COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (June 19, 2012) - The final 12-member 2012 USA Basketball Men's U17 World Championship Team was finalized Tuesday morning after the team's seventh practice together since June 15. Featuring 12 of the nation's top prep players age 17-and-under (born on or after Jan. 1, 1995), the U.S. squad will spend two more days at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., preparing to defend the USA's FIBA U17 World Championship title before departing for Europe. The 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship is being held June 29 - July 8 in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Named to the 2012 USA Basketball Men's U17 World Championship Team were: Beejay Anya (DeMatha Catholic H.S. / Gaithersburg, Md.); Joel Berry (Lake Highland Prep School / Apopka, Fla.); Stephen Domingo (Saint Ignatius Prep / San Francisco, Calif.); Conner Frankamp (Wichita North H.S. / Wichita, Kan.); Dakari Johnson (Montverde Academy, Fla. / Brooklyn, N.Y.); Stanley Johnson (Mater Dei H.S. / Fullerton, Calif.); Tyus Jones (Apple Valley H.S. / Apple Valley, Minn.); Kendrick Nunn (Simeon Career Academy / Chicago, Ill.); Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S. / Chicago, Ill.); Jabari Parker (Simeon Career Academy / Chicago, Ill.); Johnathan Williams (Southwind H.S. / Memphis, Tenn.); and Justise Winslow (St. John's School / Houston, Texas).
"What we like about this team is our ability to play pressure defense," said Don Showalter, USA and Iowa City High School head coach. "That's really a strong point of this team. That's kind of why we kept some of the players who we felt could really add to that defensive pressure. That's one very positive aspect of this team. Rebounding is something else that's very much a plus for us, and then I really felt good about the progression we made offensively. Just after a couple of days we worked together and I think our offense has really come around, and I feel very comfortable about it. Part of that is due to the familiarity from last year and last October. Our timing is much better. We're reading plays a lot better. I'm real pleased with that as well.
"You spend so much time getting down to your working number, and now it's time to really work on developing a team aspect with these 12 players. You watch them, I know they're a lot more familiar with each other both off the court and on the court. That helps to develop the team attitude that we need to take over to Lithuania."
Prior to arriving in Lithuania, the USA will train and compete June 22-25, in Gran Canaria, Canary Islands. During that time the U.S. will participate in the 2012 Spain U17 International Invitational, featuring U17 teams from Australia, Latvia and host Spain, June 24-25.
Opening 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship play on June 29 against Australia, the U.S. will face the Czech Republic on June 30, Egypt on July 1 and France on July 3 before closing preliminary play against China on July 4. The top four finishing teams from each group will advance to the medal round with the quarterfinals staged on July 6, the semifinals on July 7 and the finals on July 8.
The inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Men was held in 2010. The USA captured gold with a perfect 8-0 record and former University of Florida standout Brad Beal was tabbed MVP of the tournament. The event is held every other year (2012, 2014, etc.). The USA qualified for this event by winning the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.