Gold Medal Winning Coaches Return to Lead USA Men’s U16 National Team
The 2021 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team will be led by Mike Jones (DeMatha Catholic H.S., Md.) with assistant coaches Eric Flannery (St. Edward H.S., Ohio) and Sharman White (Pace Academy, Ga.), who together already have helped USA Basketball men’s U16 and U17 teams to a combined seven gold medals, including in 2019 when the trio led the USA U16 National Team to a 6-0 record.
The USA will compete in the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, where the top four finishing teams will earn a berth into the 2022 FIBA U17 World Cup. The coaching selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Committee.
“The committee felt these three coaches were the right group to lead the USA U16 National Team in 2021,” said Sean Ford, committee chair and USA Basketball Men’s National Team director. “More than the fact that they were not able to coach in 2020 as expected, Mike, Eric and Sharman have outstanding experience coaching with USA Basketball, and they will lead this U16 team by exemplifying and developing the values of the USA Basketball Junior National Team program that they have been a huge part of creating.”
Jones will serve in his 22nd USA Basketball coaching assignment, which included three roles in 2019, including the 2019 U16 gold medal, serving as a lead coach at the 2019 USA Men's Junior National Team July minicamp and as a court coach at the 2019 USA Men's Junior National Team October minicamp.
Jones also has served as head coach of the USA Nike Hoop Summit Team three times, in 2013, 2014 and 2018 and as a USA Hoop Summit assistant in 2012 and 2017. He got his start as an assistant for the 2004 Youth Development Festival East Team. He won gold medals with the 2011 U16 team and 2012 and 2016 U17 teams.
“I am truly honored to represent our country and to work with such a great staff and tremendous young men,” Jones said. “We know that we have a challenge ahead of us, and we will embrace it, prepare for it, and we look forward to competing with some of the best talent from the Americas. We are very excited and anxious to get back on the court and to chase a gold medal.”
A 20-year head coach at DeMatha Catholic High School, where he won a national title in 2006, Jones owns an all-time record at DeMatha of 511-119 (.811 winning percentage).
In 2020-21, Jones led DeMatha to an 11-0 record. In 2019-20, his team earned a 30-3 record and won an eighth Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship (2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2018 and 2020).
Flannery will enter his 14th USA coaching role in 2021. Previously, he has been an assistant for the 2019 USA U16 team and for the 2016 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team, a head coach for the 2015 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team and an assistant coach for the 2014 U17 World Cup Team and 2013 U16 National Team.
He also served as a court coach at the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019 USA JNT October minicamps; and in 2010, he was head coach for the USA Youth Olympic Games Team (3x3). Additionally, he was a long-time member of the USA Basketball Developmental National Team Committee (2001-12 and 2017-18).
“I'm excited to be returning to coach with USA Basketball,” Flannery said. “It is and always will be an honor to be selected and to work with some of the best players and coaches in the country. There is nothing better than representing your country in your profession, and the fact that I can do it with some of the best in the world is such a great feeling. Also, since last year was cancelled it will be great to get back with Coach Jones and Coach White and try to accomplish what we were unable to finish.”
Flannery recently completed his 25th season (1996-97 to present) with the St. Edward Eagles, and has compiled a 483-132 overall record (.785).
In 2020-21, the Eagles finished 15-5 and reached the state tournament D1 regional semifinals. In 2019-20, Flannery and his team went 25-1 and reached the state tournament D1 regional finals before the tournament was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
White will undertake his 10th USA coaching assignment. He was named head coach of the 2020 USA Nike Hoop Summit Team, but the event was cancelled due to the pandemic.
In the summer of 2019, White helped lead the USA to a gold medal as an assistant coach for the 2019 U16 Team, and he was a court coach at the 2019 USA Men's JNT July minicamp. White also has served as a court coach at the 2018 USA U17 training camp, he was a gold-medal winning assistant for the 2015 USA U16 team and he has been a coach at the 2014, 2015, 2018 and 2019 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October Minicamps.
“I am extremely excited and honored to be returning to USA Basketball with the 2021 U16 team,” White said. “With all the challenges over the past year with the pandemic and not being able to go for the U17 World Cup last summer, myself along with Mike (Jones) and Eric (Flannery) welcome this opportunity to start the process again and hopefully this time we can get the chance to finish the drill.”
White recently completed his third season in 2020-21 as the head boys basketball coach at Pace Academy in Georgia, and this past season he led his squad to a 28-2 record a 2021 Georgia 2A state title and the first round of the GEICO Nationals. In 2019-20, White and Pace Academy finished 28-4 and won a Georgia 3A state title.
Overall, in 23 seasons as a high school head coach, he has compiled a 449-106 record (.809 winning percentage) through the 2020-21 season.
Played every two years, the FIBA Americas U16 Championship debuted in 2009, and the USA men have won gold in all six editions and have compiled a 31-0 all-time record at the event.
In 2021, the FIBA Americas U16 Championship will feature North American teams Canada and the USA; Centrobasket representatives Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and one team still to be determined; and South American representatives Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
In addition to Ford, the USA Basketball Developmental National Team Committee includes: at-large representative Flannery; athlete representatives Keith Langford and Damien Wilkins; NFHS representative John Olive; and AAU representative Boo Williams.