For those that are looking for basketball to watch in the summer after the NBA finals are over, and also interested in seeing some of the best Class of 2017 prospects compete together, look no further than the U17 FIBA World Championships, a bi-annual event that showcases the best players aged 17 and under for every country competing. The event will be held July 23-August 3 in Zaragoza, Spain.
The United States, who have won the gold medal every year since the tournament began in 2010, have unveiled their final roster for the event. This roster consists primarily of Class of 2017 recruits, although there are a few players who come from the Class of 2018. The players are as follows, in alphabetical order:
Jordan Brown is a 6-10 Power forward from Roseville, California. He is the #4 ranked recruit in the Class of 2018, according to 247Sports, and the #3 Power forward within the class. He currently holds only four scholarship offers, all from west coast schools. 247Sports’s Crystal Ball currently holds three predictions, two for UCLA and one for California. As it is still very early on in Brown’s recruiting process, expect much more hype and attention to come for him.
Troy Brown is a 6-6 Forward/Guard from Las Vega, Nevada. He is the #17 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017 and the #6 Small forward within the class. He currently holds 14 scholarship offers from schools around the nation. Although his Crystal Ball predictions are split between four schools, Cal currently holds the lead, with six of the thirteen predictions. Interestingly enough, while 247 lists him as a small forward, ESPN lists him as a point guard. This position flexibility will no doubt increase Brown’s contributions to the squad.
Wendell Carter Jr.
Wendell Carter Jr. is a 6-10 Power forward/Center from Atlanta, Georgia. He is the #4 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017 and the #3 Power forward within the class. Carter holds 17 scholarship offers in total, one of the highest totals within his class. Duke is currently the heavy favorite to land Carter, as 16 of his 17 Crystal Ball predictions are for Duke, with the lone dissenter picking Kentucky, considered the second favorite. A surprising third favorite is Harvard, as Carter has spoken about the importance of academics for the institution he attends. Carter’s recruiting battle should be a very unique one indeed.
Carte’Are Gordon is a 6-8 Power forward from St. Louis, Missouri. He is the #65 ranked recruit in the Class of 2018 and the #19 Power forward within the class. Gordon holds eight scholarship offers, with all of them coming from schools within the Midwest area. All four of his Crystal Ball predictions are for Kansas. Although not as highly ranked as his peers, Gordon’s inclusion on the roster indicates he is heading for a monster breakout within the next year.
Markus Howard is a 5-11 Point guard from Gilbert, Arizona. He is the #71 ranked recruit in the Class of 2016 and the #15 Point guard within the class. Originally in the Class of 2017, Howard chose to reclassify in April 2016. Howard is the only player on the team that will be attending college in Fall 2016. After de-committing from Arizona State his sophomore year, Howard has chosen to attend Marquette for this upcoming season. Though he will be losing time developing chemistry with his future teammates at Marquette, Howard’s playing with the best prospects in the United States will help him immensely improve his game overall.
Jaren Jackson is a 6-10 Power forward from Indianapolis, Indiana. He is the #33 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017 and the #8 Small forward within the class. Jackson holds 11 scholarship offers, all from schools east of the Mississippi River. Maryland is the current heavy favorite for Jackson, holding five of the six Crystal Ball predictions, with the lone other prediction for Alabama. While not a big name, Jackson has risen considerably in the past year, as he rose 28 spots in the most current update of 247’s rankings. His inclusion on the U17 team indicates that his rise is not done.
Kevin Knox is a 6-8 Small forward from Tampa, Florida. He is the #6 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017 and the #2 Small forward within the class. Knox holds 18 scholarship offers, the highest amongst his class. Three favorites have emerged, all ACC schools. Duke currently is the heavy favorite, holding ten of the eleven Crystal Ball predictions for Knox. The other two favorites are Florida State, who holds the other prediction, and North Carolina. Knox has had a meteoritic rise to the Top 10. Originally a four-star football recruit as a Quarterback, a growth spurt from 6-4 to 6-8 in the Summer of 2015 has led to his emergence as a flat out stud. His potential is still far from tapped.
Immanuel Quickley is a 6-3 Point guard from Bel Air, Maryland. He is the #14 ranked recruit in the Class of 2018 and the #2 Point guard within the class. Quickley holds eight scholarship offers, mainly from the east coast. He currently had one Crystal Ball prediction, for Maryland. Having gained more attention as of late, Quickley is set to gain many more scholarship offers, and his exposure to the U17 team will no doubt strengthen his game.
