Hoop Summit: USA Team Storylines

TIGARD, Ore. -- The Nike Hoop Summit is a terrific setting to evaluate and learn more about some of the nation's best prospect. After a couple of practices and USA's scrimmage against college player, Isaiah Briscoe was among the biggest storylines.

Briscoe at the point

I must admit, I’ve never really seen it with Isaiah Briscoe as a point guard. I’ve firmly been in the camp that liked him more as a true combination guard or shooting guard. But then I saw him play Thursday night in a scrimmage at the Nike Hoop Summit. Briscoe’s play at the point guard position was inspiring. He flashed terrific vision, ran his team well and consistently whipped pin-point passes to his teammates. Briscoe showed a feel position that I haven’t seen in the past. He used change of pace and a tricky handle to get by the first line of defense and once in the paint he looked to dish, rather than score. Most of the time when I’ve seen Briscoe he’s been required to score for his team to have success. That isn’t the case and being surrounded by elite players, appears to bring out the best in the 6-foot-3 guard.

Kennard has strong showing

Structure is an amazing thing for high school basketball players. The Nike Hoop Summit setting provides that, plus quality coaching, and in turn the nation’s elite prospects play and look better. Luke Kennard has been a benefactor of this atmosphere and in turn has performed better here than the McDonald’s All-American festivities last week. In the competitive scrimmage on Thursday, Kennard made multiple catch and shoot three-pointers, but also showed his ability to make shots on the move and handle the ball some. Kennard, a 6-foot-5 guard headed to Duke, has a high skill level and is a talented passer that sees the floor well. Kennard was also more active on the glass than I’ve seen from him in the past. With a mass exodus expected at Duke, Kennard will be relied on to play significant minutes next season and he’s certainly capable of doing that.

Rabb is close

Most expected Ivan Rabb to announce his college choice a week ago. He opted to hold off, but told Scout on Thursday that he’s gearing up to get it over with. “I still don’t have a plan on announcing, but we are talking about it. It’s starting to get really serious, although I guess it’s been really serious. It’s starting to seem like it’s dragging on. When it’s over with it’ll be a weight off my shoulders.” Rabb is basically down to Arizona and California. He’s officially visited both. But Rabb has stated all along that he has the best relationship with Cuonzo Martin. Rabb didn’t give an announcement date, but it could literally be any day.

Ingram’s development

Brandon Ingram, a senior out of Kinston (N.C.) High, may have been a late addition to the Nike Hoop Summit, but he’s among the top prospects in attendance. And he showed flashes of it during the scrimmage on Thursday night. Going up against college players, Ingram flashed his jump shot and terrific touch. He didn’t connect on his three attempts, but that’s an area of his game that has gotten really good. At 6-foot-9 and blessed with wide shoulders and a lengthy set of arms, Ingram is oozing with upside. He’s competing, is a solid all around athlete and is playing with confidence. Ingram is one of the players in the 2015 class that is on the upswing as his high school career is coming to a close.

Newman shows burst

One of the top scorers in the 2015 class – Malik Newman – showed his scoring burst during the competitive scrimmage. In the third quarter, Newman broke out nailing four jumpers. He hit a pair of mid-range pull-ups, another shot on the move and then a catch and shoot three-pointer. The 6-foot-3 scoring guard is able to score in bursts and he showed that in front of a gym full of NBA scouts. Newman does a terrific job of creating separation and is arguably the best at it in the 2015 class. He’s a good ball handler, that changes his speeds well. If the USA Team is going to knock off the World Team, Newman is going to need to have his jumper working, like he did on Thursday.

The Nike Hoop Summit game tips at 3:00 ET at the Moda Center in Portland, Ore.

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