Commentary

USA South wins Nike Global Challenge

Originally Published: August 9, 2010
By Joel Francisco | ESPN Recruiting

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- When describing the USA South contingent, the adjective that immediately comes to mind is relentless. After a hard-fought overtime win over a talented Brazilian squad, USA South convincingly defeated USA Midwest in the final 123-115. Tournament MVP P.J. Hairston (Greensboro, N.C./Hargrave Military Academy) continued his tremendous run in this tournament with a 41-point outburst on 13-of-28 shooting.

Kentavious Caldwell (Greenville, Ga./Greenville) and Adonis Thomas (Memphis, Tenn./Melrose) supported Hairston's fine performance with 21 points and 20 points, respectively. Bradley Beal (St. Louis/Chaminade) kept USA Midwest close with 40 points of his own.

Standout players

Bradley Beal
2011, SG, 6-4, 190 pounds | Team: USA Midwest
After a poor shooting performance in the semifinals, Beal found his groove in the championship, especially in the second half. He poured in 40 points (on 13-of-23 shooting) and grabbed eight rebounds as he showed why he is one of the elite players in the country. Like all great scorers, when his jump shot was still a bit off early in the game, he went to the rim. As a result, once he got his rhythm back, his jump shot became feathery again. He has great range on his shot and gets tremendous lift. In addition, he used his strong frame to convert a number of 3-point plays in traffic.

[+] EnlargeP.J. Hairston
Kelly KlineP.J. Hairston is the No. 31-ranked player in the 2011 class.

P.J. Hairston
2011, SG, 6-6, 225 pounds | Team: USA South
Hairston didn't have his 3-point touch going in the championship, but the rest of his game was in full force. Despite his thick frame, he is quick for his size and has a slick crossover to separate from his defender. He attacks the rim with power and tenacity and does a great job of finishing with contact. His shot selection is questionable at times, but he plays so hard and affects the game (he's a great shot-blocker in transition) on so many levels.

Kentavious Caldwell
2011, SG, 6-5, 185 pounds | Team: USA South
Caldwell came into the event as one of the elite shooters in the country. His jump shot is quite good, but we came away more impressed with the other areas of his game. He rebounded at a high level in every game and showed a much better effort to get to the rim than he showed at the Northeast Youth Basketball League tournament in Los Angeles, where he settled for too many jump shots. Caldwell has great size for a shooting guard and the athleticism (explosive in transition) to be an all-conference performer when he arrives at Georgia a year from now.

Surprise player

Dai-Jon Parker (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton)
2011, SG, 6-3, 180 pounds | Team: USA South
Parker came off the bench in the first half and led USA South on a tremendous run. He has that highly coveted second gear off the dribble that is very difficult to stop. He also explodes in transition and has the skill level to either drop off a nifty assist or pull up and hit a jump shot. Parker gets great lift on his shot, and his release is smooth. His savviness and game management needs to improve (he plays too fast), but he's an explosive talent.

One to watch

Anthony Bennett (Beckley, W.Va./Mountain State Academy)
2012, PF, 6-7, 225 pounds | Team: Canada
Bennett was a beast all tournament long. Kyle Wiltjer (Portland, Ore./Jesuit) and Khem Birch (Quebec City, Can./Notre Dame Prep) dominated play, but Bennett had his moments as well. Bennett has a chiseled physique with a great combination of power and finesse. He can also step out and nail the 3-point shot or go inside and impose his will. He's explosive around the rim and uses his thick frame and impressive lift to convert in traffic. Bennett is a definite high-major 4-man who will make an immediate impact at the next level.

All-tournament teams

[+] EnlargeKyle Wiltjer
Kelly KlineKyle Wiltjer is ranked No. 32 in the 2011 class.

All-international team
MVP: Khem Birch -- Team Canada
Lucas Riva Nogueira -- Team Brazil
Bobby Parks -- Team Asia
William Howard -- Team France
Benjamin John -- Team France
Kyle Wiltjer -- Team Canada

USA All-Tournament Team
MVP: P.J. Hairston -- Team USA South
James McAdoo -- Team USA East
Nick Johnson -- Team USA West
Bradley Beal -- Team USA Midwest
Adonis Thomas -- Team USA South
Jahii Carson -- Team USA Midwest

Notes

• Adonis Thomas (Memphis, Tenn./Melrose), a 6-6 senior, continued his dominating summer as he turned in three terrific performances at this event. His offensive game needs refining, but he is a menace to stop in transition, and he even knocked in a fair share of 3-pointers.

• Team Canada had quite the one-two punch in Wiltjer and Birch. Wiltjer's game resembles that of a savvy NBA veteran, while Birch is the most explosive prospect in the Class of 2012.

• Canada also has a 2014 prospect with a great upside in 6-5 Andrew Wiggins (Toronto). He has a wiry frame with very long arms, and he's very bouncy. He finishes well with either hand around the rimm and his passing prowess is impressive. If his jump shot comes around, he projects as an elite level wing-type.

• The two most consistent players for USA West were 6-8 Johnny O'Bryant (Cleveland, Miss./East Side) and 6-2 Nick Johnson (Henderson, Nev./Findlay Prep).

O'Bryant outplayed Rakeem Christmas (Bryn Athyn, Pa./New Church Boys Academy) by overpowering him in the paint area. Christmas had some impressive blocks and finishes, but O'Bryant played at a much higher level in terms of effort and production.

• For USA East, James McAdoo (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Christian), Trevor Cooney (Hockessin, Del./Sanford) and 6-5 Nick Faust (Baltimore/City College) put together fine performances. McAdoo runs hard in transition and gets to the rim, but his shot needs refining. Cooney hit a number of 3s and moved very well without the ball, while Faust displayed his all-around game with some exceptional passes and deep 3s.

Joel Francisco is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting.

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