Don Showalter Returns As USA Basketball U17 World Championship Team Head Coach
-- Miles Simon, Sharman White Return To Round Out U17 Coaching Staff --
Seven-time USA Basketball gold medalist head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa), who in 2015 coached the USA U16 National Team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, will return for his eighth-straight summer with USA Basketball as head coach of the 2016 USA U17 World Championship Team. Also selected to remain on staff after assisting Showalter and the 2015 USA U16 team to a gold medal and a berth in the 2016 U17 World Championship are prep head coaches Miles Simon (California Supreme AAU) and Sharman White (Miller Grove H.S., Ga.). The coaching staff was selected by the USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.
“USA Basketball is very fortunate and excited to have the entire 2015 U16 National Team staff back to defend our FIBA U17 World Championship title in 2016,” said Sean Ford, director of USA Basketball’s men’s national team program and chair of the USA Developmental National Team Committee. “Don’s extensive experience has enabled him to provide great leadership for his assistants as well as the players. Sharman and Miles combine to provide the team with significant basketball knowledge, experience and energy. These three coaches are a perfect fit to lead the USA U17 World Championship Team this summer.”
The 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship will be held June 22-July 3 in Spain (city TBD). Training camp to determine the 12-member USA squad will be held June 11-19 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Held every other year, the FIBA U17 World Championship was first contested in 2010, and under the direction of Showalter, the USA has earned the gold medal in all three editions, compiling a perfect 23-0 record overall. In addition to the USA, teams qualified to compete in the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship are: host Spain, which finished fourth at the 2016 FIBA Europe U16 Championship; Egypt (gold medalist) and Mali (silver medalist) from FIBA Africa; Canada (silver medalist), Argentina (bronze medalist) and Dominican Republic (fourth place) from FIBA Americas; China (gold medalist), South Korea (silver medalist) and Taiwan (bronze medalist) from FIBA Asia; Bosnia and Herzegovina (gold medalist), Lithuania (silver medalist), Turkey (bronze medalist), France (fifth place) and Finland (sixth place) from FIBA Europe; and Australia (gold medalist) from FIBA Oceania. The draw to determine the preliminary round groups will take place early in 2016 (date TBD).
“We had a great minicamp in October with the U17 kids and having that chance to see them in a little less stressful atmosphere, there were no cuts to be made so they could just play, and that was really good,” said Showalter. “During that minicamp I had the chance to meet up with Miles and Simon again, and we were able to go over some things that maybe we want to look at for the upcoming U17 World Championship. Obviously they’re very good to work with, as all the assistants have been over the years. We bounce things off each other. That’s one of the really good things about the staffs that have been put together, we all get along really well and we’re not afraid to voice our opinions. We all have a voice in what’s going on with the team, and that’s been one of the strengths with our U16/U17 teams over the years with USA Basketball.
“We’re constantly evaluating where we are,” added Showalter on any changes in strategy he might implement in 2016. “The longer and the more the international teams are together, they come up with different schemes to keep the games close and to beat us. Canada (in 2015) was the first team that really had us down. We’ve had some closer games, but we’ve always been ahead and the other team made a run at the end to make it close. But the gold medal game in the 2015 U16s, Canada jumped on us right away. But, when we go through a little adversity, the culture that we try to portray and surround our USA Basketball team with really comes through. Had we not had a great culture where we care about each other, we probably would have not been able to win that (2015 U16) gold medal. Looking back at that with Sharman and Miles, we’ll probably tweak some things. We’ll still plan our game to our strengths, which is our quickness and our ability to be physical, but I think we can tweak some things to help us out with that as well.”
In addition to seven gold medals over the past seven summers, Showalter has earned at least a share of the past seven USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year honors and owns a perfect 34-0 record at the helm of USA Basketball U16 and U17 teams. Further, Showalter was selected as the U.S. Olympic Committee 2012 Volunteer Coach of the Year.
One of the nation’s most accomplished high school coaches, Showalter completed his 41st year (1974 - present) as a high school head coach in 2014-15 and during that time compiled a 588-336 record (.636 winning percentage) overall, won 16 district titles and advanced to six state tournaments. So far in 2015-16, his team is off to a 2-3 start (as of 12/17/15) in his fourth year at Iowa City.
Simon, who has worked as college basketball analyst for ESPN since 2008, began coaching the AAU California Supreme 17U in 2011 and advanced to the 2013 Peach Jam quarterfinals. His team was the No. 1-ranked Nike Elite Youth Basketball League team, boasting the best EYBL record, in 2012.
