I just watched the Nike Hoop Summit game. One could see why Shabazz Muhammad is the best high school player in the country right now. He is not Arron Afflalo. He is Kobe Bryant. He set the scoring record for the Nike Hoop game with 35 points. He is a monster going to the hoop. Kyle Anderson is as good passer as advertised. It was beautiful watching him feed Shabazz and he has a nice stroke. He also rebounded his size and looked good on the boards.
But it was the third possible UCLA recruit who summed up why these guys need to come to UCLA and play for Ben Howland. Tony Parker, said in an in game interview (paraphrasing because I did not record it): "We can score. We just need to work on the Defense. " Truer words were never spoken.
Shabazz got burned by some Canadian and some European young pro players. A couple times on crossovers he was faked out of the building. A big Chinese kid pwned Parker a couple times and all he could do was foul. Anderson was forced to reach and had to sit at one point with three fouls. These guys did not know how to play Defense against skilled players.
Now the US came back by pressing and going small and quick. (Which took Parker out of the game.) Anderson played Power Forward on defense and Point Guard on offense. He led the comeback until he got too tired and briefly hurt. The US used its athletic ability and Anderson and Shabazz really hustle. (Shabazz rarely came out but never looked tired.)
But they could not play defense against a half-court offense against the fundamentally solid World team. Shabazz, Parker, and Anderson need UCLA and Howland to learn Defense.
And UCLA fans, Kyle Anderson was impressive. You can see why he is a winner. He gave up his body for charges. He led the comeback, went to the locker room hurt. And still came back to give USA its only lead of the game. He is going to be special. Gamer.
But Tony Parker could hardly play because team USA, including Shabazz and Anderson, could not play D against the world team. USA's only hope on defense was to press and make the game messy. Straight up the world team killed USA.
Come Shabazz and Parker to Howland and UCLA and learn how to use your great abilities on both sides of the court.