On Sunday morning USA Basketball released the list of 16 players who remain in contention for a spot on the USA Under-16 team that will compete in the FIBA Americas Under-16 Championships later this month in Venezuela.
The 16 players who will go through practices from June 2-6, with the team being pared down to a final 12 on June 7, are:
Thomas Bryant (Bishop Kearney H.S. / Rochester, N.Y.)
Bryant Crawford (Gonzaga College H.S. (DC) / Kensington, Md.)
Henry Ellenson (Rice Lake H.S. / Rice Lake, Wis.)
Terrance Ferguson (Prime Prep Academy / Flower Mound, Texas)
Daniel Giddens (Wheeler H.S. / Mableton, Ga.)
Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy / Winston-Salem, N.C.)
Mustapha Heron (Wilbraham & Monson Academy / West Haven, Conn.)
Josh Jackson (Consortium College Prep / Southfield, Mich.)
V.J. King (St. Vincent – St. Mary H.S. / Akron, Ohio)
Malik Monk (East Poinsett County H.S. / Lepanto, Ark.)
Malik Newman (Callaway H.S. / Jackson, Miss.)
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.)
Jayson Tatam (Chaminade College Prep / St. Louis, Mo.)
Seventh Woods (Hammond School / Columbia, S.C.).
The 16 players still eligible to make the final roster form a formidable and deep squad, with players such as Giles and Newman receiving high praise for their play in the first segment of tryouts.
“When you look at these 30 players, they all have some very good athletic ability and some very strong game talents. To cut this down further is very difficult,” said USA Developmental National Team head coach Don Showalter in the release. “When trying to get to a final team, you always look at how well you can defend. I think that’s going to be a key factor.
“You also look at what players can play multiple positions, because you like to have players who can play more than one position. Internationally, that really helps us. And then of course, strength on the boards is a big factor as well and obviously you also want some shooters in that bunch.”
Giles (Freshman of the Year) and Newman (Sophomore of the Year) are two of the 11 on the preliminary roster who were named All-Americans by MaxPreps.com, and Ivan Rabb and Diamond Stone are considered by many analysts to be among the best big men in the 2015 class.
The Under-16 tournament in Venezuela also serves as the qualifying tournament for next season’s Under-17 World Championships. Team USA opens play on June 11 against Mexico, and also has pool play match-ups with Argentina (June 12) and the Bahamas (June 13) before medal round play begins on June 14.
Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.