PORTLAND, Ore. — The mania surrounding Bronny James has taken over the Pink City.
James is a 6-foot-3 guard who is the eldest son of LeBron James, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and current Laker. Bronny James is in Portland this week for the Nike Hoop Summit, a showcase event featuring some of the best high schoolers in the world – and all everyone wants to know is where the star from Sierra Canyon High in California will be playing at the university ball.
Before his high school career ended last month, James was averaging 14 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game, according to Sportsmanor.
Although James is considerably smaller than his dad, who checks in at 6-foot-9, his highlights came on ESPN’s SportsCenter and his game impressed college scouts.
Since going straight to the NBA isn’t an option like his father was, everyone’s focus is on where the next chapter in James’ career will take him.
But first, he’ll play the Hoop Summit on Saturday where he said he can’t wait to make an impression.
Will LeBron James appear at the Nike Hoop Summit?
“Being here with these elite players, I just want to show that I belong and what I can do,” Bronny James said, adding that he was focused on how he can “play my game, be confident when I shoot, be smart and play defense.
He also said James’ cheering section on Saturday would be substantial.
“They will definitely be there, you will see them and hear them for sure,” he said with a smile. “The whole family is going to be here.”
Does that mean dad might make an appearance? James didn’t elaborate, but the Lakers are out on Saturday.
Where does Bronny James go to college?
Good question. James is the only unsigned American player on the Hoop Summit roster. He did not respond to a question from USA TODAY Sports on when he will make a decision, but there is speculation he could make an announcement on Saturday after the game.
His Hoop Summit teammates are heading to some of college basketball’s blueblood programs: Justin Edwards of Philadelphia, the No. 3 player in the Class of 2023 according to 247 Sports, is heading to Kentucky, along with DJ Wagner of Camden, New Jersey , the No. 4 player for the Class of 2023. Ron Holland of Duncanville, Texas, is the No. 6 player in the nation and signed with Texas.
According to 247 Sports, James has offers from USC, Ohio State and Memphis. He also expressed interest in Oregon. Isaiah Collier, a 6-foot-4 guard from Marietta, Georgia who is the top prospect for the Class of 2023 according to 247 Sports, has signed with USC and said he’s “definitely trying” to make sure that James joins him.
“‘Stay home’ is my pitch,” Collier said. “‘Why leave LA?'”
The players make their recruiting pitches to Bronny James
Collier isn’t the only one playing scout this weekend.
Jackson Shelstad, of West Linn, Oregon, travels to Oregon and tries to make James one of his college teammates.
“I was trying to get him (Wednesday) morning,” Shelstad said, adding that his pitch for why the Ducks are best for James is pretty simple: “He’s a boy with (the Oregon signee ) Mookie (Cook), he signed with Nike. Me, Mookie and KJ (Kwame Evans Jr.), all three freshmen in love with his game, we would like to play with him. We are all uninterested, so (I ) think it would be a good fit. We would love to have it in Oregon.
Shelstad said there was a lot to like about James’ game.
“He’s a very high IQ player, shoots the ball well, spaces the ground well,” Shelstad said. “He can play with the ball, on the ball he plays good defence.”
Shelstad laughed when asked if James was receptive to his recruiting pitch.
“I’m not going to say too much,” Shelstad said. “But (James) was giving me smiles. He’s kinda in Oregon.
James, who said he loves Portland and its “gloomy climate”, also enjoys the conversations.
“It’s fun times,” he said. “It’s good to joke with them. Talking to them, talking to the coaches, it’s good to know that they want me to be with them. But at the end of the day, it’s my decision, and I have to make the right one for me.
How did Bronny James play in the McDonald’s All American Game?
When James, a four-star prospect, was selected for the McDonald’s All American Game, a debate ensued over whether he really belonged in one of the nation’s premier high school basketball events, or he only received an invitation because of nepotism.
James silenced doubters with his play, scoring 15 points on 5-for-8 shooting from long range (all his scores made 3s). His team lost 109-106, but James’ play impressed many, including his father.
What is the Nike Hoop Summit?
Now in its 24th year, the Nike Hoop Summit is a showcase event featuring the nation’s top high schoolers against the world’s top players of the same age. The World List is usually drawn from the FIBA Lists of Europe, Africa, Americas, Asia and Oceania.
About half of the world roster has committed to playing varsity hoops next season. Mackenzie Mgbako (Nigeria) will travel to Duke, Aden Holloway (Canada) is expected to attend Auburn and Alex Toohey (Australia) is committed to Gonzaga, among others.
This year’s global roster also includes Andrej Stojaković, the son of former Sacramento Kings NBA All-Star Peja Stojaković. Andrej Stojaković is committed to Stanford. Dirk Nowitzki and Nikola Jokic have stood out in the past from the world’s previous lists.
The event has been held in Portland, home of Nike’s global headquarters, since 2008.