With KU target Romeo Langford sidelined because of a minor injury he suffered at last week's Jordan Brand Classic, KU signees Quentin Grimes and David McCormack took center stage — from the Kansas perspective, anyway — at Friday's showcase game at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland.
Playing for the United States team, which was matched up with the top prospects from around the world, the two future Jayhawks combined to play 47 minutes in an 89-76 loss by Team USA.
Grimes, who started and kept up his impressive string of performances on this year's postseason all-star circuit, played 35 minutes and tallied 15 points, six rebounds and four assists while shooting 7-of-17 from the floor, 1-of-6 from 3-point range.
Grimes' numbers were only half of the story. The 6-foot-5 combo guard was one of the more talked about players in the game on Twitter by those in attendance. And it was his swagger, style, skill and stats that impressed them most.
“Quentin Grimes has been the best player for Team USA during their scrimmage tonight,” wrote NBA analyst Dave DuFour on his Twitter page. “Going to be fun at KU next year.”
Tweeted ESPN college basketball analyst and international scout Fran Fraschilla: “KU fans are going love Quentin Grimes & David McCormack. Grimes might be best SG since McLemore. McCormack a banger with a HIGH motor.”
McCormack's day on the floor during the Friday scrimmage was considerably less memorable — two points on 1-of-2 shooting, and one rebound in 12 minutes — but the 6-foot-10, 260-pound, four-star center, who recorded a double-double at the McDonald's All-American game last month in Atlanta, said the experience of playing with and against some of the best talent in the world while competing for his country was far more important than his statistics could ever be.
“The competition level was high,” said McCormack of his week in Portland in an interview with USA Basketball at the Portland Trailblazers' team facility. “Practicing here, first it was a blessing, but at the same time it was a great learning experience.”
With a few unsigned players in the Class of 2018 and athletes from the Classes of 2019 and 2020 on hand, the event attracted the eyes of all kinds of college and NBA evaluators and McCormack, who signed with KU last November, said that aspect of the event merely added to the fun.
“A lot of people kind of freeze up when there's a lot of eyes on you in a kind of evaluating-you type of situation,” he said. “But you just have to stay true to yourself, stay true to your game, play hard, make sure you have great team chemistry and just be all-in, be 100 percent in and invested deeply into the team.”
This weekend's Hoop Summit scrimmage marked the end of the major all-star games that include members of the Class of 2018.
Next up for that crew is summer reporting to their respective campuses. But first, of course, the Jayhawks will remain on high alert awaiting a decision from Langford, who was in Portland this week and is expected to announce his college decision between KU, Indiana and Vanderbilt on April 30.
KU currently has one open scholarship to hand out.