There’s no real nice way to put it… but let’s just say that you won’t be telling your grandkids about the 2018 Nike Hoops Summit game. A matchup between the best high school players in the United States squaring off with the best from across the world turned into a largely forgettable dud, as the World Team beat Team USA by a score of 89-76.
Yes, it was that bad, especially when you consider last week’s Jordan Brand Classic finished with a 146-136 final score. The McDonald’s All-American game final was 131-128. After two straight weeks where the losing team broke 120, the winning team on Friday night couldn’t even break 90. You could be forgiven if you turned this one off early. Or more likely, if you fell asleep mid-game.
It was also an especially forgettable night for any Kentucky fan that was battling sleep deprivation to try and watch future Wildcats Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson in Portland. Johnson sat out for the second straight weekend with an ankle injury, Herro was limited to 7:18 minutes of play, the fewest of any healthy Team USA member. Team USA coach Mike Jones said that it was nothing personal after the game. To his credit, Herro took the high road when asked if he believed he should have played more.
“I think so,” he told KSR. “But it’s all good.”
That’s especially disappointing considering that Herro proved what he can do on a national stage last week with a solid, 13-point effort at the Jordan Brand Classic, an effort that led Zion Williamson to tell KSR’s Jack Pilgrim that Herro is “The most underrated player in the entire 2018 recruiting class.” What made the look even worse for Team USA, is that on his very first possession in the game, Herro hit a beautiful step-back jumper that appeared to be a solid sign of things to come on the evening for the Kentucky commit.
Tyler Herro pure jumper. pic.twitter.com/u8QQR7usHT
— Scott Charlton (@Scott_Charlton) April 14, 2018
Plenty in Big Blue Nation were not happy about the snub.
Really feel bad for Tyler Herro tonight as he has only played sparingly and when he is in he is not touching the ball
— Dustin Wade Cordell (@DCordell_FA) April 14, 2018
@Aaron_Torres I don’t think the USA coach thinks much of Herro. My man only getting walk on minutes. What’s up with that?
— Andy Combs (@andycombs1) April 14, 2018
at the game outside the UK lens, there were a handful of interesting developments. Future Vanderbilt point guard Darius Garland paced the USA team with 16 points off the bench, including four of six shooting from beyond the arc. Former Kentucky recruit (turned Oregon commit) Bol Bol played as well as this writer has ever seen him with 12 points and six blocks. Duke commit R.J. Barrett was probably the best player overall in the game, leading Team World with 20 points. It was his second straight year in this game.
There was also one interesting development that’s worth keeping an eye for Kentucky fans as well: The continued emergence of 2019 prospect Josh Green. The 6’6 wing who is originally Australia and who now plays at IMG Academy in Florida was a revelation all week for the World Team, and showed just how talented he is on game-night with 11 points off the bench. It’s all the more impressive when you consider at just 17-years-old, he was one of the youngest players in the event.
Green is currently ranked as the No. 27 player in the class of 2019, but after a strong showing here and at the “Basketball Without Borders” event at NBA All-Star weekend, he should move up in the rankings.
He currently holds offers from most major programs in college basketball, including Kansas, UCLA, Arizona and Virginia. This is simply an educated guess, but I’d be stunned if he didn’t hold an offer from everyone in college basketball, including UK, by the end of this summer.
For those who were disappointed by Herro’s lack of playing time on Friday night, there’s a chance you’ll see him on the court again soon. He’s slated to play in next week’s Allen Iverson Classic in Philadelphia, although Herro admitted that he’s unsure if he’ll be there.