USA Basketball U17 Trials to Draw Players, Coaches Away from AAU Events; Serves as Incubator for Potential Package Talk | Zagsblog
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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Friday / June 21.
  • USA Basketball U17 Trials to Draw Players, Coaches Away from AAU Events; Serves as Incubator for Potential Package Talk

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    USA U17s

    College basketball coaches across America will head out on Wednesday for the third of three NCAA sanctioned recruiting weekends in the month of July.

    While coaches will flock to events in Las Vegas, Louisville, New Jersey and elsewhere in hopes of securing future players, the single greatest concentration of talent might be taking place at the USA Basketball U17 trials in Colorado Springs, CO.

    Several hundred coaches are expected in Colorado Springs on Friday – the one day the trials are open to college coaches — many of them stopping through on their way to or from Vegas to scout the talent.

    Talent that won’t be in Louisville for AAU Nationals or in New Jersey at Live in AC or the Battle of Borders or at any other event across America.

    Check out the roster for this U17 team: it is loaded.

    Malik Newman

    Malik Monk

    Ivan Rabb

    Tyus Battle

    Derryk Thornton

    Jayson Taytum

    Harry Giles

    Caleb Swanigan

    Duval Moore

    Bryant Crawford….

    And on and on.

    Usually when USA Basketball youth events take place, it’s not during a live period, so coaches aren’t allowed in.

    Just last month the U18s trained for the 2014 FIBA Americas Championship — which they ultimately won — but it didn’t overlap with a live period, so coaches weren’t there.

    Now instead of watching kids compete in an AAU setting — where play can sometimes be loose, scattered and unfocused — these players will be going hard for spots on the U.S. U17 team, which cuts from 33 to 16 on Saturday morning and then to a final 12 on Monday or Tuesday.

    You think coaches will appreciate seeing these kids go hard in such an organized setting with so much at stake?

    The other thing to think about here is that USA Basketball can often serve as an incubator for kids talking about playing together in college.

    As we’ve discussed many times, making such packages come to fruition is very hard to do, but this is where kids talk about it.

    Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow all bonded through USA Basketball — under Coach K’s leadership and, some would say, the recruiting advantage he has as the head coach of USA Basketball — and ultimately pledge to Duke.

    File that storyline away if Duke is playing the Final Four next spring.

    Just this week at the Peach Jam, Tatum, a 6-8 guard from St. Louis Chaminade, said he planned to speak with Giles, Seventh Woods and Dennis Smith Jr. about potentially joining forces in college.

    The 6-10 Rabb told he has talked to Newman and Diamond Stone about a package, with Kansas and Kentucky mentioned as possible landing spots.

    In addition to those guys, 2016 guards Battle and Thornton have also talked about playing together in college, potentially at Kentucky, UConn or Michigan.

    Still, Raab admits it’s hard to make any of these packages come to fruition.

    “It’s definitely hard to make it happen because everybody has to be happy in that situation,” Rabb told at the Peach Jam.

    But if anything serves as an incubator for such talk, it’s bonding and living together at USA Basketball.

    Photo: USA Basketball

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

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