“For me, it’s obviously a tremendous honor to be able to come back with both of these guys, and be a part of USA Basketball again as we go for a U17 World Championship gold medal next summer in Spain,” said Simon, who played on the 1995 U.S. Olympic Festival West Team and returned to USA Basketball as a court coach during the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team training. “Just seeing the guys back this past October got me excited for next summer because I saw some improvement in both the guys who didn’t make the team last year and the guys who did make it. We have a hungry group that’s going to want to be very successful, continue the unbeaten streak and bring home the gold medal next summer.
“It’s truly an honor and a privilege to work with two of the best in the business in coach Showalter and coach White. I love being around great basketball minds like that and the thing about both of those men is they’re great motivators and great teachers and excellent leaders of young men, and this 17 and under group will be fortunate to learn from them.”
A coach at the annual Nike Skills Academy since 2008, Simon since 2009 also has been on staff at the LeBron James Skills Academy. Further, Simon is a personal basketball skills trainer and has worked with 2008 Olympic gold medalist Chris Bosh the past five summers and 2014 FIBA World Cup gold medalist Klay Thompson since Thompson was in college. Simon also has served as the pre-NBA Draft trainer for several athletes, including Landry Fields in 2010 and Jimmer Fredette in 2011.
Inducted into the University of Arizona Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Pacific-10 Conference Hall of Fame in 2008, Simon earned 1997 NCAA Final Four MVP honors after leading the Wildcats to the NCAA crown. His professional career saw him play in the NBA; Europe, where he played in Italy, Israel and Turkey and was the 2001 Italian League MVP; and the CBA, where he earned 2002 MVP and Newcomer of the Year honors. In leading the Dakota Wizards to the 2002 CBA championship, Simon was tabbed MVP of the 2002 CBA Playoffs.
The 1998 consensus All-America first team member, as selected by the Associated Press, National Association of Basketball Coaches and The Sporting News, Simon returned to Arizona for three seasons (2005-06 through 2007-08) as an assistant coach.
The 2014 USA Today All-USA Coach of the Year, White has guided Miller Grove to six-straight Georgia state titles, winning the 2009-2012 Georgia Class 4A and 2013 and 2014 Georgia Class 5A championships. White, who also serves as the school’s athletic director and has held both roles since the school opened in 2005, built his program from scratch and in three seasons captured his first regional crown.
“I’m looking forward to working with Don and Miles again,” said White, whose first USA Basketball introduction came as a court coach during the 2014 USA Junior National Team minicamp in Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I’m learning so much from both of those guys and enjoy being able to work beside them. They’re not only good coaches in knowing what they’re doing from a coaching perspective, they’re great guys with high character and they’re really good for the young men that we’ve been assigned to work with.
“The training camp in October was absolutely fantastic,” continued White. “The guys competed hard. It really showed how much pride and how much is at stake with these young guys in representing their country. Everybody came out with something to prove and it made for a really, really competitive and productive camp. I’m looking forward to connecting with the guys again in the summer, reliving the process, and hoping we have the same outcome.”
In 19 seasons (1996-97 through 2014-15) as a high school head coach, White compiled an overall record of
342-88 (.795 winning percentage) and has led Miller Grove to an 8-2 record to start the 2015-16 season (as of 12/17/15)
White’s most recent squad spent most of the 2014-15 season ranked No. 1 in Georgia’s Class 5A, captured the 2015 regional championship and finished the year with a 27-4 record.
White, who has advanced Miller Grove to seven state semifinals and won seven regional titles (2008-10, 2012-15) has been recognized by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club and Georgia Sports Writers Association as the 2013 Georgia Coach of the Year. He also earned the 2013 Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Class 5A Coach of the Year, three times (2010-12) collected Georgia Class 4A Coach of the Year honors and was the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Atlanta Journal-Constitution Georgia Class 4A Coach of the Year.
Among White’s notable former players is two-time USA Basketball gold medalist Tony Parker, who won gold medals at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship.
Prior to arriving at Miller Grove, White coached at Georgia’s Carver High School and in his final season, was named the 2004 Georgia Class 2A Coach of the Year after leading Carver to the regional title and the state championship game.
In addition to Ford, members of the USA Basketball Men's Developmental National Team Committee include AAU appointees Rich Gray (St. Louis Eagles, Mo.), and Boo Williams (Boo Williams, Va.), NFHS appointees Herman Harried (Lake Clifton H.S., Md.) and John Olive (Torrey Pines H.S., Calif.), at-large representative Evan Daniels (Scout.com) and athlete representatives Chauncey Billups (2010 FIBA World Championship gold medalist and a member of three USA Basketball Teams) and Gerry McNamara (2005 World University Games Team).