2012 USA Basketball Menís U17 World Championship Team Finalists Selected
June 17, 2012 ē Colorado Springs, Colo.
Following four sessions featuring 28 of the nationís top prep players age 17-and-under (born on or after Jan. 1, 1995) at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., 14 finalists for the 2012 USA Basketball Menís U17 World Championship Team were announced today.
Headlined by 2011 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year Jabari Parker (Simeon Career Academy / Chicago, Ill.), the list features eight athletes who won a gold medal at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and one who was on the 2011 USA Basketball 3x3 Youth World Championship Team.
Named as finalists for the 2012 USA Basketball Menís U17 World Championship Team were: BeeJay Anya (DeMatha Catholic H.S. / Gaithersburg, Md.); Joel Berry (Lake Highland Prep School / Apopka, Fla.); Dominique Collier (Denver East H.S. / Denver, Colo.); Stephen Domingo (Saint Ignatius Prep / San Francisco, Calif.); Conner Frankamp (Wichita North H.S. / Wichita, Kan.); Rondať Jefferson (Chester H.S. / Chester, Pa.); Dakari Johnson (Montverde Academy, Fla. / Brooklyn, N.Y.); Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei H.S. / Fullerton, Calif.); Tyus Jones (Apple Valley H.S. / Apple Valley, Minn.); Kendrick Nunn (Simeon Career Academy / Chicago, Ill.); Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S. / Chicago, Ill.); Parker; Johnathan Williams (Southwind H.S. / Memphis, Tenn.); and Justise Winslow (St. Johnís School / Houston, Texas).
ďOf the four years Iíve been involved with the USA Developmental National Team, I think this has been by far the most competitive camp,Ē said Don Showalter, USA and Iowa City High School head coach. ďPlayers came in in great shape. They came in with the idea that theyíre going to show what they can do. You look at the roster and you see we have six new faces from last yearís U16 team. That just shows you that some of the guys who didnít make the team last year used that for motivation to improve their game in order to make this team.
ďWe still have 14 because thereís still some question about players fitting in, who best fits for international competition. Weíre going to take a look at that over the next two or three days. It also makes for a great practice situation with 14 guys, because we have some who are banged up a little big. So, we have two extra guys for practice, which will be a help.Ē
James Blackmon, Jr. (Bishop Luers H.S. / Fort Wayne, Ind.) attended the training camp, but is in the process of rehabilitating a torn ACL suffered on Feb. 7 and was unable to participate in full-court drills. Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S. / San Jose, Calif.) has a foot injury, James Young (Troy H.S. / Troy, Mich.) had a family emergency and neither were able to attend the training camp.
The finalists for the U.S. U17 squad will continue training in Colorado Springs at the USOTC and their next session is tonight at 3:30 p.m. (all times listed are local, MDT). The USA will continue to train each day at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. each day through June 20 and the final 12-member team will be announced before the U.S. departs for Europe.
Prior to arriving in Lithuania, the USA will train and compete June 22-25, in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. During that time the U.S. will participate in the 2012 Spain U17 International Invitational, featuring U17 teams from Australia, Latvia and host Spain, June 24-25.
Opening 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship play on June 29 against Australia, the U.S. will face the Czech Republic on June 30, Egypt on July 1 and France on July 3 before closing preliminary play against China on July 4. The top four finishing teams from each group will advance to the medal round with the quarterfinals staged on July 6, the semifinals on July 7 and the finals on July 8.
The inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Men was held in 2010. The USA captured gold with a perfect 8-0 record and former University of Florida standout Brad Beal was tabbed MVP of the tournament. The event is held every other year (2012, 2014, etc.). The USA qualified for this event by winning the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Under the guidance of Showalter and 2011-12 USA Men's Developmental National Team assistant coaches Rich Gray (St. Louis Eagles AAU, Mo.) and Mike Jones (DeMatha H.S., Md.), twelve members of the 2011-12 USA Menís Developmental National Team earned a gold medal at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, including Collier, Frankamp, Stanley Johnson, Jones, Nunn, Okafor, Parker and Williams.
After averaging 15.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game, Parker was named MVP of the zone qualifier. Okafor contributed 14.6 ppg., while Jones dished out a tournament-best 5.6 apg. The USA won its five games by an average margin of 42.2 ppg.
Additionally, Jefferson competed in the inaugural FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship, compiling a 7-5 record for an eighth-place finish Sept. 9-11 in Rimini, Italy.
The invitations to the team were issued by the USA Basketball Menís Developmental National Team Committee, which also includes USA Basketball Menís National Team Director Sean Ford (non-voting chair), as well as Eric Flannery, head coach and head coach at St. Edward High School (Lakewood, Ohio) and John Olive, head coach at Torrey Pines High School (Encinitas, Calif.), from the National Federation of State High Schools Association; appointed by the AAU are Ron Crawford, head of the Arkansas Wings AAU program, and Boo Williams, head of the Boo Williams Summer League (Va.); and 1999 USA Pan American Games Team member Kermit Holmes, who serves as the athlete representative.