Inside The Nike Hoop Summit: NYC Noticeably Absent At The Nike Hoop Summit


The Nike Hoop Summit is a must-watch for basketball fans interested in the NBA Draft. The last seven No. 1 overall picks of the NBA Draft have all graced the court at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland. In fact, three of the drafts over that stretch have featured at least three Hoop Summit alumni selected in the top five.

One glaring absence though at the annual showcase in Portland is New York City.

“High school basketball in the New York City area has declined in recent years,” ESPN basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla told

New York City has long been hailed as the Mecca of hoops, but if the Nike Hoop Summit is any indication, then the elite basketball congregation in the Big Apple is dwindling. Okay, that might be taking it a bit too far but high schools from the state of New York have sent only Greg Paulus, Johnny Flynn and Tobias Harris to the Nike Hoop Summit since 2005. And none of that trio are from the five boroughs as 2005 alumni Paulus is from Ohio and went to high school in the Syracuse suburb of DeWitt; 2007 standout Flynn is from the Niagara Falls area; and Harris from the 2010 Summit was raised on Long Island.

The last NYC player to play at the Nike Hoop Summit was Sebastian Telfair in 2004 from Brooklyn’s Abraham Lincoln High School, a very familiar name in Portland knowing the Trail Blazers selected Bassy 13th overall in the 2004 NBA Draft.

The social conditions in New York City have played a major role on the Big Apple’s absence from Portland.

“The lack of funds for coaches and facilities have driven the good young players to prep schools outside of New York once their basketball talent is identified. Some of the New York talent ends up in New Jersey where there are still some very good high school programs,” Fraschilla explained.

The rosters for the 2017 Nike Hoop Summit have not been released and the USA team could actually feature two players who were born and raised on the streets of New York City. But both would continue the trend of NYC high schools not producing the talent. Harlem’s Mohamed Bamba attended out-of-state boarding schools since the eighth grade and last played in Westtown PA, while Queens’ Hamidou Diallo went to prep school at Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut before landing with the Kentucky Wildcats to begin his collegiate career.

Fraschilla said you could follow the sun to find more of the top hoopers.

“Nationally, much of the basketball talent has drifted to Sun Belt cities like Atlanta, Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth. Families are moving to the warm climates where cost-of-living is low and job opportunities are greater.”

The hottest hotbed right now in the United States might just be Texas, which has sent eight players to the Nike Hoop Summit since 2012 – four alone in last year’s event at the Moda Center: Jarret Allen, Marques Bolden, Terrance Ferguson and De’Aaron Fox.

“The high school basketball talent in Texas has gone through the roof,” Fraschilla summed up.

Maybe, there is a new basketball Mecca in the making to replace New York City. But until that torch is officially passed, the Nike Hoop Summit remains the must-see showcase for those players looking to make their name more known on the international and NBA level.

David Hein
David Hein has covered and scouted European and international basketball since 2001. The great game has taken the Chicago native around the world and back. Hein writes for FIBA, FIBA Europe and EuroLeague while also publishing on his own website with a weekly international hoops podcast, Taking The Charge. He also writes a weekly youth basketball column for FIBA called David Hein’s Eye on the Future.