USA Men's Developmental National Team Trains With Eye Towards 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship
Oct. 10, 2009 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
On the first morning of mini-camp, USA head coach Don Showalter (Mid-Prairie H.S., Iowa) told the 2009-10 Men's Developmental National Team that they should be proud of the hard work they dedicated to USA Basketball this past summer and the gold medal the USA won at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Then he directed the team to look to the future. Looming ahead is the inaugural 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship and some very tough competition.
The USA coaching staff, however, will not be starting from scratch. Eighteen players were in attendance this past June 6-9 for the first DNT training camp, and 12 of those gained valuable experience while helping the USA to a gold medal and a perfect 5-0 record at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Mendoza, Argentina.
Only Michael Gilchrist (St. Patrick H.S. / Somerdale, N.J.), who was added to the 2009-10 DNT roster on Sept. 28, and Marquis Teague (Pike H.S. / Indianapolis, Ind.), who was unable to attend last summer's training camp, are donning a USA jersey for the first time. Due to injury, Tony Wroten, Jr. (Garfield H.S. / Renton, Wash.) is not attending mini-camp.
'Everybody has been helping Mike and me,' Teague said. 'They are letting us know where we need to be. It's been very good so far. Everybody has been supportive because they know we don't know the plays. I just want to come in here and compete because I know that there isn't anything set in stone. No matter what you are ranked or who you are, it's all about what you do while you're wearing this USA jersey.'
The twelve players who wore a USA jersey at the U16 FIBA Americas Championship set an impressive standard in the first ever U16 zone qualifier. The USA dominated the tournament, winning its five games by an average of 33.8 points per game.
Helping the USA to the U16 gold medal and a qualifying berth into the 2010 U17 World Championship were: Justin Anderson (Montrose Christian School, Md. / Montross, Va.); Brad Beal (Chaminade College Prep H.S. / St. Louis, Mo.); Quinn Cook (DeMatha H.S. / Bowie, Md.); AndrÃ© Drummond (St. Thomas More School / Middletown, Conn.); Sterling Gibbs (Seton Hall Prep / Scotch Plains, N.J.); Brandan Kearney (Southeastern H.S. / Detroit, Mich.); James McAdoo (Norfolk Christian H.S. / Norfolk, Va.); Johnny O'Bryant (Eastside H.S. / Cleveland, Miss.); Tony Parker (Miller Grove H.S. / Lithonia, Ga.); Chasson Randle (Rock Island H.S. / Rock Island, Ill.); L.J. Rose (Second Baptist School / Houston, Texas); and Adonis Thomas (Melrose H.S. / Cordova, Tenn.).
Three U.S. players ranked No. 1 in the eight-team field for individual marks. Cook ranked No. 1 with 5.0 apg., Gibbs ranked No. 1 with a 7.0 assist-to-turnover ratio and Beal led the tournament in 3-point field goals made with 18. Additionally, Beal averaged a team-high 19.0 ppg., O'Bryant grabbed a USA-leading 9.8 rpg. and McAdoo tallied team second-bests of 16.8 ppg. and 8.6 rpg.
'The atmosphere was crazy,' Thomas said. 'A lot of people were eager to see their team compete against the USA team. It's something they don't get a chance to see everyday, so they came out to support their team. We knew the crowd would be like that, so we had to play together and work hard.
'I think the atmosphere will be even better at the Worlds,' Thomas continued. 'There will be a lot more people and a lot more teams in the tournament. It's going to be in Europe against better competition, so we have to get a lot tougher and work on our chemistry.'
Rounding out the DNT roster and also battling for a future roster spot are: Kyle Anderson (Paterson Catholic H.S. / Fairview, N.J.); K.C. Caudill (Brea Olinda H.S. / Brea, Calif.); Angelo Chol (Herbert Hoover H.S. / San Diego, Calif.); Perry Ellis (Wichita Heights H.S. / Wichita, Kan.); Norvel Pelle (Price H.S. / Long Beach, Calif.); and Kevin Ware (Rockdale County H.S. / Conyers, Ga.).
'That says a lot for the program that all of these guys want to be a part of USA Basketball, even those who didn't go to Argentina last year,' Showalter said. 'When they all came in on Friday, they were really pleased to see each other. The kids who played in Argentina have really embraced those who didn't go. They all realize it is a whole new ball game. There are no roster spots locked up. If you had to pick 12 players right now, it would be impossible.'
Four players chose to make the trip to Colorado Springs this weekend despite having injuries that would prevent them from participating. Beal, Drummond, McAdoo and Pelle are all watching mini-camp from the sideline.
'I still wanted to come out and hang out with my teammates, and encourage them in practice,' Beal said. 'It's was good to come out despite my injury, just to support the guys from the sideline.'
Everyone attending mini-camp, including the coaches, players and staff, gave up an October weekend to play with USA Basketball.
'I'm playing in a league right now, and we made it to the championship game, so I'm missing out on playing in that,' Thomas said. 'This is very serious. A lot of NBA guys take the time out of their workouts, and they are millionaires, to come play with USA Basketball, so I think it's just important for everybody.'