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The United States Men’s U18 National Team will experience some added pressure during its upcoming international campaign.
Team USA came up short during the 2017 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup in Egypt as a result of the emergence of R.J. Barrett and Team Canada.
The United States had no answers for the future Duke Blue Devil as Barrett dropped 38 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists to push Canada past the United States in the World Cup Semifinals last year.
Canada went on to capture the gold medal by winning handily over Italy by a score of 79-60. Barrett was subsequently named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
Barrett again torched the United States at the 21st annual Nike Hoop Summit in April. Barrett led the World Select Team to an 89-76 victory over Team USA with 20 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.
The losing performance for the U.S. drew some significant criticism from several media members.
Jonathan Givony from Draft Express
No fight whatsoever from this US group, who easily could have lost by 20. Embarrassing to see from guys wearing a USA Basketball uniform. Needs to be more of a premium put on competitors who aren't doing people a favor by simply showing up. Bad sign looking towards the 2019 draft
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) April 14, 2018
Im with you both. Got the vibe from far too many of the American kids that they felt like we, as consumers, should simply be happy they were there. Look at what Kevin Porter did to those kids on Thursday. Porter has the edge the US needed
— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) April 14, 2018
Eric Bossi from Rivals
Not surprised to see the World team win at the Hoop Summit. Were the more focused and physical team in workouts and it showed in game.
— Eric Bossi (@ebosshoops) April 14, 2018
The road to redemption will begin on May 31 as the U.S. will welcome 32 players to the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado for training camp.
According to USA Basketball, the final roster is expected to be announced on June 2 in preparation for the FIBA Americas U18 Championship which is held from June 10-16 in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
The top four nations from the FIBA Americas will also advance to the 2019 U19 Basketball World Cup.
Here’s the 32 players that will be competing for a roster spot with Team USA.
Class of 2017:
Musa Jallow (Ohio State)
Class of 2018:
Joey Baker (Duke Signee)
Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois Signee)
Quentin Grimes (Kansas Signee)
Kamaka Hepa (Texas Signee)
Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State Signee)
Alex Lomax (Memphis Signee)
Kevin Porter (USC Signee)
Coby White (UNC Signee)
Zion Williamson (Duke Signee)
Bryce Wills (Stanford Signee)
Class of 2019:
Joe Girard III
Tyrese Maxey (Kentucky Commit)
Pat McCaffery (Iowa Commit)
Anton Watson (Gonzaga Commit)
Mark Watts Jr.
Class of 2020:
Follow Michael McLamb on Twitter: @McLambSays