Adidas Nations, as we showed you earlier this week, started its sixth-annual tournament of the best U-19 talent the world has to offer with performances that drew high praise from the crowd of hoops experts assembled in Southern California. Their ranks counted players from new NBA draft picks who became counselors for the week, to the coaching staffs of Bill Bayno, Reggie Theus, Don MacLean and Eddie Johnson for a few. Dwight Howard, in SoCal for rehabilitation after back surgery, even stopped by to talk with campers (not wearing Magic colors). Days three and four, when pool play turned into a playoff, didn’t disappoint either.
The camp culminated in the title game on Monday night between USA 2014 Red and USA 2013 Blue. With Derrick Rose, a Nations alumnus, in the house to watch Red win 86-84 in OT in game broadcast on CBS Sports.
The Garden Grove, California, tournament had several big games to choose from but only these were the best performances of Sunday and Monday’s games.
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5. JERMAINE LAWRENCE, 2013 BLUE
A perfect shooting night will always catch the eyes of observers, especially against top-flight competition like at Nations. Lawrence went 8-of-8 from the floor Sunday in a 30-point win over 2014 Blue. He finished with 19 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes.
4. DEVIN WILLIAMS, 2013 BLUE
The top scorer on the tournament runner up finished his 25 minutes of PT with 16 points and eight board, five coming off the offensive glass. The points came easy for the 6-9 center from Cincinnati.
3. CRAIG VICTOR, 2014 BLUE
Australia had been the surprise of the tournament in the early going, knocking off eventual champ 2014 Red in the first game. Victor’s 13 points and 10 rebounds in the consolation game helped the U.S. squad rout the Aussies by 20. The 6-8 forward from New Orleans had a balanced five boards on offense and defense in his 19 minutes.
2. TONY TROCHA, LATIN AMERICA
Trocha’s 19-point, eight-board, eight-block gem came in a 21-point beatdown of Europe. Can you guess why the Europeans were hesitant to drive inside much? Neither team shot well in this Sunday game (Europe’s 31.8 percent from the floor was the team leader) but was much better in that regard, going 7-of-15. The 6-11 center is from Colombia.
1. NOAH VONLEH, 2014 RED
The big man had 25 points and 16 boards in the biggest game of the tournament to win the title. He didn’t turn the ball over in 37 minutes and added a block. More importantly, he scored seven of his team’s nine points in overtime. His shooting wasn’t spectacular at 9-of-22, but his body of work over the entire tournament was what helped him earn co-MVP with Emmanual Mudiay.
Hit the jump to check out more shots of Day Three at Nations.