If you watched USC hoops closely this past season, you probably know that De'Anthony Melton was the Trojans' most indispensable player. Now he's going to get an opportunity to show why against some of the nation's elite.
The rising sophomore guard has been selected as one of 28 players invited to USA Basketball's Under-19 team training camp for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup. Melton will travel to the United State Olympic Training center in Colorado Springs, Colo for the June 18-25 training camp.
"We’re excited about the players who have accepted our invitation to attend the USA Men’s U19 training camp,” said Purdue head coach and selection committee chair Matt Painter said in a statement released by USA Basketball. “We have an outstanding group of players, some of whom have prior USA Basketball experience, some with outstanding collegiate experience and some of the best high school players in America. It will be very competitive in tryouts to make the 12-person U19 team.”
He averaged 8.3 points and 4.7 rebounds, but it was on the defensive end that Melton really stood out. With elastic arms that give the 6-foot-4 Melton a 6-foot-8 wingspan, he quickly emerged as a lockdown defender that can cause havoc for ball carriers on the wings and also go down in the paint to block some shots. He led the Pac-12 in total steals, averaging nearly two per game. His 69 swipes were tied for the most by a freshman in USC history. He also averaged more than a block per outing, finishing third on the team with 37 and was second in rebounds and assists.
The Trojans' Swiss Army knife started to get more and more national attention for his well-rounded game late in the season. He is now even being projected as a potential top 20 pick in the 2018 NBA draft, which could become a reality if the super athletic Melton improves his shooting ability. He shot just 28.4 percent on three-point attempts as a freshman, but finished with a solid freshman shooting percentage of 43.7 overall thanks to his ability to get into the paint off the dribble and get to the rim.
Melton joins a talented group. Sixteen of the 28 players invited have previous experience with USA Basketball, including four members of the 2016 U18 national team that qualified the United State for this summer's U19 World Cup where the Americans will look for their third straight gold medal in the event. Kentucky coach John Calipari will coach the team during the July 1-9 event in Cairo, Egypt.
There will be four practice/training sessions from June 18-20 before cuts are made and finalists are named with the final team to be named on June 22.
Other notable players receiving invites to the training camp, include USC 2018 center target Bol Bol from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, Bel Air (Md.) John Carroll point guard recruit Immanuel Quickley, former USC recruit Brandon McCoy, who is headed to UNLV, and two other players from the Pac-12 -- Washington State guard Malachi Flynn and Oregon's Payton Pritchard. Colorado head coach Tad Boyle is also on Calipari's coaching staff.
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