USA U18 Men Draw Group B With Chile, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands For 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship
FIBA Americas today in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, conducted the draw for the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men, and the USA was placed in Group B with host Chile, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Playing in Group A will be Argentina, Brazil, Canada and Dominican Republic.
The 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men will be played July 19-23 in Valdivia, Chile. Not only is a gold medal at stake, the top four finishing teams will earn a qualifying berth in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.
University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart will guide the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team in its quest for a fourth straight U18 gold medal, along with USA assistant coaches Kevin Ollie of the University of Connecticut and Mark Turgeon of the University of Maryland.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity to be in the group with Chile, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands,” Smart said. “Our focus will be on getting off to a great start, and we are just really excited about representing our country.”
The USA will open preliminary round play against Puerto Rico on July 19, followed by Chile on July 20 and the U.S. Virgin Islands on July 21.
Earning automatic berths for the 2016 from North America were Canada and the United States; Argentina, Brazil and Chile punched their tickets by finishing in the top three of the 2015 South American U17 Championship; and Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands took the three berths available from the 2015 Centrobasket U17 Championship.
After playing each of the teams in its preliminary round group, the top two finishing teams from each group advance to the semifinals on July 22, while the bottom two teams from each group will play out for fifth-eighth places. On July 23, the semifinal winners will meet in the gold medal game, and the semifinal losers will play in the bronze medal game.
Training camp to determine the USA’s 12-member roster for the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 National Team will take place June 14-18 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and July 11-15 in Houston. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifier, the tournament was held every four years between 1990-2006. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2006 championship and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.
USA men's teams are 48-2 in the U18 / Junior World Championship Qualifiers and won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014, while capturing silver in 2008 and bronze in 2002.
Past USA U18 team members of note include: Carmelo Anthony (2002); Chris Bosh (2002); Nick Collison (1998); Jonny Flynn (2006); Grant Hill (1990); Allan Houston (1990); Andre Iguodala (2002); Kyrie Irving (2010); Stanley Johnson (2014); Stephon Marbury (1994); Austin Rivers (2010); Kyle Singler (2006); Marcus Smart (2012); Jarnell Stokes (2012); Rasheed Sulaimon (2012); Kemba Walker (2008); Deron Williams (2002); and Justise Winslow (2014).