Sixteen Finalists Remain For 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team
Following five training sessions that featured 32 of the nation’s top 16-and-under male basketball players June 1-3 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 16 finalists for the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s National Team were announced.
Named as finalists for the 2017 USA U16 National Team were: Jabri Abdur-Rahim (Seton Hall Prep School/Short Hills, N.J.); Scottie Barnes (Cardinal Newman H.S./Welllington, Fla.); Vern Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.); Eric Dixon (Abington H.S./Willow Grove, Pa.); Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial H.S./Fresno, Calif.); Lynn Greer III (Roman Catholic H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.); R.J. Hampton (Little Elm H.S./Little Elm, Texas); De'Vion Harmon (John Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas); Zion Harmon (Bowling Green H.S./Bowling Green, Ky.); Nico Mannion (Pinnacle H.S./Scottsdale, Ariz.); Wendell Moore Jr. (Cox Mill H.S./Concord, N.C.); Jeremy Roach (Paul VI Catholic H.S./Leesburg, Va.); Jalen Suggs (Minnehaha Academy H.S./St. Paul, Minn.); Isaiah Todd (John Marshall H.S./Richmond, Va.); Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./Chesterfield, Mich.); and James Wiseman (The Ensworth School/Nashville, Tenn.).
“We have 16 really good and versatile players that were chosen to stay on our squad for at least a couple more days,” said USA U16 National Team head coach Don Showalter. “What’s impressed me the most is how hard they worked. It’s a really good group overall from that standpoint. We have a lot of kids who can play different positions. They can play maybe two, maybe three positions, which, as we all know, is very important at the international level.
“As far as getting down to the final 12, some kids are going to show us a little more than they did over the past few days, and some players may not show as much. I think they’ll separate themselves in the next three or four practices.
“It’ll be nice to work with a smaller group, because starting today we’ll be putting in different plays and really getting into the offenses and defenses we’re going to run in Argentina.
“Overall, with the 32 kids we had in here this weekend, I was really impressed with how locked in they all were. They were really good teammates. This is my fifth U16 group, and this might be the best overall group that we’ve had as a unit for attitude, hard work, effort. They helped each other, they really wanted to make each other better, and I think that was great.”
The finalists will remain in Colorado Springs for at least three more training sessions, two on Sunday, at 10:30 a.m. (all times local, MDT) and 4:30 p.m., and at 9:30 a.m. on June 5, before the final, 12-member team is expected to be announced. The team will continue to train at the USOTC twice a day (9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) through June 9 prior to departing for Argentina and the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
The 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship will be held June 14-18 in Formosa, Argentina, and the top four finishing teams not including Argentina will qualify for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup for Men. Argentina has earned a bid to host the 2018 U17 World Cup and therefore earned an automatic berth to next year’s U17 World Cup.
Selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Committee. Athletes eligible for this team must be 16 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 2001) and U.S. citizens.
The U.S. squad will practice in Formosa June 11-13 before tipping off preliminary play June 14 against Puerto Rico. The USA will face Dominican Republic on June 15 and cap preliminary games against Mexico on June 16. Semifinals will be held June 17 and the finals are on June 18. Playing in Group A will be Argentina, Canada, Paraguay and Venezuela.
Showalter will be assisted on the sideline by Scott Fitch (Fairport H.S., N.Y.) and Stan Waterman (Sanford School, Del.).
USA Basketball has claimed the gold medal in all four editions of the biennial event, which was first held in 2009, and under the direction of Showalter, the USA is now 20-0 in FIBA Americas U16 Championship action.
As of March 1, 2017, 13 of the 48 former USA U16 National Team members were under contract in the NBA, four were competing professionally in international leagues, 20 were competing in the NCAA and 11 were still in high school.
USA U16 team members of note include: Bradley Beal (2009), Quinn Cook (2009), Aaron Gordon (2011), Markus Howard (2015), James Michael McAdoo (2009), Malik Newman (2013), Jahlil Okafor (2011), Jabari Parker (2011), Diamond Stone (2013); Gary Trent Jr. (2015), Jarred Vanderbilt (2015) and Seventh Woods (2013).
USA Basketball Men’s National Team director Sean Ford serves as chair of the USA Men’s Developmental National Team Committee, which selects athletes and coaches for this team. The committee also includes 2015 Pan American Games bronze medalists Keith Langford and Damien Wilkins as the athlete representatives. Serving as at-large representatives are Evan Daniels of Scout.com and FOX Sports and St. Edward High School (Ohio) head coach Eric Flannery, who served as head coach of the 2015 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team and who was an assistant coach for the gold medal winning 2013 USA U16 Championship and 2014 USA U17 World Championship teams. Torrey Pines High School (Calif.) head coach John Olive, who served as a head coach of the 2009 USA Nike Hoop Summit team, will represent the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and Boo Williams of Boo Williams AAU will represent the Amateur Athletic Association.