National U18 Basketball Team Loaded With Talent


Published: July 8, 2008


The USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team was announced today in Washington, D.C., and is a well-rounded 12-member squad that will look to defend the country’s gold medal at the 2007 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 14-18 in Formosa, Argentina.

Named to the USA squad were: Dominic Cheek (St. Anthony H.S. / Jersey City, N.J.); JaMychal Green (St. Jude H.S. / Montgomery, Ala.); Matt Humphrey (Hales Franciscian H.S / Chicago, Ill.); Ryan Kelly (Ravenscroft H.S. / Raleigh, N.C.); Malcom Lee (John W. North H.S. / Riverside, Calif.); Leslie McDonald (Briarcrest H.S./ Memphis, Tenn.); Mason Plumlee (Christ H.S. / Arden, N.C.); Travis Releford (Bishop Miege H.S. / Shawnee Mission, Kan.); Kemba Walker (Rice H.S. / New York, N.Y.); Maalik Wayns (Roman Catholic H.S. / Philadelphia, Pa.); David Wear (Mater Dei H.S. / Santa Ana, Calif.) and Travis Wear (Mater Dei H.S. / Santa Ana, Calif).

The members of the USA U18 squad, comprised of athletes born on or after Jan. 1, 1990, began their journey as one of 18 athletes who arrived in Washington to attend the USA U18 National Team Trials on July 1, and will remain in Washington through July 10 before departing for the 2007 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

“The coaching staff is so pleased with the way the team is developing a sense of chemistry, a sense of team and we’re also pleased with their willingness to work hard and get better each day,” said USA and Davidson College head coach Bob McKillop. “They realize that this is an investment of a lot of their time, a lot of their energy, but they realize the dividend that they can create for themselves by becoming better basketball players. They also realize the dividend that is part of developing relationships. There are already relationships that are emerging after these seven days together that I think will be lifetime relationships, amongst the coaches and the players, the players and the coaches.

“I like the fact that we’re getting better. I like the fact that we’re committed to having fun and playing to win. When you add those three objectives together, having fun, playing to win and getting better, good things are going to happen to you. Especially when you have good kids and we have terrific kids.”

Virginia Commonwealth University head coach Anthony Grant and Georgetown University head coach John Thompson III are serving as assistant coaches

The USA Men’s U18 FIBA Americas Championship Team will continue training at the Washington Wizards practice facility inside the Verizon Center today, at 10:00 a.m. (all times EDT) and 5:00 p.m., and Wednesday, July 9 (10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.). On Thursday, July 10 (10:00 a.m.) the team will train at Georgetown University’s McDonough Arena.

Featuring eight U18 national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship will qualify the top four finishing teams for the 2009 FIBA U19 World Championship, slated to be held July 2-12 in New Zealand.

Opening against Venezuela at 1:30 p.m. on July 14 in the first game of Group B preliminary play, the USA faces the Bahamas at 2:00 p.m. on July 15 and closes out preliminary round play against Puerto Rico at 6:00 p.m. on July 16. Group A features host Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Uruguay.

Following preliminary round play the top two teams in each group advance to the July 17 medal round semifinals and the gold medal game will be contested at 8:00 p.m. on July 18.

Defending FIBA Americas U18 Championship gold medalists, the USA men’s teams boast of a sensational 29-1 overall record in this event and won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, and most recently in 2006, when the United States played host to the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for the first time in San Antonio, Texas. The USA men’s team also captured the bronze in 2002.

Athlete and coaching staff selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s Collegiate Committee, chaired by Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim. In addition to Boeheim, the Committee includes athlete representatives Steve Wojciechowski of Duke University and A.J. Wynder of Nassau Community College; NCAA appointees Fran Dunphy of Temple University, Tom Izzo of Michigan State University, Ernie Kent of the University of Oregon and Tubby Smith of the University of Minnesota; Bob Burchard of Columbia College (Mo.) from the NAIA; Scott Schumacher of North Dakota State College of Science from the NJCAA; and the NABC appointee is Bill Self of the University of Kansas.

2008 USA U18 Championship Team

The FIBA Americas U18 Championship format divides the eight teams into two preliminary round groups consisting of four teams each. Preliminary round play will be held July 14, 15 and 16, and each team will play the other three teams in its preliminary group. The two top finishing teams in each preliminary round group will then advance to the Thursday, July 17 medal round semifinals and compete for 1st-4th places. Teams placing third and fourth in each preliminary round group will advance to the consolation semifinals and play for 5th-8th places. The FIBA Americas U18 Championship Finals will be contested Friday, July 18.

Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifier, the tournament was held every four years between 1990-2006. FIBA changed its calendar, however, and the tournament will now be conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.

Hosts of prior U18 championships are: San Antonio, Texas in 2006; Isle de Margarita, Venezuela in 2002; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in 1998; Santa Rosa, Argentina in 1994; and Montevideo, Uruguay in 1990.

Some top players to have represented the United States in the past U18 tournaments include Shareef AbdurRahim (1994); Carmelo Anthony (2002); Jerryd Bayless (2006); Michael Beasley (2006); Chris Bosh (2002); Dee Brown (2002); Nick Collison (1998); Grant Hill (1990); Alan Houston (1990); Andre Iguodala (2002); Stephon Marbury (1994); Mike Miller (1998); Quentin Richardson (1998); Kyle Singler (2006); and Deron Williams (2002).

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