Some prominent names were left off the roster for USA Basketball's under-16 National Team, set to compete in Mexico later this month.
But given head coach Don Showalter's track record with the program, there probably won't be much second-guessing.
Showalter helped assemble and coach a group led by Brad Beal
, Michael Gilchrist
and James McAdoo
to a 13-0 record over the last two summers. The squad won every game by double digits and captured titles at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in 2009 and the FIBA U17 World Championship in 2010.
Following a camp in Colorado Springs, six sophomores and six freshmen were named to the 2011 team Sunday. See the complete roster here
Some of the names that didn't make the final cut were as notable as those that did. Promising young talents like Shaqquan Aaron
, James Blackmon
, Dominique Collier
, Dakari Johnson
, Trey Lyles
and Isaiah Whitehead
were left off the Mexico-bound roster.
Showalter acknowledged selecting the final 12 was a difficult decision.
"It was much more difficult this time (than in 2009)," Showalter said. "Fortunately we have a committee in place that helps us make some very tough decisions. I think all 27 players could have earned a spot on the team. It just came down to what we were looking for in terms of building a team and international competition."
Versatile forwards Jabari Parker
of Simeon (Chicago, Ill.)
and Aaron Gordon
of Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
were particularly impressive in Colorado Springs, according to Showalter.
"Parker and Gordon really stood out," Showalter said. "They are really, really good players. They are going to be the best players in the tournament, no question. We started there and built around them."
While he didn't offer specifics in terms of which players were among the final cuts, Showalter did provide some insight on the decision-making process.
"We probably leaned a little toward taking some shooters," Showalter said. "Stephen Domingo
was one of those guys that was really impressive but ultimately didn't make it.
"We didn't take many bigs. In international competition it's hard to play two bigs together. We took Jahlil Okafor
(a 6-foot-8, 270-pound center), but didn't take Dakari Johnson (with a similar build), who is very good as well. We had to take more Gordon- and Parker-type of bigs."
Six-foot-nine sophomore Jimmie Taylor
was another victim of that philosophy. Showalter envisions a big future for the athletic Alabama product despite missing out this time around.
"We can't take kids on potential, but Jimmie Taylor maybe be on the team as a 17-year old," Showalter said. "He's not quite ready but really athletic and may be a kid that comes on strong as a 17-year old."
Aaron, a contributor for a state championship team at Mater Dei as a freshman, is among those headed home instead of Mexico. Slightly less-heralded Monarch teammate Stanley Johnson
did make the roster.
Blackmon and Lyles created a major buzz as freshmen in the Hoosier State. Both averaged around 20 points per game in their debut high school seasons and grabbed headlines with early commitments to Indiana University. Lyles, a 6-9, 200-pound forward was named National Freshman of the Year by MaxPreps.
Johnson and Whitehead were solid contributors for storied programs in New Jersey and New York, respectively. Collier was a first team All-State selection as a freshman in Colorado.Battle in the Big Apple?
A rift between New York City's Catholic High School Athletic Association (CHSAA) and Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL) could be developing after the PSAL elected to allow two of its champions participate in April's National High School Invitational.According to the New York Post
, the CHSAA has asked its members not to schedule PSAL schools.
"We're all a member of the Federation and if you join an association you should follow the rules," CHSAA president Ray Nash told the Post. "It's time that we make our feelings felt that you can't just violate the rules and expect everyone else to accept it."
The lack of cooperation could put a kink in several major events, including the Big Apple Basketball Challenge and the SNY Invitational.Boys & Girls (Brooklyn)
represented the PSAL in the event, beating Winter Park (Fla.)
in the opening round before bowing out to Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.)
in the semifinals.Price commits to Auburn
The Auburn Tigers picked up a solid verbal commitment over the weekend from Jordan Price
of Southwest DeKalb (Decatur, Ga.)
Though he is overshadowed by five-star teammate Will "Shaq" Goodwin
at the Peach State school, Price actually led the team in scoring last season at 19.1 points per game. As a sophomore, he earned Division II-AA Mr. Basketball honors in Tennessee while at McCallie (Chattanooga)
, posting 16.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.
Price is rated a four-star prospect by MaxPreps and in the hunt for a Class of 2012 Top 100 spot when the rankings are updated again in July.