The 2015 adidas Global Nations event marked the last big high school basketball showcase of what’s already a rigorous slate for prep basketball players.
There were plenty of tired legs throughout the weekend, but many of the world’s top high school hoopers made the journey to Southern California to compete in adidas’ four-day event that began on July 31 and lasted through Monday evening, where two teams battled it out for the right to call themselves champions.
During the first three days, the players spent time doing drills and skill work, listened to guest speakers and were split in to nine different regional teams — Africa, Asia Pacific, Canada, Latin America, Nations Select and four United States based squads which consisted of two teams with class of 2016 players and two with class of 2017 players.
Cerritos College hosted the championship game on Monday where Brooklyn (NY) native Rawle Alkins provided a show-stopping performance in helping lead Team Rose to a 113-93 win over Team Wall, helping himself to the MVP award.
Alkins poured in 26 points on 9-of-16 shooting in just 20 minutes of action, saying his approach on the court never changes no matter the stage.
“Winning is the only option,” he said. “Everyone talks about the winner; everyone remembers the winner.”
The 6-foot-4 shooting guard wasn’t alone in his quest for victory, either.
He had plenty of help from a guy who non-west coast fans hadn’t seen much of, Chino Hills point guard and UCLA commit Lonzo Ball.
Ball came into adidas Nations with question marks surrounding his status as an elite prospect, but put those to rest quickly with his high-level understanding of the game, next-level vision and recondite reputation.
The 6-foot-6 future Bruin scored just four points, but pulled down 12 rebounds and dished a game-high eight assists in the winning effort.
Ball was happy with his performance throughout the weekend and never questioned his ability amid all of the speculation around his game.
“I know the truth and I know I can play with anybody,” he said. “I just played my game, and as you can see, we won the championship. I was just trying to contribute to that.”
Though it took a game or two for his teammates to warm-up to him, Ball said once he showed his pass-first mentality and knack for making big plays when it was time to win, his teammates became comfortable with him taking over in late-game situations.
“We’d get to the hotel and they’d joke around, throwing pillows, talking about ‘this is Lonzo kicking it up,’” he said.
Kobi Simmons, a combo guard out of Atlanta, scored 19 points and dished out six assists for Team Rose in a winning effort, adding that the team meshed well together from the opening tip-off of the weekend.
“I felt like we played unselfish,” he said. “We had Lonzo and he’s one of the most unselfish people on this team and we all just had fun and that’s what it’s all about.”
The other big contributors for Team Rose were Mustapa Heron (15 points), Ike Anigbogu (11 points), Mario Kegler (19 points) and Edrice “Bam” Adebayo (10 points, eight rebounds).
Payton Pritchard paced Team Wall with 14 points and four assists, connecting on 4-of-7 shots from 3-point range. Markelle Fultz was the team’s leading scorer with 16 points, but shot just 7-of-25 from the field. Terrance Ferguson had 12 points, while Udoka Azubuike, Frank Jackson and De’Ron Davis each finished with 11.