Duke Commits & Targets Make USA Team

Following four trials sessions June 14-16 at the University of Texas at San Antonio, 12 of the nation's top 18-and-unders have been named to the 2010 USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team, USA Basketball today announced.

The U.S. squad will remain in San Antonio to continue training prior to the start of the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be held June 26-30 in St. Mary's University's Bill Greehey Arena in San Antonio. The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee.

Selected to represent the United States at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship were: Vander Blue (James Madison Memorial H.S. / Madison, Wis.); Trevor Cooney (Sanford H.S. / Wilmington, Del.); Abdul Gaddy (Washington / Tacoma, Wash.); Joshua Hairston (Montrose Christian School (Md.) / Fredericksburg, Va.); Kyrie Irving (St. Patrick's H.S. / Elizabeth, N.J.); Quincy Miller (Quality Education Academy / Winston-Salem, N.C.); Tony Mitchell (L.G. Pinkston H.S. / Dallas, Texas); LeBryan Nash (Lincoln H.S. / Dallas, Texas); Jereme Richmond (Waukegan H.S. / Waukegan, Ill.); Austin Rivers (Winter Park H.S. / Winter Park, Fla.); Amir Williams (Detroit Country Day / Detroit, Mich.); and Patric Young (Providence School / Jacksonville, Fla.).

"I like the make-up of our team," said USA U18 National Team and University of Oklahoma head coach Jeff Capel. "We have really good talent. We have versatility. We have guys who can really defend. We have good athleticism, guys who can score. I'm excited about coaching this group. I'm excited about seeing what we can become over these next few days."

Three athletes have previous USA Basketball experience after having played in the annual Nike Hoop Summit. Gaddy was a member of the 2009 USA Junior National Select Team that fell to the World Select Team 97-89, while Irving and Young were on the 2010 USA Junior National Select Team that was victorious over the World Select Team 101-97.

Gaddy skipped a year and graduated ahead of his high school class. As such, he is the only player on the team with a year of collegiate hoops under his belt. As a freshman at Washington, Gaddy started 26 of 33 games and averaged 4.1 ppg. and 2.2 apg. in aiding the Huskies to a 24-9 slate, the Pacific-10 Conference Tournament title and an NCAA Tournament berth.

Of the 11 remaining athletes who competed at the high school level last season, six earned All-America honors. Irving earned All-America first team honors from USA Today, Parade Magazine and Slam Magazine, and also was a McDonald's All-American and named the Gatorade New Jersey Player of the Year. Young listed on the Parade All-America second team and Rivers was tabbed as a USA Today All-USA third team selection. In addition to Irving, Richmond and Young played in the 2010 McDonald's All-America Game; while Hairston, Mitchell, Richmond, Rivers and Young were all named as 2010 Slam All-America honorable mentions.

Six have helped lead their teams to state titles, including Cooney, Hairston, Irving, Rivers, Williams and Young; while Blue, Cooney, Hairston, Irving, Mitchell, Nash, Richmond, Rivers, Williams and Young have collected all-state honors in their respective states.

Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt and University at Buffalo head coach Reggie Witherspoon are serving as assistant coaches for the 2010 USA U18 National Team.

The U.S. will train this afternoon starting at 4:00 p.m. The team is scheduled to remain in San Antonio and train twice a day starting at 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., with scrimmages scheduled against the 2010 USA Basketball Men's U17 World Championship Team in the afternoons of June 21 and 22, and against the Brazil U18 National Team on June 23.

The FIBA Americas Men's U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. On March 5 the draw was held to determine the first round groups, and the USA was placed into Group A, along with defending FIBA Americas U18 Championship gold medalist Argentina, Mexico and the Virgin Islands. Group B includes Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and Uruguay. The U.S. will open preliminary play against the Virgin Islands on June 26 at 7:00 p.m. (all times listed are local, CDT). On June 27 the USA will face Mexico at 7:00 p.m. and will close preliminary play against South American rivals Argentina on June 28 at 7:00 p.m. The semifinals are slated for June 29, and the finals will be held June 30.

Not only will a gold medal be at stake, the top four finishing nations will qualify for the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1992.

