USA Basketball Junior National Select Team Announced for NCAA Next Generation Sunday at 2018 NCAA Men’s Final Four
Featuring 24 basketball players from the high school class of 2019 and including five USA Basketball gold medalists, USA Basketball today announced the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Select Team that will take part in the NCAA Next Generation Sunday at the 2018 NCAA Men’s Final Four.
The NCAA is launching its Next Generation Sunday at the 2018 Men’s Final Four to provide unprecedented opportunities for potential future student-athletes and celebrate the future of college basketball.
“The Next Generation program is an exciting and a remarkable opportunity for everyone involved,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “It will provide great insight to our young athletes about eligibility, recruiting and health and safety, while also providing them with an opportunity to experience the excitement of the NCAA Final Four.”
The USA Basketball Junior National Select Team will receive educational programming focused on topics such as recruiting, health and safety issues and nutrition, while also attending the Final Four games and scrimmaging against the NBA Africa and Global Academies.
Named to the team were five USA Basketball gold medalists from the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship this past summer, including tournament MVP Vern Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.), De’Vion Harmon (Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas), Wendell Moore Jr. (Cox Mill H.S./Charlotte, N.C.), Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./New Haven, Mich.) and James Wiseman (Memphis East H.S./Nashville, Tenn.).
Eleven other athletes have attended at least one USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October Minicamp, including Cole Anthony (Archbishop Molloy H.S./New York, N.Y.), Bryan Antoine (Ranney School/Tinton Falls, N.J.), Juwan Gary (Gray Collegiate Academy/Columbia, S.C.), Zach Harvey (Hayden H.S./Topeka, Kan.), Matthew Hurt (John Marshall H.S./Rochester, Minn.), Scottie Lewis (Ranney School/Hazlet, N.J.), Isaac Okoro (McEachern H.S./Powder Springs, Ga.), Isaiah Stewart (La Lumiere School, Ind./Rochester, N.Y.) and Trendon Watford (Mountain Brook H.S./Mountain Brook, Ala.).
Rounding out the roster are USA Basketball newcomers: Armando Bacot (Trinity Episcopal School/Richmond, Va.), Joey Baker (Trinity Christian School/Fayetteville, N.C.), Will Baker (Westlake H.S./Austin, TX), Keion Brooks (North Side H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.), Trayce Jackson-Davis (Center Grove H.S./Greenwood, Ind.), Josiah James (Porter-Gaud School/Charleston, S.C.), Jalen Lecque (Christ School/Bronx, N.Y.), Tyrese Maxey (South Garland H.S./Dallas, Texas), Pat McCaffery (West H.S./Iowa City, Iowa) and Mark Watts Jr. (Old Redford Academy/Detroit, Mich.).
The USA Junior National Select Team will be led by Don Showalter (USA Basketball), who has won nine-straight gold medals at the helm of the USA men’s U16 and U17 national teams since 2009. The USA assistant coaches will be Scott Fitch (Fairport H.S., N.Y.) and Stan Waterman (Sanford School, Del.), who assisted Showalter as the USA won gold at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
NCAA Next Generation Sunday
NCAA Next Generation Sunday will take place on Sunday, April 1 and features partnerships with USA Basketball and NBA Academies for high school-age prospects from both organizations to travel to San Antonio to participate in educational, life skills and competitive programming as part of the Final Four experience.
“Through our Next Generation Sunday program, we will provide a meaningful experience for future college students and introduce them to one of the greatest sporting events in the world,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president for basketball. “Our goal is that these future college students will benefit now and in the future as students, athletes and overall as individuals.”
Participating students from across the country and around the world will receive educational and life skills programming focused on a variety of subjects, including recruiting, eligibility and health and wellness.
Along with these educational opportunities, students will experience aspects of the Final Four from a player’s perspective. They will go behind the scenes in the locker rooms, view team lounges, tour the stadium and attend the Final Four games.
Next Generation Sunday also will feature a competition between the four teams from the NBA Academies, the NBA’s signature international development initiative that consists of a network of basketball training centers around the world to develop top prospects from outside the United States. The teams will scrimmage one another during the NCAA’s Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One on Sunday, April 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scrimmages are open to all fans who attend Fan Fest.
The four participating NBA Academy teams, representing the league’s academies in Africa, Australia, China and Latin America, will also compete against the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team in closed scrimmages during their time in San Antonio. In addition, the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team will compete in a closed intrasquad scrimmage on the Final Four court at the Alamodome on Sunday, April 1.
The NBA Academies employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, character development and life skills. Through local partnerships, student-athletes either attend a local public school or receive a scholarship to a local private school, and all student-athletes receive academic support as needed.
“We are excited to partner with the NCAA and USA Basketball to provide NBA Academy prospects with the opportunity to experience the excitement of the Final Four,” said Brooks Meek, NBA vice president, international basketball operations & head of elite basketball. “This new event is a great opportunity for NBA Academy prospects to receive important educational and life skills programming, while competing on the court against top competition.”