Now in its 14th year, the Jordan Brand Classic will return to Brooklyn, N.Y., in April 2015 with games showcasing the top boys, girls and international basketball players. For the third consecutive year, the Barclays Center will host the top boys in the nation on Friday, April 17, as part of a quadruple-header event. These future stars follow in the footsteps of some of the greatest in the game, including Jordan Brand athletes Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and Jabari Parker. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. EST.
You might remember that way back in 2010, Basketball Elite interviewed Isaiah Austin, long before he made his way up the rankings and into the Jordan Brand Classic, where we caught up with him again and got his thoughts on Baylor, the current Bear team and even Britney Griner.
Nerlens Noel made a splash when he reclassified back to the 2012 class late in the recruiting process, and sent multiple schools scrambling for his services. A mobile big man with a solid shot blocking ability, Noel will try and help Kentucky replace the departing Anthony Davis.
The regional game features the best players in the state of North Carolina. The game was played before the All-American game. Many of these players have committed to ACC programs including Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, and Florida State. Here are some reports on some of the games top players who have committed to ACC schools.
East Team- Montrezl Harrell
West Team- Montay Brandon
Blue team won 84-82
Blue Team (East Team)
Montrezl Harrell (Hargrave Military Academy, 6’7”, PF)
11-14 FG, 12 rebounds, 7 blocks, 22 TP
Montrezl was all over the place this game- very active. Athletic- plays the game above the rim. Had several highlight dunks and alley oops. Runs the floor and finishes on the break. Has great size-solid frame. Aggressive rebounder- rebounds the ball hard. Attacks the offensive boards hard- is constantly searching and hunting for offensive tip ins off misses. Good shot blocker- the shots he didn’t block he altered. Hustles and really plays hard on both ends. Plays bigger then 6’7”- plays more like 6’10”. Had the go-ahead dunk after collecting an offensive rebound putting his east squad up 1 with 15 seconds left. Also had a game saving block with 3 seconds left. Really competed this game- solid performance. Solid pick up for Virginia Tech.
Codi Miller-McIntyre (Hargrave Military Academy, 6’2”, G)
3-13 FG, 4 reb, 3 assist, 6 TP
Unbelievable court vision- sees the floor and has the ability to thread the needle with passes. Has the ball on a string. Showed the ability to score as well as get others involved. High basketball IQ- patient doesn’t force anything- very efficient- takes what the defense gives him. Will be a major held immediately at Wake Forest next year at the guard position.
White Team (West)
Montay Brandon (Wesleyan Academy, 6’5”, G)
4-10 FG, 4 assist, 12 reb, 12 TP
Stays vertical when dribbling. Good frame and build for a guard- has a strength edge over opponents. Versatile. Has ability to create own shot. Has a good upside. Size will be an advantage at the guard position. Length and wingspan makes him a solid defensive threat- will alter and contests opposing smaller guards. The highly coveted and talented 4 star recruit that will be playing for Florida State next year. His scoring will be needed after State graduated 6 players.
The Jordan Brand gives 16 young players from all over the world a chance to showcase their talents in front of coaches, scouts, and media on a big stage. These players were hand selected and are the international stars of tomorrow.
The players below stood out amongst the rest. Here are scouting reports on each.
White Team wins in OT
Blue Team (Away)
Kevin Zabo (Canada, PG, 6’2”, Montrose Christian)
4-17 FG, 3 reb, 2 assist, 4 stl, 3 TO, 12 TP
Displayed excellent on-ball defense throughout the game-pressured his man from baseline to baseline and was in the opponent’s shirt. At his best in transition- quick with the ball in the open court. Displayed a nice step-back jumper in the games opening minutes. Solid ball handler with either hand- can break man down off dribble to get to the rim and create his own shot. Needs to improve his court vision- more of a scorer and combo guard then true PG at least that is what he displayed in this game. Gets out of control and is somewhat TO prone. Definitely a guard to keep your eye on especially since he plays HS ball in the states.
Good passer for size- highly skilled big man. Sets solid picks- where he can role or pop and hit the open jumper out to 15’. Has a good overall understanding of the game- spaces the court. Excellent rebounder especially on the defensive end. Solid back to the basket game-loves the up and under move. Lefty. Talked on defense- did a good job defending the P/R- communicated on how to defend it. Draws fouls at a good rate and generally converts at the FT line. Needs to get stronger to prepare for the rigors and physicality of the college game and must continue to improve jump shot and range.
Boubacar Moungoro (Mali, SF, 6’6”, West Oaks Academy)
7-21 FG, 9 reb, 8 TO, 16 TP
Very athletic. Active on the boards on both ends- boxes out.. Runs the floor and finishes on the break. Out of all the players represented- he is above and beyond the most physically ready of the bunch for college- has a great frame- long and strong at 200lbs. Highlight reel player- had several big blocks and dunks. Must improve shooting, range, and consistency- more of a slasher at this point. Settled several times for perimeter contested shots. Decent ball handling abilities- although it is a little loose. Good overall defender who can defend on the perimeter and on the block- drew a charge in the second quarter as well as blocked and altered shots. You will be hearing his name again in the near future. This years version of Andrew Wiggins.
White Team (Home)
Dimitrios Stamatis (Greece, SG, 6’0”, Everial)
5-12 FG, 4 reb, 3 assists, 12 TP
Good court vision. Good ball handler under pressure. Sees the floor- had several highlight passes including a behind the back pass to an open shooter on the break. Has a tight dribble. Unselfish and gets others involved. Attacks the rim strong going left. Has a quick crossover going either way. Pressures the ball- good on ball defender. Attacks the rim with a purpose- high basketball IQ. Didn’t look for his shot as much as he should have- needs to be more assertive offensively.
Mario Hezonja is a 6’6″ player from Croatia who showed in last week’s Jordan Brand Classic that he is an incredibly versatile player. Playing in the international game, Hezonja showed that he won’t be pigeonholed into one position. While his most natural position appears to be on the wing, he can bring the ball up at times, passes well and can shoot the ball from NBA range. We caught up with Mario after the game to get an update on his game and where he might be headed in the future.
The following players were some of the top performers in the JBC International game, in my opinion. Remember these names and keep an eye on their development, for they are the international stars of tomorrow. Some of these players could very well be playing college ball and may be in the NBA in a few years, as they are still very young, most being only 16.
Solid player who does many things well. Versatile- showed the ability to play the PG and run the offense. Good size- is listed as a SF/PF- but will be a 2G as he gets to higher levels. Very good shooter with NBA 3 pt range. Many of shots never hit the rim. Good rebounder and passer. Played practically the entire game and his team relied on him to do it all. Guarded the home team’s best player in PG David Taylor and did a solid job on him. Showed some surprising athleticism with a big 2 handed baseline dunk with the foul overtop of a defender with 3 minutes left in the last period. Needs to continue to work on aggressiveness and ball handling.
White (Home Team)
Andrew Wiggins (SF, 6’7”, Vaughan Secondary, Canada)
Solid and smart passer who keeps his head up and sees the floor. David does a great job as a PG of turning the corner off the pick and is able to get to the middle, where he can shoot the pull up or kick to the open player on the perimeter. Good floor general. Handles the ball well- equally effective with either hand. Good defensive player who moves well laterally and has quick hands- stays low. Did not shoot any shots outside of about 18 feet in 33 minutes- needs to continue to improve his shooting range.