World Select Team Finalized For April 9 Nike Hoop Summit
Portland, Ore. • April 4, 2011
The World Select Team today announced the addition of two players to its roster for the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit, the premier annual basketball game featuring many of the world's leading basketball players aged 19-years-old or younger, which will take place on Saturday, April 9 at 7 p.m. (PDT) at the Rose Garden, in Portland, Oregon.
With Guo Ailun (6’4”, Liaoning Panpan Hunters and China) and Bismack Biyombo (6’9”, Fuenlabrada, Spain and DR Congo) completing the 11-man roster for the World Select Team, the 14th annual Nike Hoop Summit promises to be just as memorable as the last two encounters.
After securing a 97-89 victory in 2009 – the World Team’s first win in the series in 11 years and third overall – the international squad lost narrowly to the USA in 2010, 101-97. The United States holds a 10-3 advantage in the Nike Hoop Summit. Apart from the victory in 2009, the other two World Team victories came in 1996 in Charlotte, N.C., by a 104-96 margin, and in 1998 in San Antonio, Texas, when, famously, Dirk Nowitzki had 33 points and 14 rebounds in a 104-99 victory.
The Nike Hoop Summit, which sees America's top senior high school players take on a World Select Team consisting of many of the world's top players 19-years-old or younger, has given an extraordinary number of talented youngsters the chance to showcase their abilities. More than 100 Hoop Summit alumni have been drafted into the NBA.
Tickets for the Nike Hoop Summit are now on sale, with reserved courtside seats priced $25 and $50 and all other general admission tickets $6 in advance and $10 on game day. Tickets can be purchased through the Rose Quarter Ticket Office, by calling 877-789-ROSE (7673) or by visiting www.rosequarter.com
The World Team for the first time includes a player based in Portland, the venue for the game. Kyle Wiltjer, a 6’9” forward from the Jesuit High School also represents his home nation Canada at Hoop Summit.
Along with Wiltjer, the other World Team forward positions are taken by Dario Saric (6’9”, KK Zagreb CC and Croatia) and Davis Bertans (6’7”, Union Olimpija and Latvia).
The team also features five guards – Guo, Mateusz Ponitka (6’5”, AZS Politechnika and Poland), Kevin Pangos (6’1”, Dr Denison HS, Ontario and Canada), Evan Fournier (6’6”, Union Poitiers and France) and Raul Neto (6’2”, Pitagoras/Minas and Brazil).
The global squad is currently rounded off with centers Biyombo, Lucas Nogueira (7’0”, Estudiantes and Brazil) and Przemyslaw Karnowski (7’0”, SMS PZKosz and Poland).
Guo is already a member of the senior Chinese national team and represented his nation at the 2010 World Championships in Turkey, playing in four games. His elevation to the senior national team capped a memorable year for the guard in which he was leading scorer at the inaugural U17 World Championship in Germany, averaging 22.4 points over eight games, and also ranked third in assists (5.5 apg.). In the same summer, Guo also led China to gold in the U18 Asian Championship in Yemen.
Biyombo, a center from the Democratic Republic of Congo, started his club career in the Yemen before moving to Spain with CB Ilescas Urban in the LEB Silver, the second division of Spanish professional basketball. In January 2011, he signed for Baloncesto Fuenlabrada in Spain’s ACB, the top division of Spanish basketball. He is averaging 6.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 15 minutes per game for his new club.
Wiltjer starred at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio, Texas, last year where he helped Canada to a bronze medal and was named to the All-Tournament second team after averaging 19.4 points and 6.0 rebounds a game while shooting 62.1 percent from the field. His father Greg was a second round draft pick of the Chicago Bulls in 1984, the year in which he also played for Canada in the Los Angeles Olympics. Greg eventually went on to win a European title with FC Barcelona. Kyle, meanwhile, has recently committed to play college basketball at the University of Kentucky having led his high school to an unprecedented third straight Oregon state high school championship.
Croatia’s Saric has recently been loaned to the KK Dubrava Zagreb club from neighbors KK Zagreb Croatia where he has seen his minutes increase on the way to averaging16.0 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. A regular for the national team at age group levels, Saric played for the U16 and U18 teams in 2010, being named as MVP as Croatia won gold at the U16 European Championship.
