Hoop Summit: Players drop, Ayton and Froling show unique skill sets

PORTLAND -- The World Team began prepping for the Nike Hoop Summit game on Monday with a two-hour practice session in front of NBA Scouts. What were the big topics from day one?

Maker, Markkanen out, Azubuike in

Five-star prospects Thon Maker and Lauri Markkanen dropped out of the Nike Hoop Summit game on Sunday.

Maker, who announced he would declare for the NBA Draft, opted not to participate and instead will travel to Myrtle Beach to workout with pre-draft trainer Drew Hanlen. Maker participated in the Hoop Summit last year.

Finnish power forward Lauri Markkanen told Scout he was forced to pull out of the Hoop Summit after being sick for the past five weeks.

Despite rumors that circulated when he withdrew, Markkanen is going to Arizona and doesn’t have intentions of declaring for the NBA Draft, his coach Hanno Mottola told Scout.

With Maker and Markkanen out, the World Team was in need of size. So they’ve invited Kansas-bound center prospect Udoka Azubuike, according to a source. Azubuike is expected to get to Portland on Tuesday.

Ayton has shooting potential

It’s been well documented that DeAndre Ayton is a tremendous long-term prospect, as he oozes with potential because of his size, coordination and all around physical gifts.

Ayton, who stands 7-feet tall, will certainly make his money with his play in and around the paint, but it’s become clear over the past five months that he has significant potential as a shooter. 

Ayton has good form and shot mechanics. If we are being picky his release point is a tad low, which causes for line drives at times, but overall it’s a good-looking stroke.

During one drill on Monday, Ayton ran off seven three-pointers in a row and he shot the ball with confidence. 

Ayton is currently listing Duke, Kansas and Kentucky as the schools he's interested in. 

SMU getting smart, skilled post player

Larry Brown and SMU have quite a trio of post players headed their way.

Australian post player Harry Froling was the first to commit, but he was quickly followed by Ted Kapita and most recently Bruno Fernando. While Kapita and Fernando are physical specimens, Froling is a smart, high IQ guy with skill and he showed that during the first practice at the Nike Hoop Summit on Monday.

At 6-foot-10, Froling has top-notch hands and very good touch around the basket. But he’s also very aware, has good instincts and is a talented passer. Although he didn’t shoot it great on Monday, Froling is also an efficient shooter from mid-range to the three-point line off the catch.

Froling, a four-star prospect, isn’t the most athletic, but he’s efficient and understands the game. He projects as having a very productive college career at SMU.

NBA Scouts expected

Last year just over a 100 NBA scouts showed up to evaluate prospects at the Nike Hoop Summit. 

The 2016 practices and game are expecting even more. Over 140 NBA scouts are credentialed for the event and all 30 teams are expected to show up. 

On Monday there wasn't a large contingent of scouts, but still four NBA General Managers were in attendance. That number should grow as the week progresses. 


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