2014 Men’s U17 World Championship Team Opponents Unveiled
Two-time defending U17 champion United States today found out its preliminary round opponents for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship for Men and has been placed in Group A with Angola (FIBA Africa U16 gold medalist), Greece (FIBA Europe U16 bronze medalist) and Philippines (FIBA Asia U16 silver medalist). The draw was conducted by FIBA in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to determine the four preliminary round pools for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, scheduled for Aug. 8-16 in Dubai. The USA opens preliminary play against Greece on Aug. 8, followed by Angola on Aug. 9 and closes out preliminary games against Philippines on Aug. 11.
“Anytime you have a world championship, you’re going to have good teams in every pool,” said 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa), who has led the USA Developmental National Team to five gold medals and a sterling 31-0 record in FIBA U17 and FIBA Americas U16 competitions since 2009. “I think that shows in these four pools. You have to take care of business in your pool and hope to advance. It should be a very competitive U17 World Championship I would think, just looking at the teams that have qualified.
“You really can’t plan ahead and look down the road at other teams. When you do that, you’re bound to slip up on a team that you maybe should beat on paper. So, I think we really have to focus on what our team needs to do to get better as the tournament goes on. Preparation is really crucial, because once you get to the games, there’s not a lot of time for preparation. Dealing with European teams and other teams that have had great results in international competition is going to be a challenge for us.”
Drawn into Group B for the Aug. 8-10 preliminary round were: Australia (FIBA Oceania U16 gold medalist), Canada (FIBA Americas U16 bronze medalist), France (FIBA Europe U16 fifth place) and Japan (FIBA Asia U16 bronze medalist); Group C includes Italy (FIBA Europe U16 fourth place), Puerto Rico (FIBA Americas U16 fourth place), Spain (FIBA Europe U16 gold medalist) and host United Arab Emirates; while Group D is comprised of Argentina (FIBA Americas U16 silver medalist), China (FIBA Asia U16 gold medalist), Egypt (FIBA Africa U16 silver medalist) and Serbia (FIBA Europe U16 silver medalist).
All teams will be seeded within their groups and advance to the Round of 16, slated for Aug. 12, which begins the knockout phase of the tournament. Winners of the Round of 16 advance to the Aug. 13 quarterfinals, the semifinals will be contested on Aug. 15 and the gold and bronze medal games will be held on Aug. 16.
The complete schedule, including game times will be announced by FIBA at a later date.
While the United Arab Emirates earned an automatic berth to the tournament as the host country, the remaining 15 nations were determined by results of the five FIBA zone qualifiers in 2013.
USA Basketball earned its entry by virtue of a gold-medal finish at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. The 2013 USA U16 National Team posted an unblemished 5-0 record at the qualifying tournament, held June 11-15 in Maldonado, Uruguay. Led by Showalter, and assisted by Eric Flannery (St. Edward High School, Ohio) and L.J. Goolsby (KC Run GMC, Kan.), the U.S. featured a well-balanced attack that averaged 106.8 points a game and won its five contests by a 53.4-point margin of victory as Malik Newman (Callaway H.S. / Jackson, Miss.) collected tournament MVP honors.
The 12-member 2014 USA Men’s U17 World Championship Team will be selected by the USA Men’s Developmental National Team Committee during training camp, which is scheduled to tip-off July 24 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Only athletes born on or after Jan. 1, 1997 are eligible.
2010 was the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship. The USA captured gold with a perfect 8-0 record and Bradley Beal was tabbed MVP of the tournament of the biennial event. In 2012 Jahlil Okafor earned MVP honors and was joined on the all-tournament team by Justise Winslow as the U.S. again rolled up a perfect 8-0 slate en route to gold.
USA U17 World Championship Team players of note include: Beal, Quinn Cook (2010), Tyus Jones (2012), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (2010), James Michael McAdoo (2010), Okafor (2012), Jabari Parker (2012) and Winslow.