The sixth year of the prestigious high school hoops showcase, the Adidas Nations tournament, made its way to Southern California again starting on Aug. 2, with tonight’s title game marking the finish on CBS Sports. Nations is arguably one of only a handful of events around the world that can say it showcases the world’s best high school talent in one spot with nine teams of the top U-19 taleant. We take you inside the days spent at the Garden Grove, California, tournament and its highlights.
The title game is tonight between USA 2014 Red and USA 2013 Blue squads at Long Beach City College. Along the way those teams and the seven others were coached by the usual, college-studded counselors but among them were new NBA draft picks Thomas Robinson, Damian Lillard, Jared Sullinger, Will Barton, Miles Plumlee and Perry Jones III. One of the only thing better than the quality of counselors, of course, was the level of play the players were going at. Here’s the best of the first two days of the tournament.
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5. DANTE EXUM, AUSTRALIA
Opening up the tournament Friday at the Next Level Sports Complex was one of the top prospects from the FIBA U-19 championships, Exum, against the 2013 Red team of the U.S. that had a stacked roster of Zak Irvin and Kasey Hill. But Exum, a 6-4 guard, poured in 17 points, three dimes and three rebounds on an efficient 5-of-6 from the floor and 7-of-8 from the line in the upset. He’d add 13 points and seven boards to beat USA 2014 Blue.
4. JARELL MARTIN, USA 2013 BLUE
To get the U.S. over Latin America, 2013 Blue needed a couple free throws by Martin in the final minute of regulation. Martin, a 6-8 Louisianan, finished with a game-high 20 points and eight boards for his coach Reggie Theus.
3. RASHAD VAUGHN, USA 2014 RED
In the same game that had teammate Noah Vonleh creep into No. 2 on this list, Vaughn had a fourth quarter where he was unconscious from deep. Vaughn hit 6-of-8 threes in the final quarter to finish with 24 points on 8-of-14 shooting overall. The 6-5 guard also had just one turnover and helped Team USA s hoot 61.5 percent in the second half from three.
2. NOAH VONLEH, TEAM USA 2014 RED
A day after scoring 23 and 12 in a win over Europe, the 6-8 forward from Massachusetts did it again with 23 points and 12 boards in a win over Latin America on the second day of Nations.
1. CLINT CAPELA, AFRICA
Capela went for 19 points and 20 rebounds in Africa’s loss to Team USA 2014 Blue on the first day. He shot just 8-of-20 but you can’t argue about his motor — he did it in just 25 minutes of PT. The 6-9 forward from the Congo went on to score 16 and grab 11 boards in a loss to USA 2013 Red on Saturday, but his first game, despite the loss, was the head-turning game of the opening session.