From our friends at USA Basketball:
Thirteen players, including five with prior USA Basketball experience, were named Sunday as finalists for the 2011 USA Men’s U19 World Championship Team. The selections, which were made by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee, came after three-days, four training sessions, during the USA U19 Team training camp that got underway Friday. The USA squad will look to defend the gold medal won in 2009 at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship that runs June 30-July 10 in Latvia.
Named as a finalist for the USA U19 World Championship squad were: Keith Appling (Michigan State/Detroit, Mich.); James Bell (Villanova/Orlando, Fla.); Anthony Brown (Stanford/Huntington Beach, Calif.); .); Jahii Carson (Mesa High School/*Arizona State/Phoenix, Ariz.);Tim Hardaway, Jr. (Michigan/Miami, Fla.); Joe Jackson (Memphis/Memphis, Tenn.); Jeremy Lamb (Connecticut/Norcross, Ga.); Meyers Leonard (Illinois/Robinson, Ill.); Khyle Marshall (Butler/Davie, Fla.); Javon McCrea (Buffalo/Newark, N.Y.); Doug McDermott (Creighton/ Ames, Iowa); Tony Mitchell (North Texas/Dallas, Texas); and Patric Young (Florida/Jacksonville, Fla.).
George Mason University mentor Paul Hewitt is head coach of the USA U19 World Championship Team, and is being assisted by collegiate head coaches Randy Bennett of St. Mary’s College and Cliff Warren of Jacksonville University.
“I think our inside players are tremendous. We have some good balance and some guys that can shoot the basketball. Obviously, it was a hard decision to come down to 13, and we still have to make one more decision before we go overseas,” said Hewitt.
“The focus from here has got to be on defense. I don’t think that we can be a team that’s going to have the most continuity, so we have to be a really good defensive team and capitalize on our ability to get stops in transition.”
Training camp for the selected finalists continues Sunday afternoon through Thursday, June 23, with the official 12-member USA U19 roster being announced prior to the team’s departure for Europe on June 24. The 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship for Men is being held June 30-July 10 in Valmiera, Liepaja and Riga, Latvia.
Five of the finalists possess prior USA Basketball experience including two players from the 2010 USA U18 National Team that captured gold at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Mitchell and Young were part of USA Basketball’s 2010 U18 team, while Leonard and Young participated on the USA Junior National Select Team that won the 2010 Nike Hoop Summit.
Other players possessing prior USA Basketball trials experience included Appling and Bell, while Jackson was invited to the 2010 U17 Trials but was unable to participate.
Included among the finalists are 12 student-athletes who attended a NCAA Division I school in 2010-11 and one (Carson) player who completed his high school career this year.
Twelve colleges and nine conferences have representation on the USA finalists roster.
Lamb helped lead the University of Connecticut to the 2011 NCAA title and along the way was named to the NCAA Final Four All-Tournament Team after averaging 16.2 ppg. and 4.8 rpg. Marshall was a freshman for NCAA runner-up Butler.
Six athletes listed among their NCAA conference all-freshman squads following the 2010-11 season, including three who were named their conference’s freshman of the year. McCrea was named the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, and McDermott was named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year and Freshman of the Year. Additionally, Jackson collected MVP honors for the Conference USA Tournament, Lamb was named to the Big East Conference All-Tournament Team and McDermott was also named All-Missouri Valley Conference first team. Named to their respective conference all-freshman teams were: Brown (Pac-10), Hardaway (Big Ten), Lamb (Big East), McCrea (Mid-American), McDermott (Missouri Valley) and Young (Southeastern).
Additionally, McCrea was tabbed by CollegeInsider.com to its Mid-Major Freshmen All-America team; McDermott was named to the USBWA Freshman All-America second team, while Hardaway, McDermott and Young were each named to the 2011 CollegeInsider.com Freshman All-American Team.
The 2009-12 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Committee is chaired by NCAA representative Jim Boeheim (head coach, Syracuse University), and also includes NCAA appointees Lorenzo Romar (head coach, University of Washington), Bruce Weber (head coach, University of Illinois) and Roy Williams (head coach, University of North Carolina); and athlete representative Jay Williams, a member of the 2002 USA World Championship Team.