Colorado Springs, Colorado---After tipping off training camp on July 24 with 32 athletes, which were pared down to 17 finalists on July 26, the official 12-member 2014 USA Basketball Men's U17 World Championship Team has been finalized. The roster includes nine members of the 2013 USA U16 National Team that captured gold at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, including tournament MVP Malik Newman (Callaway H.S./Jackson, Miss.), as well as three international newcomers.
In addition to Newman, the 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team includes: Tyus Battle (Gill St. Bernard's School/ Edison, N.J.); Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake H.S./Rice Lake, Wis.); Terrence Ferguson(Prime Prep Academy/Flower Mound, Texas); Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Winston-Salem, N.C.); Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep H.S./ Southfield, Mich.); V.J. King (St. Vincent-St. Mary H.S./Akron, Ohio); Ivan Rabb (Bishop O'Dowd H.S./ Oakland, Calif.); Devearl Ramsey (Sierra Canyon H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.); Diamond Stone (Dominican H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.); Caleb Swanigan(Homestead H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.); and Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep/St. Louis, Mo.).
"Any one of the 17 players could have been a part of our 12," said USA head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa). "We couldn't really make a wrong decision. Whoever would have been picked would have been the right decision. It just boiled down to filling in some gaps as far as who could play well together and who's going to be specialty people for us. That's what it kind of boiled down to.
"I'm excited to get started with these 12. Chemistry is obviously a huge issue for us, getting them working together as a team. We're going to be putting in more of our system with our presses, with our offense and then having the guys getting used to playing with each other. That's really big for us, because we don't have a long time to prepare for the FIBA U17 World Championship. So, the more time we spend together on the court, the better we're going to be."
The 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship for Men, hosted Aug. 8-16 by Dubai, United Arab Emirates, will feature 16 national teams that qualified through their FIBA zone tournaments. Players eligible for this competition must be citizens of the country they represent and have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1997. Two-time defending U17 gold medalist, the USA has a perfect 16-0 record at the U17s. The U.S. qualified for this year's U17s by virtue of its gold-medal finish at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
The USA U17 squad will practice twice daily through Aug. 1, from 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. (MDT) and again from 4:30-7 p.m. (MDT). Prior to traveling to Dubai on Aug. 6, the U.S. squad will spend Aug. 3-5 training in Doha, Qatar. After a practice on Aug. 7, the USA U17 World Championship Team will open tournament play on Aug. 8 against Greece, followed by an Aug. 9 contest versus Angola and a final preliminary-round game against the Philippines on Aug. 11. The round of 16 will be contested Aug. 12, quarterfinals are slated for Aug. 14, semifinals on Aug. 15 and the finals will take place Aug. 16.
The athletes who won gold at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship are Ferguson, Giles, Jackson, King, Newman, Rabb, Ramsey, Stone and Tatum.Battle participated in last summer's U16 training camp, and Ellenson was named as a finalist for the 2016 USA U16 National Team. Both Battle and Ellenson have now participated in a total of four USA training camps, including a pair of Oct. mini-camps in 2012 and 2013 and the 2013 U16 and 2014 U17 camps. Swanigan is a USA Basketball newcomer in every respect as he was named to the USA Developmental National Team on July 15, 2014, and stepped out on the court in his first USA Basketball training session on July 24.
Joining Showalter on the sideline as USA assistant coaches are Eric Flannery (St. Edward High School, Ohio) and L.J. Goolsby (KC Run GMC, Kan.).
In addition to UAE and the USA, qualified for the 2014 U17 FIBA World Championship are: Angola, Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Japan, Philippines, Puerto Rico, Serbia and Spain.
2010 was the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Men. The USA captured gold with a perfect 8-0 record and Brad Beal was tabbed MVP of the tournament of the biennial event. In 2012 Jahlil Okaforearned MVP honors and was joined on the all-tournament team by Justise Winslow as the U.S. again rolled up a perfect 8-0 slate en route to gold.
The team was selected by the USA Basketball Men's Developmental National Team Committee, chaired by USA Basketball Men's National Team Director Sean Ford. He is joined on the USA Developmental National Team Committee by National Federation of High Schools (NFHS) appointees John Olive (Torrey Pines H.S., Calif.) and Herman Harried (Lake Clifton Campus H.S., Md.); Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) representatives Rich Gray (St. Louis Eagles AAU, Mo.) and Boo Williams (Boo Williams AAU, Va.); and athlete representatives Chauncey Billups, a 2010 FIBA World Championship gold medalist and a member of three USA Basketball teams, and Gerry McNamara, who played on the 2005 USA World University Games Team.