By RENALDO DORSETT
THE Bahamas has already established a reputation as a host for some of the top collegiate basketball talent in America and now due to the prospect battle between Nike and Under Armour, the country will welcome some of the best high school players as well.
Nike will field 12 of the top high school junior and senior players for a brief training camp and exhibition against a select squad from the Bahamas August 19-23.
Both Nike and Under Armour will be hosting events concurrently, with the Under Armour Elite 24 hosted in Brooklyn New York, and the new Nike event which was created about a week ago, hosted here in the Bahamas.
The Under-Armour Elite 24 has quickly become one of the premier events during the summer as the bidding war between major shoe companies heats up in an attempt to claim top college prospects. It is televised live on ESPN, but the creation of Nike’s new event has lured away some of its star power.
The Nike roster will be led by three likely NCAA “one and done prospects” including Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Malik Monk.
Giles, the 6’10” prospect out of Oak Hill Academy, is top ranked for the class of 2016 on the ESPN 100 and has received offers from Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio State, Syracuse, UNLV and Wake Forest.
Tatum, the 6’8” small forward from Chaminade Collge Prep, is ranked second in the class of 2016 and has already committed to Duke.
Monk is a 6’3” guard from Bentonville High who is ranked fifth in the 2016 class and has received offers from Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida, Kansas, Iowa State, Baylor, Arkansas and Oregon.
The roster will also include several ranked members of the 2016 class including No.7 Miles Bridges out of Huntington Prep, No.10 De’Aaron Fox out of Cypress Lakes and No.12 Jonathan Isaac out of IMG Academy.
A loaded 2017 class is headed by the Bahamas’ very own DeAndre Ayton, who will be competing at the Under Armour event in New York, however Nike has successfully lured five other members of the top 25.
The Nike roster includes No. 2 Michael Porter (Father Tolton), No. 3 Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep), No.4 Wendell Carter (Pace Academy), No. 8 Gary Trent Jr (Apple Valley), No.10 Mohamed Bamba (Westtown) and No.22 Trae Young (Norman High).
If Nike created the event to compete with the Under Armour showcase its plan has been successful thus far with the top three aforementioned recruits.
Giles and Tatum both attended the UA Elite 24 in 2014, while Monk was on the rosters but a late no-show.
Nick Blatchford, Under Armour director of grassroots and college basketball, admitted that the Nike camp puts them in a tough spot, mainly because it’s forcing the recruits to choose between spending three days in New York or three days at one of the most popular destinations in the world.
“It’s a paid-for vacation,” said Blatchford. “That seems to be a pretty fair interpretation. The fact that they’re putting something together, kind of last-minute, tells me they’re trying to play defence.”