2012 USA Men’s U18 National Team Announced
From our friends at USA Basketball:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 9, 2012) - The 12-man USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team was announced Saturday night following the team’s ninth practice since June 5. Featuring some of the nation’s top 18-year-old and younger players, the USA team will compete in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20 in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil. The U.S. team will continue to train through June 11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and will depart June 12 for Brazil. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1994.
Named a member of the USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team were: Nathaniel Britt, II (Gonzaga H.S., D.C./Upper Marlboro, Md.); Sam Dekker (Sheboygan Lutheran H.S./Sheboygan, Wis.); Shaq Goodwin (Southwest DeKalb H.S./Decatur, Ga.); Jerami Grant (DeMatha Catholic/Bowie, Md.); Montrezl Harrell (Hargrave Military Academy/Tarboro, N.C.); Jake Layman (King Phillip Regional H.S./Wrentham, Mass.); Rodney Purvis (Upper Room Christian/Raleigh, N.C.); Julius Randle (Prestonwood Christian Academy/ McKinney, Texas); James Robinson (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Mitchellville, Md.); Marcus Smart (Marcus H.S./Flower Mound, Texas); Jarnell Stokes (Memphis, Tenn.); and Rasheed Sulaimon (Strake Jesuit College Prep/Houston, Texas).
The 2012 USA U18 National Team is being led by a trio of experienced and successful college coaches, including USA head coach Billy Donovan of the University of Florida). Assisting Donovan along the sidelines are Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and Shaka Smart from Virginia Commonwealth.
“I think we’ve got some balance, we’ve got some versatility, we can move guys to some different positions. This has been a group that has picked up things pretty well so far so I’m excited about it,” said Donovan. “The thing I’ve been most impressed with since we started is just their attitudes. It seems like we’ve got really good chemistry, they get along real well, they seem to be a cohesive group.
“I think we have to play up tempo; we have to offensive rebound; and I think the other thing for our team that we have to get better at is taking care of the basketball. I think when you’ve got a lot of players that are thrown together and are now starting to play, they don’t really know each other.
“But I definitely think rebounding and transition are going to be important keys, and I also think defensively how well we can guard the 3-point line,” added Donovan.
Included on the official U.S. team roster is rising University of Tennessee sophomore Stokes, who is the lone collegian named to the team. Graduating high school seniors Robinson and Sulaimon boast of the only prior USA Basketball experience having suited up for the USA in April at the 15th annual Nike Hoop Summit.
In addition to rising college sophomore Stokes, who listed on the 2011-12 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman team, Smart (Texas) took home his second-consecutive Gatorade State Player of the Year honor in 2012; while Dekker (Wis.) and Purvis (N.C.) were named their state’s 2012 Gatorade State Player of the Year; and Britt (D.C.) earned the honor in 2011.
2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship For Men
Eight teams will compete in the 2012 U18 Americas zone qualifier, including the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The top four finishing teams in the tournament will qualify for next summer’s 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The USA will open play against U.S. Virgin Islands on June 16 (1 p.m. EDT), followed by Mexico on June 17 (1 p.m. EDT) and Brazil on June 18 (5 p.m. EDT). The top two teams from Group A and Group B will advance to play for 1st-4th place, while the No. 3 and No. 4 ranked teams play out for 5th-8th place. The semifinals will be played on June 19, and the gold medal game will be contested on June 20.
In the hunt for a sixth gold medal, USA men’s teams are 38-2 overall in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship (formerly known as the Junior World Championship Qualifier), and have won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010, silver in 2008 and bronze in 2002.
The USA is the reigning champion from the 2010 U18 tournament, when Quincy Miller (Baylor) hit a game winning 3-pointer to help down Brazil, 81-78. The USA brought home silver in 2008 after falling to host Argentina despite a tournament MVP performance by Kemba Walker (Charlotte Bobcats).
Former U.S. players of note in the U18 championship include: Carmelo Anthony (2002); Chris Bosh (2002); Spencer Hawes (2006); Grant Hill (1990); Andre Iguodala (2002); Kyrie Irving (2010); Austin Rivers (2010); Kyle Singler (2006); Walker (2008); and Deron Williams (2002).
About USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
Since 2008, USA Basketball men’s and women’s teams have compiled a sterling 134-6 win-loss record in FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions of the Olympics and FIBA World Championship; FIBA women’s U19 world champions; the men’s and women’s title holders for the FIBA U17 World Championship; and the men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas champions. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA’s world ranking categories, including combined, men’s, women’s, boys and girls.