By: Kellon Hassenstab, Hoopniks.com
USA Basketball held their Developmental National Team (16-U) training camp in Colorado Springs, CO, starting on Friday, June 10th. After five spirited sessions of practice that included scrimmages, grueling drills and top notch coaching, the 12 member team of players born after January 1st, 1995, has been composed.
The newly formed squad will compete in the 2011 FIBA Americas 16U Championship, in Cancun, Mexico, from June 21 25. A selection to the 2012 FIBA World 17U World Championship is at stake for the top three finishers in the tournament. From an original group of 27 participants, the USA roster was culled to the final 12 team members, and a deep and talented team has resulted from the selection process.
The coaching staff constantly noted that they were building the best team, rather than selecting the top 12 players in the camp. A glance at the roster indicates that they did just that.
Here's a look at the team, by position:Guards
Two interesting options are available to the coaching staff as lead guards. Tyus Jones
(6'-1, 171, 2014, Apple Valley, Minnesota) was terrific in tryouts. He's an unselfish and heady true point guard with the ability to distribute the ball and make difficult plays look easy. He's unlikely to make mistakes while running the offense.
With that said, he doesn't have the dynamic scoring ability or the ability to finish at the rim that Larry Austin
(6'-1, 161, 2014, Springfield Lanphier) has. Austin is lightning in a bottle, a tough competitor with some serious pizazz in his game. Austin will be a difficult defensive cover for opponents, but it's not clear he'll be able to get teammates involved as well as Jones will. Austin plays the game with vigor and can penetrate and finish at the rim when required.
The coaching staff has some equally interesting options at shooting guard. Justin Jackson
(6'-5, 171, 2014, HCYA, Texas) is a knockdown shooter with a high-release point that looked terrific at times. His game is shooting the basketball right now, and he's terrific at making tough mid-range shots. When set up with the ball off of screens, he's automatic. If teammates can set the table for Jackson, he's sure to put up points by the boatload.
Both Kendrick Nunn
(6'-1, 175, 2013, Simeon, Illinois) and Conner Frankamp
(6'-0, 152, Wichita North, Kansas) could play either guard position on this team. Nunn is an explosive energy guy that seems like he'll be able to spark this team when they fall into a lull.
Frankamp could be the team's designated zone buster. He's an exceptional shooter, and can create his own shot. Frankamp can run the team, and Nunn is especially effective receiving the ball in transition. While dissimilar, both players are nice additions to the roster.Dominique Collier
(6'-2, 143, 2014, Denver East, Colorado) was a late addition to the roster. The slippery lead guard is another member of the team that thrives within the team concept. He doesn't have physical strength or an elite level burst, but instead relies upon advanced ball knowledge and the ability to make the exceptional pass through a seem in the defense that exists for a short period of time.Forwards
The frontcourt is no doubt the strength of the team, as arguably the two top players are likely to occupy the starting positions. Jabari Parker
(6'-7, 225, 2013, Simeon, Illinois) and Aaron Gordon
(6'-7, 208, 2013, Archbishop Mitty, California) both showcased elite-level skill in camp.
Parker may be the top player in the country in the 2013 class, as he is a true inside-outside threat with superb strength and skill. He's not a flashy scoring threat, but can score in a variety of ways. Parker's physicality was apparent as he locked down frontcourt opponents that he gave up more than 20 pounds to. Gordon exudes energy and is always around the ball. He's a superb all-around player that is nearly automatic to get near the rim when he catches the ball in the paint. He fought through a tweaked ankle to perform exceptionally in tryouts. Both players can guard either forward positions, which should give options to the coaching staff.Jonathan Williams
(6'-7, 208, 2013, Southwind, Tennessee) gives the team a variety of options, as he can conceivably play three positions. He's a left handed player that's more effective as an interior contributor, but is developing an effective mid-range game in concern with his post skills. He does possess some attributes of a wing game, and will stretch defenses. Stanley Johnson
(6'-5, 217, 2014, Mater Dei, California) was a bully in tryouts, using his physical abilities to overpower defenders. He's also a defensive presence that moves well despite his broad shoulders and strong base. Remarkably, Johnson was the youngest prospect at the tryouts. Expect Johnson to draw his fair share of fouls. Theo Pinson
(6'-5, 176, 2014, Oak Ridge Military, North Carolina) projects as a shooting guard in the future, but will likely see most of his time on this squad from the 3. He's the most athletic player on the team, and is a constant above the rim threat on the fastbreak. Pinson is the most likely player to be on a highlight reel of the prospects on the roster. Pinson is effective from close range, but doesn't possess long range scoring
consistency just yet.Malik Price-Martin
(6'-8, 187, 2013, Monsignor Pace, Florida) was named to the team as well, but will not participate on the team due to a family tragedy. He was replaced on the roster by Collier. Price-Martin participated is a gazelle forward with an emerging inside-outside game. He finishes above the rim in transition and has some shooting touch.Center
Only one true center was selected to the roster, Jahlil Okafor
(6'-8, 269, 2014, Whitney Young, Illinois). Okafor isn't conditioned to play huge minutes, but he will absolutely use his frame to bang against other bigs, most likely resulting in a hurting put on opponents. He's not the most fleet of foot, but is a rough and tumble post presence that won't give up position to anyone. Okafor is a young bull that is just starting to hit his stride and realize what he is capable of.