2016 USA Men’s U17 World Championship Team Finalized
Following four training sessions involving 18 finalists, the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team was announced and includes six members of the gold medalist 2015 USA Men’s U16 National Team, which qualified the U.S. for the 2016 FIBA Men’s U17 World Championship. The team, which will attempt to defend gold at the 2016 FIBA Men’s U17 World Championship from June 23-July 3 in Zaragoza, Spain, was selected by the USA Basketball Developmental National Team Committee, chaired by USA Basketball men’s national team director Sean Ford.
Athletes eligible for this team must be 17 years old or younger (born on or after 1/1/99) and U.S. citizens.
Named to the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team were: Jordan Brown (Woodcreek H.S./Roseville, Calif.); Troy Brown (Centennial H.S./Las Vegas, Nev.); Wendell Carter Jr. (Pace Academy/Fairburn, Ga.); Carte'Are Gordon (Webster Groves H.S./St. Louis, Mo.); Markus Howard (Findlay Prep, Nev./Chandler, Ariz.); Jaren Jackson Jr. (Park Tudor School/Carmel, Ind.); Kevin Knox II (Tampa Catholic H.S./Riverview, Fla.); Immanuel Quickley (John Carroll School/Havre De Grace, Md.); Collin Sexton (Pebblebrook H.S./Mableton, Ga.); Javonte Smart (Scotlandville H.S./Baton Rouge, La.); Gary Trent Jr (Apple Valley H.S./Burnsville, Minn.); and Austin Wiley (Spain Park H.S./Hoover, Ala).
The USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team training camp will continue through June 17 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“This was the fourth USA U17 World Championship Team that we’ve put together, and this is by far the hardest decision,” said Ford. “The players really competed and gave it everything they had. We are very excited about the final roster. It gives us great athleticism and versatility, and we will need it as this will be a very difficult competition.
“We appreciate the efforts of everyone who came out to training camp. It’s really tough when there are so many great players, and we appreciate their commitment to USA Basketball.”
Seven-time USA Basketball gold medalist head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball), who in 2015 coached the USA U16 National Team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, is the head coach of the 2016 USA U17 World Championship Team. Also on the staff after assisting Showalter and the 2015 USA U16 team to a gold medal and a berth in the 2016 U17 World Championship is prep head coach Miles Simon (California Supreme AAU), along with Mike Jones (DeMatha Catholic H.S., Md.), who has been a member of six previous USA Basketball team coaching staffs, including as an assistant for the gold medalist 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team.
“We always look for guys who are versatile and can play multiple positions and I think we have that,” said Showalter. “I like our size, and when you go play international at this level, you are going to play against bigger bodies. I also think we have a good mix of shooters and slashers.
“Our guys like Wendell Carter, Markus Howard, Kevin Knox II and Gary Trent Jr., who we had last year, are really good players. Austin Wiley is a guy that wasn’t with us last year and he’s improved a lot. I like Jordan Brown, he was with us last year, but I think he has gotten so much better. We’ve got a couple point guards that have impressed us in Collin Sexton and Immanuel Quickley, plus you can throw Javonte Smart, who also played for us last year, in there as well. The improvement from a physical perspective is noticeable, but there’s also growth from a mental perspective as well.
“I’ve been involved since 2009, and this may have been one of the toughest years we’ve had, because these kids competed so hard. There wasn’t one player that checked out going into the last practice. I think all 18 guys had a legitimate chance of making this team, which made this so hard.”
The USA earned its qualifying spot for the 2016 U17 Worlds by capturing gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship with a 5-0 record. Led by tournament MVP Trent, 2016 U17 team members who won gold as a member of the 2016 USA U16 National Team also included Jordan Brown, Carter, Howard, Knox and Smart.
Also boasting of USA Basketball experience is Gordon, who was named as a finalist for the 2015 U16 squad. Further, Troy Brown and Wiley have both participated in at least one previous USA Basketball Junior National Team training camp.
The U.S. will open FIBA U17 World Championship play on June 23 against Taiwan and will face Turkey on June 24. Following a day off, the USA will cap preliminary play against Egypt on June 26. After playing each of the teams in their preliminary round group, all teams advance to the round of 16 on June 28. Winners from the round of 16 advance to the medal round quarterfinals on June 30. The semifinals will be played on July 2, and the finals will be on July 3.
In addition to Ford, the USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Committee includes high school representatives Herman Harried (Lake Clifton H.S., Md.) and John Olive (Torrey Pines H.S., Calif.); AAU representatives Rich Gray (St. Louis Eagles, Mo.) and Boo Williams (Boo Williams, Va.); and athlete representatives Chauncey Billups, who won gold as a member of the 2010 USA World Championship Team, and Gerry McNamara, a gold medalist on the 2005 USA World University Games Team.
FIBA U17 World Championship for Men
First held in 2010, the FIBA U17 World Championship features the world’s top 17-year-old and younger players. FIBA currently holds U17 World Championships every two years. Under the direction of Showalter, the USA has earned the gold medal in all three editions, compiling a perfect 23-0 record overall.
In the inaugural (2010) FIBA U17 World Championship for Men, the USA captured gold with a perfect 8-0 record and Bradley Beal was tabbed MVP. In 2012, Jahlil Okafor earned MVP honors and was joined on the all-tournament team by Justise Winslow as the U.S. again captured gold. Most recently the U.S. made it three-straight golds as Malik Newman earned tournament MVP honors and Diamond Stone listed on the all-tournament team.