So far this summer, USA basketball has been synonymous with gold.
Just weeks after the U-18 team took home the gold medal, the U-17 team followed suit this weekend by defeating Australia 92-65 in the gold medal game Sunday night in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Class of 2014 Duke target Jahlil Okafor led the way, garnering MVP honors after averaging 13.6 point and 8.3 rebounds per contest over the United States’ dominating eight0game run.
Fellow Blue Devil prospects Jabari Parker (2013), Tyus Jones (2014) and Justise Winslow (2014) averaged 12.6, 8.5 and 9.9 points, respectively for the U.S.
Parker, however, played very limited minutes for the U.S. due to a foot injury, which has been bothering him for much of the summer. Now, Parker’s status is uncertain for the highly anticipated July evaluation period, according to a tweet from Jeff Goodman of CBS. Parker is the consensus No. 1 recruit in the class of 2013.
Winslow is one player who had a bit of a coming out party the past few weeks. The versatile, 6-foot-6 wing from Houston drew high praise from media and scouts alike. His well-rounded performance and intensity prompted Jonathan Givony of Draft Express to compare him to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in a tweet this weekend.
Back in the states, it was a very busy weekend for Duke coaches, players and recruits in Las Vegas, Nevada last week. Blue Devil head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistants Steve Wojciechowski and Chris Collins began training camp with their U.S. Olympic team. Meanwhile, Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and recently committed Rodney Hood participated in the LeBron James Skills Academy, while Duke recruits Austin Nichols, Marcus Lee, Semi Ojeleye, Allerik Freeman, Theo Pinson, Andrew Wiggins and Duke commit Matt Jones partook in the high school side of the camp.
While in Sin City, Wiggins, the top-ranked player in the class of 2014, gave Cats Illustrated’s Steve Jones his list of top schools, in no specific order—Kentucky, Florida State, Syracuse, North Carolina and Duke.
The national perception is that the Wildcats and Seminoles have separated themselves from the rest of the schools recruiting the ultra-athletic, 6-foot-7 small forward.
Wiggins also did not entirely dismiss the possibility of reclassifying to the class of 2013 either, which has been rumored to be possible for quite some time now.
Wowing NBA scouts, media and LeBron James himself at the event, Wiggins did nothing but help his case for being the best basketball player in high school regardless of class, according to Neate Sager of Yahoo.
And the consensus top-ranked player in the class of 2015, Karl Towns, will not be playing in the Olympics this summer as his Dominican Republic national team, led by Kentucky head coach John Calipari, fell to Nigeria in the qualifying game Sunday night.
Regardless, Towns, who is just 16 years old, will get the unique opportunity to square off against the NBA’s best this week when the Domincan Republic takes on the U.S. in an exhibition game.
Towns is a 6-foot-10 forward with stellar perimeter skills and long-range shooting ability. Although still very early in the recruiting process, the New Jersey native has already received a considerable amount of attention and promises to be atop of virtually every major college basketball program’s wish list in the coming years.
In light of Calipari’s now well-developed relationship with Towns, Kentucky is considered the early front runner in Towns’ recruitment.
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