011 rising seniors off on the right foot, with a block that led to a Wayne Blackshear fastbreak lay-up. Both teams struggled early on, but Bellow was active and off to his individual best start, using his athleticism to disrupt things on defense and finish at the other end. For 2012, Jarnelle Stokes played well, showing his incredible strength, and Cameron Ridley had some of his best minutes of the tournament for 2011. At the end of a slow first quarter, 2012 held a 15-13 lead.
2011 would begin the second quarter with a new unit, including guard Quinn Cook, forward LeBryan Nash, and big men Cody Zeller and Marshall Plumlee. Despite missing several open shots, they would ease their way into the lead. Zeller â€” who had a beautiful tip-dunk â€” and Plumlee in particular both made solid contributions on the inside. For 2012, forward Shabazz Muhammad started to do his thing, crashing the boards, finding ways to score and finishing around the basket. By the half, 2011 would push ahead, 35-31.
Muhammad began the second half on a mission opening with five straight points and plenty more thereafter. Off to to slow start, 2011 head coach Eric Musselman was upset with his teamâ€™s poor decision-making and lack of effort getting back on defense. On offense, they became stagnant, dribbling too much and failing to move without the ball. Forward Quincy Miller, who was the star all week, had his worst game of the tournament, failing to score at all in the first half.
With 2011 struggling, 2012 was able to tie things up, and finally, half-way through the thrid quarter, the offense from both teams started to pick up. Point guard Ryan Boatright stayed on the attack to help get things going for 2011, while center DaJuan Coleman led the way for 2012. Coleman showed a variety of skills, blocking a shot, rebounding the ball, running the floor and showing his soft touch. Although he continued to struggle, Miller remained aggressive, and Cook picked up his game in the second half, making plays and knocking down shots. 2011 would give away several points at the charity stripe, but extend their lead to double digits, leading 58-48 at the end if the third.
2011â€²s momentum would carry over into the fourth quarter, and Miller, Cook and forward LeBryan Nash would help to seal the deal. Muhammad was doing work for 2012, but one man canâ€™t beat five. 2011 would win going away, 82-68, avenging Saturdayâ€™s loss.
Overall, Miller and Guerreo were the most impressive players this week. Except for the championship, Miller dominated every game, averaging 18.2 points and 6.2 rebounds. Guerreo put in 18.3 points per game, to go along with 4 assists. Miller showed great scoring and rebounding skills, in addition to his motor, as he was one of the most vocal players of the camp. Guerreo showed tremendous his quickness and flair, using his tight handle to get into the lane at will and make plays.
Fiery European guard Pavlin Ivanvov would lead the tournament in scoring at 18.4 points per contest. Guards Jordan Adams, Ryan Boatright, Wayne Blackshear, Quinn Cook, Kevin Ferrell, Bryan Pamba and Davi Rossetto de Oliveira, forwards LeBryan Nash, Shabazz Muhammad, Amile Jefferson, Hanner Perea and Steven Adams, and centers DaJaun Coleman and Cristiano Silva Felicio all had strong weeks, as well.
Quinn Peterson â€“ www.courtcred.com