The USA U17 tryouts kick-off June 10 in Colorado Springs in preparation for the U17 World Championship’s held June 23-July 3 in Zaragoza, Spain. 39 players from the 2017 and 2018 classes will be in attendance as they try to secure a spot on the 12-man roster.
|photo - USAB|
The 2016 team will become the fourth team to represent the USA in the U17 World Championships with the event beginning in 2010. So far, the USA has won three gold medals while never losing a game. Head coach Don Showalter is 23-0 in U17 action winning games by an average margin of 37.7 points per game. The 2010 team defeated Poland in the gold medal game by 31 points and the 2012 team beat Australia by 33 points. Two years ago, the 2014 team matched up with Australia once again in the gold medal game and won by just seven points, which also happened to be the first time the USA did not win a game by double digits. Malik Newman took home the U17 MVP in 2014 following in the footsteps of Jahlil Okafor (2012) and Bradley Beal (2010).
Prior to the U17 World Championships, the USA U16 always competes in the FIBA America’s tournament the year before (2015 in this case). Last year, the USA team breezed through pool play and the playoffs leading up to the gold medal game with Canada. While the US team won by 17, they overcame a 20-point second quarter deficit as ESPN’s No. 1 rising sophomore, RJ Barrett was displaying his ability. Gary Trent Jr. and Jarred Vanderbilt led the way with 19 points in that game, with Trent Jr. winning MVP honors.
While the majority of the roster will stay in-tact, despite the 39 players in tryouts, there is always some upheaval from the U16 to U17 level. The 2010 team returned 67% of the players from the U16 team while the 2012 team returned 58%, and the 2014 team returned 75% of the players.
2015 U16 Roster:
Gary Trent, 2017, SG/SF, 16.8 ppg
Markus Howard, 2016, G, 15.0 ppg
Wendell Carter, 2017, C, 13.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg
Kevin Knox, 2017, SF, 10.6 ppg
Jarred Vanderbilt, 2017, F, 9.8 ppg, 7.8 rpg
Jordan Brown, 2018, PF, 9.4 ppg
Jalen Hill, PF, 2017, 8.6 ppg
Javonte Smart, 2018, G, 6.8 ppg
Robert Woodard, 2018, SF, 5.6 ppg
Tre Jones, 2018, PG, 4.6 ppg
Jaylen Nowell, 2017, G, 5.0 ppg
Connor Vanover, 2018, C, 3.8 ppg
The first round of cuts will occur on Sunday, June 12. The USA coaches are trying to form the best team, which means that a handful of 5-star prospects will be cut for players that might not be as talented from an individual perspective. In 2014, players such as Dennis Smith and Malik Monk did not make it through first cuts.
Team USA Predictions:
The Locks from U16’s
Wendell Carter – Dominant big man that will be the inside force for the U17’s
Kevin Knox – Got his start last year at the U16 tryouts and now is a Top 10 player
Gary Trent – The U16 leading scorer
Markus Howard – Zone buster. Last USA experience before heading to Marquette
Jarred Vanderbilt – Pogo stick that will help with a variety of defensive sets
Jordan Brown – Came off the bench for the U16’s, top 10 in the 2018 class
Javonte Smart – Talented guard from the 2018 class, tough to stop off the dribble
Tre Jones – Continues the Jones’ USA connection
Austin Wiley – Another big body to play behind Carter
Naz Reid – Cut from the U16 team, can he impress this time around?
Cameron Reddish – Smooth shooter from 2018 that was cut last year
Troy Brown – Makes his first USA appearance
2014 U17 Tryout Memories:
The tryouts occurred during the third live period in July and college coaches were allowed to watch the second day of practice. Almost all of the big time names were in attendance.
Chatting with Jim Calhoun during the first practice and listening to some wild recruiting stories
Harry Giles starting to look like the Harry Giles of old on Day 2. Pull up jumpers and one-hand dunks as his confidence grew
Derryck Thornton putting together a perfect floor game in front of Coach K, Capel, and Scheyer. After that, the full-court press was turned on in Thornton’s recruitment.
Henry Ellenson was cut from the U16 team, but one year later he was one of the most impressive players in practice. Now, he is expected to be the top draft pick from the 2015 players that were in attendance.