NCAA, USA Basketball and NBA to Provide Top National and Global High School-Age Players with Educational and Athletic Opportunities at 2019 Men’s and Women’s Final Fours
The NCAA, USA Basketball and the NBA will bring top male and female high school-age players from around the nation and world to the 2019 Men’s and Women’s Final Fours, offering potential future student-athletes extraordinary opportunities to celebrate the game of basketball and learn more about their sport within the context of higher education.
The players will travel to Minneapolis and Tampa, respectively, for a weekend of player development and educational programming as part of Next Generation Sunday and, for the first time, Women’s Next Generation Saturday.
Hosted by the NCAA in partnership with USA Basketball and the NBA Academies program, and with support from the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, the collaboration provides young athletes with educational and life-skills sessions, allows them to compete against their peers from around the world, and lets them experience aspects of the Final Four from a player’s perspective, including attending Final Four semifinal games.
Launched at last year’s Men’s Final Four, Next Generation is part of the expanded USA Basketball Junior National Team Program in partnership with the NCAA, NBA and National Basketball Players Association.
“We are excited to continue our Next Generation programming and introduce young athletes to not just one but two of the greatest sporting events in the world,” said NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt. “We want to provide a meaningful experience for these student-athletes while strengthening the game of basketball at all levels.”
“Next Generation is a valuable initiative to work with our stakeholder groups to unify the game,” said NCAA vice president of women’s basketball Lynn Holzman. “Including women’s programming for the first time in the upcoming Women’s Final Four is an exciting opportunity, and we look forward to meeting and working with these women’s players from all over the world.”
Men’s teams representing the NBA Academies in Africa, Australia, China and Latin America will scrimmage one another during Next Generation Sunday at the Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One on April 7 in Minneapolis.
NBA Academies Women’s Program participants from Africa, Australia, China, India, and Mexico, in addition to select players from Canada and Europe, will compete in a three-day minicamp led by NBA Academies Women’s Program Technical Directors Jennifer Azzi and Blair Hardiek, culminating with exhibition games at Next Generation Saturday on April 6 at the Women’s Final Four.
Both Next Generation Sunday and Women’s Next Generation Saturday will be open to all fans who attend the Men’s Final Four Fan Fest and Women’s Final Four Tourney Town presented by Capital One.
Approximately 60 members of the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team from the high school classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 and select members from USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Teams will participate in the Next Generation programs. Members from USA Basketball’s Men’s and Women’s Junior National Teams will also take part in closed competitions with the NBA Academies during their time in Minneapolis and Tampa.
“USA Basketball is delighted to be a part of the Next Generation events at the Women’s and Men’s NCAA Final Fours,” said USA Basketball chief executive officer Jim Tooley. “The Next Generation program not only provides another valuable training opportunity for the USA Basketball Junior National Team and 3x3 players, but it also helps educate our young athletes about eligibility, recruiting and health and safety, and they get a real chance to experience the excitement of being part of the NCAA Final Four.”
“Next Generation will once again provide prospects from our seven NBA Academies with the opportunity to compete against their peers from around the world, while also participating in life-skills and educational programming that will benefit them as people and players,” said NBA Vice President, Head of Elite Development Brooks Meek. “The expansion to the Women’s Final Four is an exciting milestone for The NBA Academies Women’s Program as we continue to create a predictable development pathway for top male and female players from outside the U.S. to maximize their potential.”