Sixteen Finalists Announced for USA Men’s U16 National Team
Following four practice sessions featuring 27 athletes who are 16 and younger, 16 finalists were announced Saturday evening and remain in the hunt for one of 12 roster spots on the 2021 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team.
The finalists are competing for one of 12 spots on the USA team that will compete in the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship that will be played Aug. 23-29 in Xalapa, Mexico. The USA team, which will continue daily training in Houston, will be named prior to the team’s departure for the tournament on Aug. 19.
Players eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 2005.
Named as finalists for 2021 USA U16 National Team are: Kylan Boswell (Arizona Compass H.S./ Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.); David Castillo (Bartlesville H.S./Bartlesville, Okla.); Jacolb Cole (Bellaire H.S./Houston, Texas); Naasir Cunningham (Gill St. Bernard's School/West Orange, N.J.); Jaylen Curry (Vance H.S./Charlotte, N.C.); Robert Dillingham (Combine Academy/Hickory, N.C.); Dennis Evans (Hillcrest H.S./Riverside, Calif.); Jeremy Fears (La Lumiere School/Chicago, Ill.); Ronald Holland (Duncanville H.S./Dallas, Texas); Ian Jackson (Cardinal Hayes H.S./Bronx, N.Y.); Ryan "RJ" Jones Jr. (The Rock School/Gainesville, Fla.); Jalen Lewis (Overtime Elite/Oakland, Calif.); Liam McNeeley (John Paul II H.S./Richardson, Texas); Justin McBride (Oak Hill Academy, Va./Plano, Texas); Jaylin Stewart (Garfield H.S./Kent, Wash.); and Bryson Tucker (Mount St. Joseph H.S./Bowie, Md.).
“First of all, the intensity and effort that these guys gave throughout this training camp has been awesome,” said USA U16 National Team head coach Sharman White (Pace Academy, Ga.). “They played the game at a high level, they've competed at a high level, they've responded to coaching and they've gotten better. They've made our jobs very challenging and regardless of the outcome these guys are going to be better basketball players as they continue down their journey of basketball. It's just been an honor to be able to work with them and see them play at such a high level throughout this camp.
“I thought the talent here was a second to none. We have some phenomenal players. We'll hear about these guys for the next few years as they progress through it and not just the talent part, but the kind of men they are. Again, their attitudes were upbeat the entire time, they responded very well to coaching and they worked well as a group, they were very cohesive and that's what USA Basketball is about. So, they definitely fit what the culture is here."
The list of finalists includes 14 players who attended the USA Men’s Junior National Team minicamp this past May and two athletes, Cunningham and Fears, who are playing in their first USA Basketball experience.
Finalists from the class of 2023 are: Boswell, Cole, Curry, Dillingham, Evans, Fears, Holland, Lewis, McBride and Stewart.
Finalists from the class of 2024 are: Castillo, Cunningham, Jackson Jones Jr.; McNeeley and Tucker.
Assisting White with the 2021 USA U16 National Team are assistant coaches Eric Flannery (St. Edward H.S., Ohio) and Steve Turner (Gonzaga College H.S., D.C.).
At the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship the USA men will play in Group B and will meet Puerto Rico on Aug. 23 (3:30 p.m. EDT), Dominican Republic on Aug. 24 (12:30 p.m. EDT) and Chile on Aug. 25. (12:30 p.m. EDT). Rounding out the field in Group A are Argentina, Brazil, Canada and host Mexico.
After playing each of the teams in its groups, all eight teams advance to the quarterfinals on Aug. 27. The quarterfinal winners play in the semifinals on Aug. 28. On Aug. 29, the semifinal winners meet in the gold medal game, while the semifinal losers play in the bronze medal game.
The top four finishing teams at the 2021 FIBA Americas U16 Championship will qualify for the 2022 FIBA Men’s U17 World Cup.
A biennial event launched in 2009 and open to athletes 16 years old or younger, the FIBA Americas U16 Championship features eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. The USA Basketball men are 31-0 in FIBA Americas U16 Championship play and have won the gold medal in all six editions of the tournament since its debut in 2009.