Portland, OR — At the Portland Trailblazer’s practice facility both the World Team and USA Team scrimmaged in front of numerous NBA scouts, media members and NBA All-Star Damien Lillard. Due to a few injuries the USA team scrimmaged against the “Portland Generals” a collection of high school, college players and former college players.
The Generals did have talent including Calvin Hermanson who graduated from St Mary’s, Tres Tinkl, a redshirt Junior at Oregon State and Kevin Porter, who is signed to play at Southern Cal next season. Porter played like he had something to prove looking like one of the best players on the court at times. In a shocker the Generals defeated the USA Team 26-20 in the 3rd quarter of the scrimmage (scores were reset after each quarter).
Future Vanderbilt Commodore Darius Garland really stood out in the games. He hit shots when he was open, attacked the rim and made plays for others on the break and in the half court. Garland is looking forward to the competition in SEC play next season, “It should be really intense next year.” Why did the 5 star pick Vanderbilt? The Nashville native made it seem like it was an easy choice, “Just staying home, I knew Coach Drew since I was the first grade (and the) coaching staff we really connected.”
Darius Garland interview
Tyler Herro was the first man off the bench for the USA team, which probably shows what the coaching staff thinks of him as a player. However, Herro again didn’t shoot it well. I attempted to keep Herro’s stats and had him shooting 1-8 from the floor including 0-4 from behind the arc. He did grab a few rebounds and made an assist or two. A possible reason for the poor shooting was because Herro had never played in front of crowd like the one Thursday night, “It was my first time playing in front of that crowd of NBA scouts, it’s a little bit different than playing in front of college coaches.”
Tyler Herro interview
Keldon Johnson sat out again because of his ankle injury but provided energy from the bench, he would stand up and cheer at every big play for the USA team. Quentin Grimes and David McCormack, who are both heading to Kansas, each had played really well. McCormack dunked on everyone inside and Grimes hit jumpers on the outside. Darius Bazley made some “wow” plays that make you think he is ready to go to the pro, but is still prone mistakes and seems to kind of disappear at times on the court.
The World Team had some imposing bigs including, Daniel Oturue (Nigeria), Charles Bassey (Nigeria) and Kofi Cockburn ( Jamaica). But 16 year old big man, N’Faly Dante (Mali), who is 6’11” with a 7’5″ wing span, held his own against the older players. Right now he said he isn’t thinking about colleges because he wants to focus on his school work and improve his English. Per Rivals Kansas, LSU and Oregon have offered Dante a scholarships and Kentucky is now recruiting him.
Interview with N’Faly Dante
RJ Barrett (Canada) showed why he is the number one player in the country. He scored at all levels and was the man running the show for his team in the scrimmage. Josh Green (Australia) also played well, he made shots and made plays for teammates. Green still has another year of high school at IMG Academy in Florida.