Winners of the FIBA Americas U-16 tournament last season and prohibitive favorites to capture the up-coming 2016 U-17 tournament in Spain, the United States again presents a formidable roster dotted with high-ranking prep stars. Head Coach Don Showalter, a 40+ year veteran coaching high school basketball in the state of Iowa, was recently named Director of Coaching Development for youth by USA Basketball and brings an unblemished 38-0 international career record coaching previous U-16 and U-17 teams. Showalter and staff return 6 players – including 5 of the 8 rotation guys deployed vs. Canada in the final game last summer – from his FIBA Americas gold medal team, which trailed Canada in the championship game for about 35 minutes before busting the game open.
All key members of that team return (Showalter went with an 8 man rotation vs. Canada) with the exception of 6’8″ Jarred Vanderbilt (9.8 ppg/8.0 rpg last summer), who was invited to the tryout but not named to the final squad. Showalter returns key top-end rotation guys 6’5″ Gary Trent Jr (Apple Valley H.S./Burnsville, Minn.), #9 rated player in the Class of 2017, 6’8″ Kevin Knox II (Tampa Catholic H.S./Riverview, Fla.), #7 rated player in 2017, 6’10” Wendell Carter Jr. (Pace Academy/Fairburn, Ga.) #2 in the class of 2017 (Kentucky, Duke, Harvard), 5’11” Markus Howard (Findlay Prep, Nev./Chandler, Ariz.), a Marquette signee who has reclassified to the class of 2016 after graduating early from Findlay Prep and 6’3″ Javonte Smart (Scotlandville H.S./Baton Rouge, La.), #7 in the Class of 2018.
The new faces added this summer include: 6’9″ Jordan Brown (Woodcreek H.S./Roseville, Calif.), #3 rated in the Class of ’18 who some compare to a young Kevin Durant; 6’6″ Troy Brown (Centennial H.S./Las Vegas, Nev.), #28 in the class of 2017; 6’7″ Carte’Are Gordon (Webster Groves H.S./St. Louis, Mo.), #24 in the Class of 2018 who appears to be a heavy lean to Kansas and 6’9″ Jaren Jackson Jr. (Park Tudor School/Carmel, Ind.), son of the former Georgetown star and #25 in the class of ’17; 6’4″ John Wall clone Immanuel Quickley (John Carroll School/Havre De Grace, Md.), another heavy Maryland lean; 6’2″ combo guard Collin Sexton (Pebblebrook H.S./Mableton, Ga.), #26 in 2017 class and 6’10” Austin Wiley (Spain Park H.S./Hoover, Ala), who has already committed to Auburn. Another formidable roster with size, length and excellent guard/wing play.
USA hammered Canada on the offensive glass last summer and when it counted down the stretch dominated at the guard spots, creating turnovers and easy scores as the Americans outscored Canada 28-9 in the pivotal 4th quarter. The Americans are in Group A and kick off the tournament on Thursday June 23rd against Chinese Taipei with subsequent games against Turkey and Egypt. The draw as laid out could potentially set up another USA vs. Canada gold medal game assuming both teams finish first in their respective preliminary groups and win all their elimination games. Expect USA to continue to show their dominance in this tournament and for Canada to look for another shot at ruining Showalter’s perfect record as Head Coach of USA Basketball’s U-16 and U-17’s.
USA Basketball FIBA U-17 World Championship 2016 Roster
Markus Howard 2016, 5-11, PG, No. 71 in the 247Sports Composite, #84 ESPN (Committed to Marquette)
Javonte Smart 2018, 6-4, PG, No. 4 in the 247Sports Composite, #7 ESPN
Immanuel Quickley 2018, 6-4, PG, No. 14 in the 247Sports Composite, #19 ESPN
Collin Sexton 2017, 6-2, PG, No. 30 in the 247Sports Composite, #26 ESPN
Gary Trent Jr. 2017, 6-5, SG, No. 10 in the 247Sports Composite, #9 ESPN
Kevin Knox II 2017, 6-8, CF, No. 6 in the 247Sports Composite, #7 ESPN
Jordan Brown 2018, 6-10, PF, No. 4 in the 247Sports Composite, #3 ESPN
Troy Brown Jr. 2017, 6-6, SF, No. 17 in the 247Sports Composite, #28 ESPN
Wendell Carter 2017, 6-10, PF, No. 4 in the 247Sports Composite, #2 ESPN
Carte’Are Gordon 2018, 6-8, PF, No. 65 in the 247Sorts Composite, #24 ESPN
Jaren Jackson 2017, 6-10, PF, No. 33 in the 247Sports Composite, #25 ESPN
Austin Wiley 2017, 6-10, PF, No. 15 in the 247Sports Composite, #19 ESPN (Committed to Auburn)