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Johnson stars in Adidas Nations tournament
LONG BEACH – The nation’s top high school basketball players for the class of 2014 came together for the Adidas Nations competition in Garden Grove and Long Beach this past weekend.
The event, which began on Friday, ended with the championship game Monday night, as the USA 2014 Blue team defeated the USA 2014 Red team, 81-77, at Long Beach City College.
The lone Orange County representative to participate was Mater Dei’s Stanley Johnson. The 6-foot-7 senior scored 17 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and dished out three assists in a losing effort for USA 2014 Red in the championship game.
He led all players in scoring and rebounding, and he led his team in scoring, rebounding and assists.
“It was the top players in the country from all circuits,” Johnson said. “So I had fun playing.”
Unlike most of the contests he plays in, Johnson was playing against talent parallel to his throughout the weekend. As a matter of fact, Johnson wasn’t even the most decorated player on his own team.
Jahlil Okafor, who hails from Chicago and is the No. 1 player in the nation for the class of 2014 according to Scout and Rivals, was Johnson’s teammate and he posted a solid effort with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Other notable players included Johnson’s Trinity League counterpart and St. John Bosco standout Daniel Hamilton, Emmanuel Mudlay from Dallas, Texas, and Trey Lyles from Indiana.
Africa took third place in the tournament, while Australia, Latin America, the Philippines and Russia also participated.
“This is my sixth year at the (Adidas) Nations, so I’m impressed every year,” said Don MacLean, who coached the USA 2014 Blue team. “This year we had a good group, the class of 2014 has a lot of good players. I mean a lot.”
Even though his team lost, USA 2014 Red team coach Ralph Sampson enjoyed his time at Adidas Nations.
He said he tried to tell the players they just needed to stick together and have fun.
With players who consistently perform at a high level competing against each other all on the same court, Sampson said he thinks it raised the level of play a notch.
“It’s (competition) definitely going to raise the level,” Sampson said. “You have to play against somebody that can play. In high school, you may go against guys that may be smaller or not as strong and you dominate.
“That’s why we have these things, so they can play against the best.”