June 16, 2013
The USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee announced 16 finalists for this summer's U19 team Sunday, and Tennessee rising junior forward Jarnell Stokes made the cut.
A total of 26 players have been vying for 12 precious roster spots since Friday at the Men's U19 World Championship Team training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The final four roster cuts will be announced in the next few days, and the 12-member Junior National Team will compete in the FIBA U19 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic, June 27-July 7.
Stokes is one of 16 players at training camp who boast previous USA Basketball experience. He was a starter on last summer's U18 FIBA Americas Championships squad that captured the gold medal in Brazil.
"We had 26 really, really good players and all of the guys made the selection very, very difficult," USA U19 head coach Billy Donovan said. "I think the thing that stands out about this team is just the athleticism; the speed and quickness; the ability to defend and put pressure on people; and offensive rebound.
"We still have to get down to 12 players, and the challenge right now is to see how these 16 guys fit into what we're trying to do. We'll learn a lot more in the next three practices; we'll see how well guys pick up certain things; how the chemistry is; the way they bond, the way they connect.
"I think the biggest thing is just our unity, us being connected, understanding what the goal is and them playing together, playing unselfishly. We have a lot of versatile players; guys that can move to different positions; I think we have a lot of size and strength on this team; I think we have guards that can defend and have good quickness and speed."
Player selections for the USA U19 World Championship Team are made by the 2013-16 USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee. In addition to chair and NCAA representative Jim Boeheim, the committee features four additional voting members: NCAA appointees Bob McKillop (head coach, Davidson), Matt Painter (head coach, Purdue) and Lorenzo Romar (head coach, Washington), as well as athlete representative Curtis Sumpter, a 2011 USA Pan American Games and 2004 USA U20 National Team member.