How top incoming recruits can improve
Whenever I go to the Nike Hoop Summit, I have mixed emotions. On the one hand, I love international basketball and the way the basketball world has shrunk. On the other hand, it is important to me that American basketball maintains its status as the world's best.
This past weekend I covered the United States junior national select team's loss to the World select team, 112-98 in Portland, Ore. It was the first time in the series that the World has won back-to-back games. And, quite frankly, it was a disappointing loss for the home team.
While the U.S. team didn't have its first true practice until Thursday and the World team assembled Monday, that is not an excuse for the lethargic performance by 10 of our country's best high school players.
The game also was the first time many of the NBA's decision-makers had a chance to watch these guys play in person. For most of them, it was not a résumé-builder.
Here are my impressions of the players in the Nike Summit who will play college basketball and some thoughts for their improvement.
Andrew Wiggins, F, Undecided
The 6-foot-8 Canadian, for the most part, played effortlessly in this game after three straight weeks on the road. He was the best athlete on the floor but played very unselfishly, picking his spots to show off his ability. He is considered the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
While Wiggins is an overwhelmingly right-handed driver, he rarely had an issue in getting to spots on the floor to create his own shot. His great jumping ability allows him to easily shoot over defenders. In addition, he has great head-on-the-rim and second-jump explosiveness around the basket.
While Wiggins will have little trouble scoring at the college level, his lack of a consistent outside shot is something he should look to iron out immediately. He should use the next year and a half to improve it before leaving for the NBA.
Julius Randle, F, Kentucky Wildcats
I have been watching Randle for a very long time and his strengths and weaknesses were both on display in this game. But it's worth noting that Randle has far more strengths than weaknesses and should be a dominant college player under John Calipari at Kentucky.
To read Fran Fraschilla's full take on how several top incoming recruits can improve, you must be an ESPN Insider.