Syracuse University head coach and Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer Jim Boeheim, an assistant coach for the 2009-12 USA Basketball Men's National Team, chairs the USA Men's Junior National Team Committee. The Committee also includes NCAA appointees Lorenzo Romar, University of Washington head coach; Bruce Weber, University of Illinois head coach; and University of North Carolina head coach Roy Williams; while 2002 USA Basketball World Championship Team member Jay Williams serves as the athlete representative.

Players of Interest Quotes:
Kyrie Irving:
How did you feel when you heard your named call for making the team and how did you think your Trials went?

It was definitely a sense of relief. We've been working hard for about two-and-a-half days so coming out here and performing the way I did, I'm really proud of myself and all the guys that made it. We have a very talented team and we're going for the gold.

Was there anything you were trying to focus on to make the team or show yourself?

Just being a leader, first and foremost. That's going to be primary role next year is to be a leader on that team along with Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler, so just being a leader and being a point guard that the coaches need.

Did it help you having Nike Hoop Summit experience?

Yeah definitely it does, you get the USA experience and how important it is to beat other countries and to perform well on the biggest stage and that's playing for your country, so it's definitely important.

How much will this summer help prepare you for next season at Duke?

It will definitely help prepare me. Putting me in a point guard position along with Abdul Gaddy is going to be tough position to play, especially from the coaching staff we have they always expect great things from their point guards and especially on the USA Team.

Josh Hairston:
How did you feel when you heard your named called for making the team and how did you think your Trials went?

When I heard my name it was a big relief, just the amount of talent that was out here and to just represent your country was big time. Everybody who came to the tryouts could have been on this team, everybody from the top to the last person on the list was very talented. I think the coaches put together the best 12 guys that meshed together and play well together so it's an honor to be a part of that.

I think my trials went well. Big men usually in camps, tryouts and stuff like this really don't touch the ball that much so we have to do the little things, we got to play defense, we have to rebound, we have to run the floor, we have to talk. I felt like we did all those things and the coaches saw that and I'm proud I made the team.

Was there anything you were trying to focus on to make the team or show yourself?

Just all the little things. I wanted to show the coaches I could rebound, that I could talk on defense, that I could run the floor and that I could be a leader. One of the things my dad told me before I came out here was to just go out there and work my hardest and that's what I did.

Austin Rivers:
Your brother played at the 2005 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival, your dad was on three teams, including the 1982 USA World Championship Team, now you're going to represent the USA. What does it mean for you to follow in their footsteps in representing the United States?

It's an honor just to put U-S-A on my chest. I'm going to play to the best of my abilities to win this and carry on the USA Basketball legacy. Right now I'm going to do whatever it takes. Whatever the coaches want me to do, I'll do it.

What did you do over the four sessions to impress the selection committee?

I think I didn't force anything, as far as just trying to throw up shots. I felt like I was playing my role, playing my game, being aggressive. I thought I did pretty well passing the ball, getting people open and creating for other people. I think that's why I stayed here.

What do you bring to the team?

I would say I bring leadership as someone you can count on in a game. Whatever you need me to do, I can do it. If you need me to score, I can score. If you need me to try to get someone the ball, I can get someone the ball. I'd say a little bit of everything. Whatever you need me to do, I'll do it.

Quincy Miller:
How did you feel when you heard your named call for making the team and how did you think your Trials went?

Man it was like a relief, like yes "I made it, now I can really play game." You know when you're trying out you're trying to make all the best decisions to impress the coaches, but now you really get to play your game and show chemistry and get along with people. It's a real good feeling though.

How did you feel your trials went and was there anything you were trying to focus on to make the team or show yourself?

My trials definitely went good. I was definitely just being a defensive player and being a passer more, I wasn't trying to score on offense really.

How much will making this team help in furthering your basketball skills?

It will definitely help me. I'm the youngest player here; I'm playing with an older group. These are great players, competitive players, and it's going to help me take my game to a whole another lever.

Amir Williams:
What does it mean for you to have the opportunity to represent your country?

It's a privilege to be named to the USA team. This is a great experience, a great time for me to go out and represent my country. It's going to be a wonderful experience for me to play for this team.

What do you bring to the team?

My intensity, I attack the glass really well, I rebound, my defense, and I can score if I need to.

Were you nervous when the names were called?

I was pretty nervous. The first day I got here, I wasn't at my best. But then yesterday I picked it up a little more and today's practice I picked up even a little more. I was still kind of nervous, but when they called my name I was excited.

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