The 2018 USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team has been finalized and features 12 of the nation's top athletes age 18 and under who will represent the USA at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men June 10-16 in St. Catharines, Canada.
The 12-member roster includes incoming freshmen Quentin Grimes (Kansas) and Kamaka Hepa (Texas).
The team will continue training at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, until June 7, when it departs for the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in St. Catharines, Canada. The team was selected by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee.
"It was tough getting it to 12," said Bill Self, USA U18 and University of Kansas head coach. "It was tough getting it from 33 to 18, but even with the 18 we've had a couple of extra days with and know how committed they all are to trying to make the team, knowing that different guys look better on different days and in different situations, it was tough getting to 12 because there are a lot of interchangeable parts.
"I think the committee made some good selections, and I'm excited about working with this group. One of the things I think they bring to the table is versatility. They're very interchangeable. I can see us playing four little guards around a big. I could see us playing two bigs, two little guards and a three. I think this team has some different things they'll be able to do, depending on how we stack up against our opponents. The other thing, and this goes for all 18 guys, the appearance is that they really like each other. The appearance is that they'll be a fun group to spend two weeks with, which obviously is very important to teams being successful, of guys understanding that some days it might not be their day, it might be somebody else's day."
Grimes is the only team member who previously has played for a USA Basketball national team - having suited up for the USA in the 2018 Nike Hoop Summit. Hepa was named to the 2018 USA Men's U18 National Team after taking part in his first USA Basketball training camp.
Training camp tipped-off on May 30 with 33 athletes, and 18 finalists were named on June 3 after five training sessions. The 18 finalists had an additional five practices together prior to the team announcement.
The USA Men's U18 National Team, in the hunt for a fifth-straight gold medal, will compete in Group A and open preliminary round play against Dominican Republic on June 10 (6 p.m. EDT), followed by a June 11 (8:15 p.m. EDT) clash against Panama and tip-off against Puerto Rico on June 12 (6 p.m. EDT).
Group B features Argentina, host Canada, Chile and Ecuador.
Following the preliminary round, teams will be seeded within each group, and all eight teams advance to the June 14 quarterfinal games. The semifinals will be played June 15, and the finals on June 16. The top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.