Collin Sexton is a 6-2 Point guard from Mableton, Georgia. He is the #30 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017, and the #4 Point guard within the class. Sexton holds seven scholarship offers, ranging considerably geographically, but the majority from SEC country. He has five Crystal Ball predictions, three for Alabama and two for Florida. Another late bloomer, he has risen over 50 spots since the beginning of his junior season. Like Jackson, he is most likely going to rise even further.
Ja’Vante Smart is a 6-4 Point guard from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is the #3 ranked recruit in the Class of 2018, and the #1 Point guard within the class. Smart holds seven scholarship offers, coming from four different Power 5 conferences. He has five Crystal Ball predictions, three for LSU and two for Kentucky (who has yet to offer him). Smart has established himself as one of the best in his class, and his experience on the U17 team will only entrench that status.
Gary Trent Jr.
Gary Trent Jr. is a 6-5 Shooting guard from Apple Valley, Minnesota. He is the #10 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017, and the #2 Shooting guard within the class. Trent holds 14 scholarship offers, similar to that of his highly ranked peers. Duke is currently the heavy favorite to land Trent, being picked in all 17 of his Crystal Ball predictions. Ohio State is another team heavily competing for him. Trent is most likely going to be in a package deal with Wendell Carter, so the college that lands both of them is going to be very fortunate in 2017-18.
Austin Wiley is a 6-11 Power forward from Birmingham, Alabama. He is the #15 ranked recruit in the Class of 2017, and the #6 Power forward within the class. Wiley is the only Class of 2017 recruit on the team to already commit to a school, committing to Auburn in September 2015. He is the highest ranked prospect in Auburn’s history. Competing with the other top big men in his class will no doubt enhance his abilities for this upcoming season.
Coach Don Showalter
The United States head coach is Don Showalter, who has coached with the United States youth teams since 2009 at the U16 and U17 levels. Showalter, who has won seven gold medals with the United States teams, has coached high school basketball in the state of Iowa since 1976, spending 28 seasons at Mid-Prairie, eight at Central Elkader, and currently at Iowa City. He boasts a career record of 601-346, including 16 district titles. He has also coached a McDonald’s All-American game and two Jordan’s Brand Classic games. This wealth of experience leaves no doubt that the United States is in capable hands for this tournament.
The United States clearly boasts size superior to their opponents, as half of their roster is 6-8 and taller. Although the guard play is younger and more inexperienced, the post play should dominate the competition. No matter how the United States approaches these games, they are unmistakably the favorite to take home their fourth consecutive gold medal in this tournament.
It is impossible to understate the importance of these prospects getting a chance to build a chemistry with each other playing on this team. In 2012, Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, and Justise Winslow played on the U17 team that won the Gold Medal. This allowed the three to build a chemistry that they normally would not have had. When they all attended Duke for the 2014-15 season, their pre-existing chemistry made it much easier for them to adjust to the college game and integrate with their teammates. This of course led to Duke winning the national championship in 2015. So take notice of this event. It might be the beginning of the foundation of the 2018 or 2019 national champions.
Jordan Brown, 6-10, F, Woodcreek (Roseville, Calif.)
Troy Brown, 6-6, G, Centennial (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Wendell Carter Jr., 6-10, F/C, Pace Academy (Atlanta, Ga.)
Carte’Are Gordon, 6-8, F, Webster Groves (Mo.)
Markus Howard, 5-11, G, Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.)
Jaren Jackson Jr., 6-10, F/C, Park Tudor (Indianapolis, Ind.)
Kevin Knox, 6-8, F, Tampa Catholic (Tampa, Fla.)
Immanuel Quickley, 6-4, G, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.)
Collin Sexton, 6-2, G, Pebblebrook (Mableton, Ga.)
Ja’Vonte Smart, 6-3, G, Scotlandville (Baton Rouge, La.)
Gary Trent Jr., 6-6, G, Apple Valley (Minn.)
Austin Wiley, 6-10, F/C, Spain Park (Hoover, Ala.)
All recruiting data was taken from 247Sports.com unless otherwise noted.
Image from usab.com