Players To Watch During USA Men’s U18 National Team Training Camp
Twenty-six athletes begin training camp Tuesday hoping to land a spot on the official 2016 USA Men’s U18 National Team roster. The 12-man squad will represent the U.S. at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship from July 19-23 in Valdivia, Chile.
Of the 26 participants, all eight from the high school class of 2016 are currently ranked on the top 100 national list and 17 of the 18 participants from the class of 2017 are on the top 100 national list, according to ESPN.com.
The 2014 USA U18s were another star-studded USA Basketball team, led by current NBA players Stanley Johnson and Justise Winslow.
With another highly touted U18 training group roster in Colorado Springs, Colorado meet some of this year’s participants who are hoping to add to the USA’s all-time record of 48-2 in the FIBA Americas U18 competition:
Jarrett Allen (St. Stephen's Episcopal School/Round Rock, Texas)
There’s a subtle nature about Allen when you watch the big man in the paint offensively. At 6-foot-10 and 220 pounds, he never seems rushed when the ball is in his hands, and he has the ability to finish with force.
After six seniors graduated from the University of Texas, Allen committed on June 3 and hopes to fit in nicely with the Longhorns. This year’s 2016 Nike Hoop Summit participant will get his first chance to be coached by Texas head coach Shaka Smart, who is head coach of the 2016 USA U18 squad, when the U18 training camp begins.
Mohamed Bamba (Westtown School, Pa./New York, N.Y.)
One of the most athletic post players in the ’17 class, Bamba brings a unique skillset for a 6-foott-11 forward. He’s a natural shot blocker with great lateral quickness and can affect the game on the defensive end by his presence in the paint.
Bamba’s ability to run the floor in transition creates mismatches. His offensive game has also evolved away from the basket, and he is showing more comfort in his jump shot, allowing his potential and the hype around him to grow with it.
Javin DeLaurier (St.Anne's-Belfield School/Shipman, Va.)
DeLaurier is among the star-studded recruiting class heading to play at Duke University next year along with Marques Bolden, Harry Giles, Frank Jackson, Jayson Tatum and Jack White.
He is able to contribute in more aspects than most prospects can at his age, including outside scoring, an offensive rebounding presence and the ability to run in transition. At 6-foot-9, DeLaurier is long and agile for his size. His ability to play big on the wing or small in the post makes him a versatile asset for the Blue Devils next season.
Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Science Academy/Corona, N.Y.)
This 6-foot-5 guard offers rare explosiveness around the rim allowing him to avoid shot blockers with ease. Because he displays an above-average vertical leap, Diallo is an additional rebounder who can lead the fast break instantaneously.
His mid-range game on offense makes him even tougher to guard for any defender that expects him to drive to the rim every time down the floor.
Markelle Fultz (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Upper Marlboro, Md.)
This 6-foot-4 guard’s story has been covered across the country in his ascension to being one of the top prospects in the 2016 high school class. Fultz didn’t make the varsity team at DeMatha Catholic High School during his sophomore season and spent the entire year on the JV team.
Since then, Fultz has blossomed into one of the most complete guard prospects in his class. The long strider in transition that Fultz has turned into, makes him incredibly hard to guard. It hasn’t been an easy path to this point for Fultz and he still plays with the same underdog mentality as he did two short years ago.
Quade Green (Neumann-Goretti H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.)
It takes a special athlete to thrive in the historically tough Philadelphia Catholic League the way in which Green has entering his senior season. Like any great point guard, Green’s vision and ability to penetrate into the lane on offense stands as his strongest attributes. He can be relied on as a scorer when needed to add more to his already potent offensive arsenal.
Don’t be fooled by his 5-foot-11, 155-pound frame. Green has a toughness about him and doesn’t show any lack of confidence when attacking the rim.
Michael Porter Jr. (Father Tolton Catholic H.S./Columbia, Mo.)
One of the most composed players in the 2017 class describes Porter Jr. The 6-foot-9 wing has an above-average knowledge of the game and knows how to attack defenders.
The basketball intelligence comes from his father, Michael Sr., who played at the University of New Orleans and who recently accepted a job to be an assistant coach at the University of Washington. The blossoming Porter Jr. has the intangibles to make an impact at the next level when his time comes.