USA U16: Monday Top Performers

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- On the final day before the USA U16 team is cut from 17 to 12, the participants took part in a pair of practices that included scrimmaging, putting in offenses and working on their press.

One of the top post prospects in attendance is 6-foot-10, strongly built center prospect Wendell Carter. Although he was a tad quiet on Sunday, Carter picked it up on Monday and showed why he’s considered an elite prospect in the 2017 class. At his size, he’s easily able to carve out great post position in the paint, as well as lock down his area from a rebounding standpoint. Carter has terrific touch around the basket and his right jump hook is tough to contain. Not many of the bigs here can handle the mixture of his size, strength and skill and my guess is (assuming he makes the team) it’ll be similar in the tournament as well.

Recruiting: Duke, Kentucky, Harvard, Georgia, North Carolina, Kansas, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest

My guess would be Jarred Vanderbilt ends up being one of the focal points for this U16 team. Vanderbilt, a 2017 prospect out of Houston, is steady and reliable. At 6-foot-8, he’s quick off his feet, has turned into a very good rebounder and is a gifted passer, especially for his size. Perhaps one of his biggest strengths at this stage is his ability to snag defensive rebounds and start the break. He handles the ball well enough where he can weave through traffic and he keeps his head up, so he can deliever pinpoint passes. Vanderbilt is one of the top prospects in attendance.

Recruiting: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, Arizona, Oklahoma State, Duke

The performer of the day, at least in the second session, on Monday was 2018 guard prospect JaVonte Smart. For much of the camp, Smart has played without the ball in his hands, but during the scrimmages he spent time on the ball and he excelled. Smart tossed out seven assists and made terrific decisions when he had the ball in his hands. He ran pick and roll wells, looked up the floor in transition and even knocked down a pair of jump shots. With final cuts coming on Tuesday, Smart picked the right time to showcase his versatility and have a great practice.

Recruiting: Baylor, Wake Forest, UMass among others

Since I arrived on Sunday, Gary Trent Jr., has been one of the more stable and solid prospects in attendance. He hasn’t had a big shooting practice yet, but he’s more than capable of that and could easily break out for a big game if he makes the final cut on Tuesday afternoon. Trent Jr. played with good effort on Monday and perhaps his best play of the day was a toughness play, where he raced to the rim for an offensive put back and tossed in a tough, short range turn-around jumper over two outstretched defenders. He’s tough, durable and an equipped scorer.

Recruiting: Kansas, Ohio State, Michigan State, Kentucky, Duke, Minnesota


  • The final cut for the USA U16 team that will compete in Argentina at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship will come in-between a pair of practice sessions Tuesday afternoon. There are currently 17 players left and the list will be whittled down to 12. The coaches started with 29 prospects in the event.

    The 17 players left are 2017 prospects Wendell Carter, Jaylen Hands, Jalen Hill, Markus Howard, Kevin Knox, Jaylen Nowell, Charles O’Bannon, Jr., Gary Trent, Jarred Vanderbilt and 2018 prospects Jordan Brown, Carte’Are Gordon, Elijah Hardy, Brandon Johns, Tre Jones, JaVonte Smart, Connor Vanover and Robert Woodard.

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