Following three trials sessions held at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C., and featuring 18 of the nation’s top 18-and-unders, USA Basketball today announced 14 finalists for the 2008 USA Men’s U18 National Team. Headlined by four returning USA Basketball veterans, the finalists, comprised of athletes born on or after Jan. 1, 1990, will remain in Washington, D.C., to train through July 10 before departing for the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. The eventual 12-member team will be finalized by July 8.
Athlete selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, chaired by Syracuse University head coach Jim Boeheim.
“I’m thrilled with the effort, with the competitiveness and with the attitude of every one of the guys who were a part of these trials. We’re down to 14 players right now and we still have two players to cut, but it’s incredibly competitive and the talent level is superb; and most importantly and most satisfying is the fact that they are so willing to learn and so willing to get better. The coaching staff – John, Anthony and myself – have meshed really well in a short time together. We have what we think is superb chemistry on the coaching staff and we are going to work to make sure it filters down to the team,” said USA and Davidson College head coach Bob McKillop.
Malcom Lee (John W. North H.S. / Riverside, CA) is the most veteran USA Basketball finalist and is one step closer to making his third USA Basketball squad. Most recently Lee helped lead the USA to a 98-78 victory over the World Select Team at the Nike Hoop Summit in April and helped force 25 World turnovers and 18 USA steals.
Lee first showcased his talent in a USA Basketball uniform at the 2007 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival, held in Colorado Springs, Colo. Also returning from the Festival are: Leslie McDonald (Briarcrest H.S. / Memphis, TN); Travis Releford (Bishop Miege H.S. / Shawnee Mission, KS) and Lance Stephenson (Abraham Lincoln H.S. / Brooklyn, NY).
Rounding out the finalists roster are USA Basketball newcomers: Dominic Cheek (St. Anthony H.S. / Jersey City, NJ); JaMychal Green (St. Jude H.S. / Montgomery, AL); Matt Humphrey (Hales Franciscian H.S. / Chicago, IL); Ryan Kelly (Ravenscroft H.S. / Raleigh, NC); Mason Plumlee (Christ H.S. / Arden, N.C.) Kemba Walker (Rice H.S. / New York, N.Y.); Maalik Wayns (Roman Catholic H.S. / Philadelphia, PA); David Wear (Mater Dei H.S. / Santa Ana, CA); Travis Wear (Mater Dei H.S. / Santa Ana, CA) and Wesley Witherspoon (Berkman H.S. / Lilburn, GA).
Virginia Commonwealth University head coach Anthony Grant and Georgetown University head coach John Thompson III are serving as assistant coaches.