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Day One in the Books at USA Basketball U.S. Open Basketball Championship

  • Date:
    Jul 19, 2018

USA Basketball’s inaugural U.S. Open Basketball Championships got underway in a big way Thursday at the Pacers Athletic Center located just outside of Indianapolis, in Westfield, Indiana.


Featuring 72 teams from 25 states and Canada, the 2018 U.S. Open Basketball Championships consist of six groups of play: eighth grade boys, eighth grade girls, 13 and under boys, 13 and under girls, 12 and under boys and 12 and under girls. 


Preliminary play in each group got underway Thursday and the competition was fast and furious. However, this is a different event – it’s not all about wins and losses.


The 2018 U.S. Open Basketball Championships are a USA Basketball youth initiative that is intended to add opportunity, standards and quality to the youth basketball environment.  


Offered through USA Basketball’s Youth Development division, the U.S. Open Basketball Championships is an inclusive tournament structure in which existing basketball tournaments meeting USA Basketball approved youth development standards qualified teams for the 2018 U.S. Open Basketball Championships. 


In addition to following established development standards, and using modified international rule, the U.S. Open Basketball Championships requires all coaches to possess a valid USA Basketball Coach License. 


Preliminary round play will conclude Friday. The eighth grade boys and girls gold medal games of the 2018 U.S. Open Basketball Championships live on Sunday, July 22 (12 p.m. EDT with boys following at 2 p.m. EDT). The 13U boys and girls gold medal games on July 22 will be available for streaming at, as well as on the USA Basketball Facebook page and USA Basketball YouTube channel.


A whole bunch of fun, close games on day one!

Check out this last-second game-winner from Grand Park Premier Red in the 13U Boys division!

📍 U.S. Open Basketball Championships

While the tournament saw a number of down-to-the-wire games, none were closer than the  Grand Park Premier Red 2020 Team’s game versus the AGB Hawks of Iowa.  Grand Park Premier, a local Indiana club, pulled out a 54-53 W when 13 year old guardTrey Buchananhit a 3-pointer with just seconds left in the game.


“I got the ball and my first instinct was to just go, just try to get it down the court,” said Buchanan of his game-winner. “At first I was looking for a teammate, but then I just got a good look at it and so I just kind of floated it up there. It wasn’t really a shot, I just kind of let it go. I don’t really even remember it either, it was all like in a flash.”


Did he think the buzzer-beater was going in? “Yeah, it felt pretty good coming off.”




The tournament features teams of differing competition levels. Some traveled long distances, others had much shorter trips. Fun and a quality competition is what each team came for.


The Toronto NuStep Ballers are one of two teams from Canada participating in the U.S. Open Basketball Championships. Head coach Omar Nichollssaid this USA Basketball competition was exactly what he was looking for his team.


“When we got the invitation from USA Basketball (after participating in a qualifying tournament) it was a no-brainer for us,” said Nicholls. “I know the reputation, I follow online, so I wanted to go to a very good tournament where all the best of the best would be.


“My team is from Toronto, they’re a bunch of scrappy players, they love sharing the ball, moving it, defense is our main thing. 


Off to a 2-0 start on day one, Nicholls believes the tournament is everything he was looking for.


“This is by far one of the best with the shot clock, the rules, the quality of the teams. The players get to see teams from different states, different styles in a very organized, professional manner, and the referees have been great. You see all different type of defenses and offenses, it’s really good.”


“This is my first year, but the team came last year,” said Deysha Smith-Jenkins,head coach of girls eighth grade Wisconsin Shooters. “We’ve been really looking forward to this. We’re a good team in Wisconsin, but of course you want to cross those borders and see some new competition. So, we were definitely looking forward to this. It’s something we starred on our schedule this summer.


“The experience is awesome, and the exposure for the players is incredible. If you’re good in one state or you’re a top player, it’s good to measure yourself here against top players from the South or out West. I hope this helps our players see where they are as they enter high school.”


Buchanan, echoed both coaches’ feelings, stating, “This has been pretty fun. There are better teams that we’re playing against. Instead of just playing against Indiana teams you’re playing against teams from all over.”




The U.S. Open Basketball Championships are being conducted in accordance with USA Basketball’s youth guidelines and are using modified FIBA international rules, including four, eight-minute quarters and a 30-second shot clock. Every coach in the tournament is a USA Basketball licensed coach.


How do the players and coaches like having a shot clock?


“It’s a good challenge. I love the rules,” Smith-Jenkins said. “This makes you wish you had a shot clock in high school basketball. I think this is good for them to get this level of experience that could prepare them for the next level past high school. I really like that USA Basketball is challenging eighth graders, seventh graders and sixth graders to play under some new circumstances.”


Nicholls, who because Canada uses international basketball rules, is much more accustomed to playing with a shot clock.


“That was number one thing that I saw and told the kids. When I saw the shot clock it made it seem more professional. Now you can’t just stall and waste time, you have to actually have strategy, move the ball and execute. I wish the shot clock was introduced in seventh grade, maybe even if it is just for a half. I think the kids should learn to play with a shot clock to prepare them for high school so they’re no shell shocked. I love it!


Players seem to enjoy the challenge of playing with a shot clock too.


“Playing with a shot clock is a big difference for us,” Buchanan said. “We had to go a lot faster than we usually have to do.”




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