Finalists Announced For 2012 USA Men's U18 National Team
Colorado Springs, Colo. • June 7, 2012• Finalists Roster
Following five USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team training sessions that featured 23 of the nation’s top 18-year-old and younger players, the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee announced Thursday night that 14 finalists had been selected to continue competing for a USA roster spot.
The 14 finalists will continue to train through June 11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The official 12-man 2012 USA Men’s U18 National Team will be selected prior to the team’s June 12 departure for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20 in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1994.
Named as a USA Men’s U18 National Team finalist were: Nathaniel Britt, II (Gonzaga H.S., D.C./Upper Marlboro, Md.); Sam Dekker (Sheboygan Lutheran H.S./Sheboygan, Wis.); Shaq Goodwin (Southwest DeKalb H.S./Decatur, Ga.); Jerami Grant (DeMatha Catholic/Bowie, Md.); Montrezl Harrell (Hargrave Military Academy/Tarboro, N.C.); Joel James (Dwyer H.S./West Palm Beach, Fla.); Jake Layman (King Phillip Regional H.S./Wrentham, Mass.); Austin Nichols (Briarcrest H.S./Eads, Tenn.); Rodney Purvis (Upper Room Christian/Raleigh, N.C.); Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian Academy/ McKinney, Texas); James Robinson (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Mitchellville, Md.); Marcus Smart (Marcus H.S./Flower Mound, Texas); Jarnell Stokes (Memphis, Tenn.); and Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit College Prep/Houston, Texas).
“This trials has been very difficult. You had 23 guys who all are really good players, there wasn’t a bad player here. To get down to 12 is going to be difficult but I think we’re going to end up with a really good athletic team that is going to be very well coached. I think we’ve got an unbelievable coaching staff. I think we’ve got guys that have won, been winners, won state championships, and I think they’ll represent USA Basketball extremely well in this tournament,” stated USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee chair Jim Boeheim.
The 2012 USA U18 National Team is led by a trio of experienced and successful college coaches, including Billy Donovan (University of Florida) serving as head coach, with Mark Few (Gonzaga University) and Shaka Smart (Virginia Commonwealth University) serving as assistant coaches.
“I think it was very, very difficult for the committee to get this group narrowed down just because there were so many good players. I thought for the past three days their effort was great,” remarked head coach Donovan about the first three days of training.
“The strength of this team is there is a lot of versatility; versatility at the forward spot; there’s a lot of guys that can play the small forward spot and move to the power forward; there’s some power forwards that can play center; there’s some guards that can move to the three or guards that can move to the point; so there’s a lot of versatility inside the team.
“I think for style of play there’s no question that this group will probably be more productive in an up tempo style of play. Running and pressing and those things will be important.
“Now with practice getting started tomorrow we’ll at least have the chance to start implementing things on offense, things on defense, you know things we need to do – full court pressure, half court pressure, so there’s a lot to get in a short period of time. There’s two things; One you don’t want to overwhelm them with so much, but you really want to get some things in that they can really be effective in a certain style of play.
Included among the finalists is rising University of Tennessee sophomore Stokes, who is the lone collegian attending the training camp. Graduating high school seniors Robinson and Sulaimon boast of prior USA Basketball having suited up for the USA in April at the 15th annual Nike Hoop Summit.
In addition to rising college sophomore Stokes, who listed on the 2011-12 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team, Smart (Texas) took home his second-consecutive Gatorade State Player of the Year honor in 2012; while Dekker (Wis.) and Purvis (N.C.) were named their state’s 2012 Gatorade State Player of the Year; and Britt (D.C.) earned the honor in 2011.
In addition to chair Boeheim, the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Lorenzo Romar (University of Washington), Bruce Weber (Kansas State University) and Roy Williams (University of North Carolina), as well as athlete representative Jay Williams (2002 USA World Championship Team).
2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Men
Eight teams will compete in the 2012 U18 Americas zone qualifier, including the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The top four finishing teams in the tournament will qualify for next summer’s 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The USA will open play against U.S. Virgin Islands on June 16 (1 p.m. EDT), followed by Mexico on June 17 (1 p.m. EDT) and Brazil on June 18 (5 p.m. EDT). The top two teams from Group A and Group B will advance to play for 1st-4th place, while the No. 3 and No. 4 ranked teams play out for 5th-8th place. The semifinals will be played on June 19, and the gold medal game will be contested on June 20.
In the hunt for a sixth gold medal, USA men's teams are 38-2 overall in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship (formerly known as the Junior World Championship Qualifier), and have won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010, silver in 2008 and bronze in 2002.
The USA is the reigning champion from the 2010 U18 tournament, when Quincy Miller (Baylor) hit a game winning 3-pointer to help down Brazil, 81-78. The USA brought home silver in 2008 after falling to host Argentina despite a tournament MVP performance by Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats).
Former U.S. players of note in the U18 championship include: Carmelo Anthony (2002); Chris Bosh (2002); Spencer Hawes (2006); Grant Hill (1990); Andre Iguodala (2002); Kyrie Irving (2010); Austin Rivers (2010); Kyle Singler (2006); Walker (2008); and Deron Williams (2002).
About USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
Since 2008, USA Basketball men’s and women’s teams have compiled a sterling 134-6 win-loss record in FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions of the Olympics and FIBA World Championship; FIBA women’s U19 world champions; the men’s and women’s title holders for the FIBA U17 World Championship; and the men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas champions. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.