Some of the best players in the world under the age of 19 will be on display today in the Nike Hoops Summit Showcase in Portland, Oregon. I'm a big fan of this game, it's a great showcase where fans of the sport can get a glimpse at some of the top up and coming talent in the world. Last year's game featured prospects that some of us on OPP have been discussing for months now (Wiggins, Parker, Exum, Randle, Embiid, Vonleh, Gordon, Harrison twins).
I realize the readers of this site have been overwhelmingly looking forward to this year's draft. However, Orlando will more than likely have a choice in next year's lottery as well. Today may be a great opportunity for some of us to get a first glimpse at some of the players who will find their names atop the 2015 NBA Draft discussion.
Here is a list of some of the players I've either read about, or had a chance to see in the McDonald's All-American game a couple weeks ago:
Jahlil Okafor 6-11 C Committed to Duke
I'm assuming Okafor will instantly bring to the Blue Devils something they desperately needed this past year - size and an inside presence. I have seen various draft sites compare Okafor's game to Dwight Howard. Okafor, being from Chicago and sharing a friendship with Jabari Parker, might represent one of the reasons why Jabari is thinking about coming back for his Sophomore year.
Cliff Alexander 6-9 PF Committed to Kansas
I will be anxious to see Alexander match-up against Clint Capela in this game. Alexander was banged up a bit in the McDonald's game, I hear he was suffering from a wrist injury. Alexander is projected to be a top-5 pick in 2015.
Myles Turner 6-11 C Uncommitted
I was impressed with Turner when I watched the McDonald's All-American game. Turner is a projected lottery pick next season, and what's intriguing about Myles is that he still hasn't committed to a school next season. Stay tuned.
Emmanuel Mudiay 6-5 PG/SG Committed to SMU
Great size for a guard, a very strong player. This was a wonderful signing for Larry Brown and SMU. I will be watching Mudiay closely and assessing his lead guard skills. In these exhibition games, sometimes it's hard to judge half-court sets, because the flow of the game is so "up and down" the court.
Clint Capela 6-10 PF Switzerland
Capela is the player I will be watching the closest. Capela will be a selection in this year's draft (2014), his name is rising quickly on team's big boards around the league. His Hoops Summit measurements were very similar to measurements of Anthony Davis, Capela's athletic abilities are off the charts. Length and upside are terms that are thrown around often on draft night, and Capela has tons of both. I think Capela is in the discussion for Orlando's WoNK pick.
The game is on ESPN2 @ 7:00 PM tonight. If you happen to catch the game live, or if you DVR it - feel free to leave comments regarding any of the players showcased. I will be interested to see what people think....Enjoy!