Players To Keep A Close Eye On During Men’s U17 World Championship Team Training Camp
WATCH: Men’s U17 Training Camp Preview
Thirty-eight hopefuls have arrived in Colorado Springs to begin a demanding training camp, that will be utilized to determine the 12-man roster that will represent the United States at the 2016 FIBA Men’s U17 World Championship.
Fifteen of the 20 participants from the class of 2018 are currently ranked on the top 60 national list, 14 of the 16 participants from the class of 2017 are currently ranked on the top 100 national list and the lone 2016 prospect is on the top 100 list, all according to ESPN.com.
Meet some of this year’s training camp participants hoping to add to the USA U17s all-time record of 23-0 in FIBA competition:
Markus Howard (Findlay Prep, Nev./Chandler, Ariz.)
Howard, as aforementioned, is the only class of 2016 prospect attending this year’s men’s U17 training camp. Hailing from Chandler, Ariz., Howard transferred from Perry High School in Arizona to powerhouse Findlay Prep School in Las Vegas for his senior year.
He was the state of Arizona's leading scorer at 32.2 ppg in his final season at Perry proving his offensive arsenal is adept at pulling up and hitting jumpers immediately after a defender-crippling dribble move.
The 5-foot-11 guard was a member of last summer’s 2015 Men’s U16 National Team that won gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship. He averaged 15.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in the five games played last summer.
Howard signed a national letter of intent to play at Marquette University.
Jaren Jackson Jr. (Park Tudor School/Carmel, Ind.)
Jackson is a prospect that has started to gain more national attention entering his senior season. The defensive abilities have always been a strength of the 6-foot-9 forward, but he has shown a lot of promise to stretch his offensive game away from the rim.
He is also the son of NBA veteran and former Georgetown Hoya, Jaren Jackson Sr.
The younger Jackson currently holds scholarship offers from his father’s alma mater, Indiana, Maryland and Michigan State among others.
Tre Jones (Apple Valley H.S./Apple Valley, Minn.)
The popularity of basketball in the state of Minnesota continues to grow because of the efforts at Apple Valley High School. It began in 2011 when Tyus Jones, Tre’s older brother, won gold at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. He also won gold at the 2014 U18 FIBA Americas Championship, 2012 U17 Men’s World Championship and was on the winning 2014 Nike Hoop Summit team.
After two more gold medal performances from Tyus, Tre has continued the winning, including being a part of the unbeaten 2015 U16 FIBA America’s Championship team on their way to a gold medal.
Tre Jones is an extremely fun guard to watch and is carving his own path by growing into a pure floor general.
Kevin Knox II (Tampa Catholic H.S./Riverview, Fla.)
One of the most improved prep players in the country as well as one of the most decorative offensive players at this year’s training camp is Kevin Knox II. The 6-foot-8 wing can attack the rim and adjust in air as well as any prospect in the country.
Knox II was a member of the 2015 USA U16 National Team that captured the gold medal with a perfect 5-0 record at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Bahia Blanca, Argentina. He played in all five games, started four, averaged a team fourth-best 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 1.6 steals a game while shooting 56.4 percent from the field.
The son of two Florida State Seminole athletes has blossomed into one of the most sought after recruits in the 2017 class. His father, Kevin, played basketball and his mother, Michelle, played volleyball in Tallahassee.
The Seminoles along with the rest of the ‘blueblood’ programs in college basketball are after the services of the No. 7 prospect in the 2017 class.
Romeo Langford (New Albany H.S./New Albany, Ind.)
While on the topic of climbing recruiting rankings, the highest rated recruit in the 2018 class at this year’s training camp is Romeo Langford. This impressive combo guard has showed the ability to display the whole package and is a scoring machine.
Langford has shown that he is skilled at creating and adjusting in mid-air while also being quite the rim protector aid as a 6-foot-4 guard.
As a sophomore at New Albany High School this past year, Langford scored 46 points in a state semifinal game. In a state that breeds high school basketball talent as well as anywhere, Langford is certainly in line to add another chapter to this storied basketball pipeline.
Charles O'Bannon Jr. (Bishop Gorman H.S./Las Vegas, Nev.)
The O’Bannon name runs deep throughout the history of USA Basketball. His father, Charles, won a gold medal playing for USA Basketball at the 1995 World University Games in Fukuoka, Japan, and a silver medal as a member of the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival West Team.
Charles’ uncle, Ed O’Bannon, captured gold in Buffalo, New York, as a member of the 1993 USA World University Games Team; and won gold on the 1990 USA U18 National Team that won the first FIBA Americas U18 Championship to qualify the U.S. for the 1991 FIBA U19 World Championship.
O’Bannon Jr. was named as one of 17 finalists for the 2015 USA U16 National Team.
He has developed a jump shot that is difficult to defend because of his long frame, which garners attention from the premier collegiate programs in the country.
D'Shawn Schwartz (Sand Creek H.S./Colorado Springs, Colo.)
The Colorado Springs local arrives at training camp after participating in the 2015 USA Basketball Junior National Team October minicamp and 2016 USA Basketball Men’s 3x3 U18 National Tournament. The 6-foot-6, 215 pound, lefty showed promise in 2015 as a player that can rely on his tough mentality as a strength.
His passing abilities provide a great advantage as well in the transition game because of the length and composure Schwartz possesses.
Gary Trent Jr. (Apple Valley H.S./Burnsville, Minn.)
The second member in training camp from Apple Valley High School is Tre Jones’ backcourt mate Gary Trent Jr. He was also a member of last year’s U16 National Team that captured the gold medal at the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Trent started in all five games while averaging a team-high 16.8 points per game, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 steals. He was named MVP of the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Along with Knox, Trent provides a scoring paralysis that not many wings utilize to their level around the rim and on the perimeter.
Jarred Vanderbilt (Victory Prep/Houston, Texas)
A combination of Brandon Ingram’s athleticism on the offensive end and the ability to defend the glass like Brice Johnson best describes Vanderbilt’s talent.
At 6-foot-8 and an incredibly long frame, Vanderbilt also exemplifies a modern forward that has the finesse to play on the block as well as explosiveness to get by defenders on the perimeter.
Vanderbilt also won gold as a member of the 2015 U16 National Team. Played and started in all five games, averaged 9.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.8 steals a game while shooting 44.0 percent from the field.
Austin Wiley (Spain Park H.S./Hoover, Ala.)
The most eager participant at this year’s training camp may come from Austin Wiley. Before attending U16 training camp last season, Wiley was ruled unable to participate after having knee surgery on the patella tendon on his left knee in the spring.
At 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds, Wiley is a big frame that likes to live in the paint, but is agile enough to be able to run the floor in transition. His skill set is rounded enough to dominate smaller defenders inside and his matured frame already can handle the rigors of college basketball.
Wiley’s mother, Vickie Wiley, neé Orr, was on the 1992 U.S. Olympic Team that finished with the bronze medal in Barcelona. She won gold at the 1990 FIBA World Championship and Goodwill Games, finished in fifth place at the 1987 World University Games and 1985 FIBA U19 World Championship and captured a gold as a member of the 1985 U.S. Olympic Festival South Team.