Also at the forward position, Bertans was named to the All-Tournament team at the 2010 U18 European Championship as he helped Latvia to a bronze medal with statistics of 14.8 points and 7.7 rebounds a game. He has recently signed for the junior team of the storied Union Olimpija club in Slovenia.
At the guard positions, Canadian Pangos has recently committed to Gonzaga University as he concludes his final year at high school in Newmarket, Ontario. A bronze medal winner with Canada at the first ever FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany last year, Pangos became one of the youngest-ever players to appear for the Canadian senior national team in 2009.
From Poland, Mateusz Ponitka plays for the AZS Politechnika team in Warsaw, Poland, in the top division of Polish basketball. He was also named to the All-Tournament team at the FIBA U17 World Championship in Germany in 2010 after helping Poland to a silver medal while averaging 19.0 points a game. He also stood out for his national team last summer at the U18 European Championship in Vilnius, Lithuania.
France’s Evan Fournier, meanwhile, played for the French U19 team in 2010, having helped the U18 team to win a silver medal in the European Championship a year earlier, where he was named to the All-Tournament team. Fournier is currently in his first season with Union Poitiers in the French Pro A league where he recently scored a season-high 21 points in a victory over Nancy.
The final guard, Brazil’s Neto, helped his country to the silver medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in 2010, where averages of 15.4 points and 6.0 rebounds a game were sufficient to earn him selection to the All-Tournament second team. He was also chosen for the Brazil senior team that played in the World Championship in Turkey, playing in one game against Iran. His club basketball is played with the Pitagoras/Minas Tenis Clube in Brazil’s NBB.
At the center positions, Neto’s countryman Lucas Nogueira – who is also known by his nickname “Bebe” – first came to prominence in last year’s Nike Global Challenge where he averaged 16.0 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks while shooting 63 percent from the field. Against eventual winners the USA, he had a 22-point, 14-rebound performance. He currently plays in Spain for a feeder club for the Estudiantes team in Madrid.
Karnowski, a Polish national team mate of Ponitka, plays for the SMS PZKosz team in the second division of his homeland. He came to international prominence at the U16 European Championship in 2009 when he was named to the Tournament first team and named best center of the competition. But it was last summer’s World FIBA U17 World Championship where Karnowski really made his name, helping Poland win silver with averages of 14.5 points, 11.0 rebounds (2nd best in tournament), 2.5 assists and 2.0 blocks per game. He was also named to the All-Tournament team and selected as best center of those World Championship.
The World Team will be led by first-year coach Roy Rana, who is a five-year veteran of Canadian national team basketball. Coach Rana led Canada to bronze at the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championships in Germany in 2010, the latest in a long list of international honours which also includes two bronze medals and one silver with Canada at the Nike Global Challenge from 2006-09. Coach Rana will again be assisted by Serbia's Marin Sedlacek, who is making his 11th Hoop Summit appearance.
The World Select Team has been assembled by Nike's Consultant of Global Basketball Rich Sheubrooks after consulting with general managers, clubs, federations, scouts and coaches from around the world. The Nike sports marketing team, from around the world, has also given a great deal of input and suggestions on players from their regions.
“The Hoop Summit is a unique event,” said Sheubrooks. “Bringing together players from around the globe to form a team in less than a week, from so many different cultures, languages and continents proves that basketball is a universal language.
“It is so rewarding to see a guy from China and another from Croatia both chasing the same dream and that is to be the best basketball player they can be. It truly is one ball, one dream and one world, meeting in Portland.”
To date, an incredible 109 former USA and World Select players have been drafted by NBA teams and, as of December 1, 2010, 58 former USA players and 17 former World team members were active in the NBA.
The list of World alumni currently in the NBA includes Alexis Ajinca and Andrea Bargnani (both Toronto Raptors); Omri Casspi (Sacramento Kings); Dan Gadzuric (New Jersey Nets); Yi Jianlian (Washington Wizards); Dirk Nowitzki (Dallas Mavericks); Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs); Vladimir Radmanovic (Golden State Warriors); Luis Scola (Houston Rockets); and Darius Songaila (Philadelphia 76ers).
For more information, please contact: Ian Whittell (+44 7768 822938, firstname.lastname@example.org), Rich Sheubrooks (+1 704 807 4944 or +1 704 896 0513) or Jenny Maag at USA Basketball (+1 719 590-4800, email@example.com ).