Texas men’s basketball coach Shaka Smart will be in full Olympic mode this week when training camp resumes for the Under-18 team soon headed to Chile.
Incoming freshmen Jarrett Allen and James Banks are two of the 17 finalists that are headed to Houston for the week-long camp. Practice begins at 5 p.m. Monday at Strake Jesuit High School.
Smart and his assistants Kevin Ollie (UConn) and Mark Turgeon (Maryland) must determine a 12-man roster this week. The Under-18 team will compete in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship from July 19-23 in Valdivia, Chile.
“Our number one goal as a team is to become extremely connected around a single goal, to win a gold medal,” Smart said in a statement issued by USA Basketball. “We’re very much looking forward to coaching a group of men that will wear USA across their chest and represent our country. It’s going to be an exciting journey.”
From a sheer size standpoint, Allen and Banks have good odds of making the final cut. Allen is listed at 6 feet, 10 3/4 inches on the official roster. Banks is 6 feet, 10 1/2 inches. They’re not the biggest players out there, but they’re more experienced than others.
New York’s Mohamed Bamba and Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. are both at least 6 feet, 11 inches tall. However, both players are part of the 2017 recruiting class. Bamba has not indicated how he’s leaning; Porter’s father recently accepted a job offer on the Washington staff.
San Diego’s Brandon McCoy is another 6-11 center in the mix. He’s another 2017 recruit who is fielding offers from schools on the West Coast.
While Smart may never outright admit it, spending extra time with some of the nation’s top recruits is clearly a benefit from working with Team USA. The rest of the roster is full of guards and versatile players with top-notch recruiting rankings.
To be eligible for roster consideration, athletes must be 18 or younger and be U.S. citizens.
Two-a-days are scheduled Tuesday through Thursday with a final practice at 9:30 a.m. Friday.
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Team USA Under-18 training camp finalists
Jarrett Allen (St. Stephen’s Episcopal School/Round Rock, Texas)
Mohamed Bamba (Westtown School/New York, N.Y.)
James Banks (La Lumiere School, Ind./Decatur, Ga.)
Matt Coleman (Oak Hill Academy/Norfolk, Va.)
Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Science Academy/Corona, N.Y.)
Markelle Fultz (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Upper Marlboro, Md.)
Quade Green (Newmann-Goretti H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.)
Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa Central H.S./Clifton Park, N.Y.)
Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S./Sacramento, Calif.)
John Petty (J.O. Johnson H.S./Huntsville, Ala.)
Michael Porter Jr. (Father Tolton Catholic H.S./Columbia, Mo.)
Lonnie Walker (Reading H.S./Reading, Pa.)
M.J. Walker (Jonesboro H.S./College Park, Ga.)
Paul ‘P.J.’ Washington (Findlay Prep, Nev./Frisco, Texas)
Kris Wilkes (North Central H.S./Indianapolis, Ind.)
Cassius Winston (University of Detroit Jesuit H.S./Detroit, Mich.)
Trae Young (Norman North H.S./Norman, Okla.).
*Miles Bridges (Huntington Prep, W.Va./Flint, Mich.)
*-indicates named finalist but withdrew for family reasons