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.
NCAA announces Next Generation Sunday at 2018 Men’s Final Four
The NCAA on Thursday officially announced its Next Generation Sunday program for the 2018 Men’s Final Four.
The news was first reported earlier this month by ZAGSBLOG, with a preliminary list of invites.
Here’s the updated and full roster via USA Basketball:
Named to the team were five USA Basketball gold medalists from the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship this past summer, including tournament MVP Vern Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.), De’Vion Harmon(Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas), Wendell Moore Jr. (Cox Mill H.S./Charlotte, N.C.), Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./New Haven, Mich.) and James Wiseman (Memphis East H.S./Nashville, Tenn.).
Eleven other athletes have attended at least one USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team October Minicamp, including Cole Anthony (Archbishop Molloy H.S./New York, N.Y.), Bryan Antoine (Ranney School/Tinton Falls, N.J.), Juwan Gary (Gray Collegiate Academy/Columbia, S.C.), Zach Harvey (Hayden H.S./Topeka, Kan.), Matthew Hurt (John Marshall H.S./Rochester, Minn.), Scottie Lewis (Ranney School/Hazlet, N.J.), Isaac Okoro (McEachern H.S./Powder Springs, Ga.), Isaiah Stewart (La Lumiere School, Ind./Rochester, N.Y.) and Trendon Watford (Mountain Brook H.S./Mountain Brook, Ala.).
Rounding out the roster are USA Basketball newcomers: Armando Bacot (Trinity Episcopal School/Richmond, Va.), Joey Baker (Trinity Christian School/Fayetteville, N.C.), Will Baker (Westlake H.S./Austin, TX), Keion Brooks (North Side H.S./Fort Wayne, Ind.), Trayce Jackson-Davis (Center Grove H.S./Greenwood, Ind.), Josiah James (Porter-Gaud School/Charleston, S.C.), Jalen Lecque (Christ School/Bronx, N.Y.), Tyrese Maxey (South Garland H.S./Dallas, Texas), Pat McCaffery (West H.S./Iowa City, Iowa) and Mark Watts Jr. (Old Redford Academy/Detroit, Mich.).
The USA Junior National Select Team will be led by Don Showalter (USA Basketball), who has won nine-straight gold medals at the helm of the USA men’s U16 and U17 national teams since 2009. The USA assistant coaches will be Scott Fitch (Fairport H.S., N.Y.) and Stan Waterman (Sanford School, Del.), who assisted Showalter as the USA won gold at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Here’s the NCAA release:
Next Generation Sunday will take place on April 1 and features partnerships with NBA Academies and USA Basketball for high school-age prospects from both organizations to travel to San Antonio to participate in educational, life skills and competitive programming as part of the Final Four experience.
“Through our Next Generation Sunday program, we will provide a meaningful experience for future college students and introduce them to one of the greatest sporting events in the world,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president for basketball. “Our goal is that these future college students will benefit now and in the future as students, athletes and overall as individuals.”
Participating students from across the country and around the world will receive educational and life skills programming focused on a variety of subjects, including recruiting, eligibility, and health and wellness.
Along with these educational opportunities, students will experience aspects of the Final Four from a player’s perspective. They will go behind the scenes in the locker rooms, view team lounges, tour the stadium and attend the Final Four games.
Next Generation Sunday will also feature a competition between the four teams from NBA Academies, the NBA’s signature international development initiative that consists of a network of basketball training centers around the world. The teams will scrimmage one another during the NCAA’s Final Four Fan Fest presented by Capital One on Sunday, April 1, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scrimmages are open to all fans who attend Fan Fest.
The four participating NBA Academy teams, representing the league’s academies in Africa, Australia, China and Latin America, will also compete against the USA Basketball Junior National Select Team in closed scrimmages during their time in San Antonio.
The NBA Academies employ a holistic, 360-degree approach to player development with focuses on education, leadership, character development and life skills. Through local partnerships, student-athletes either attend a local public school or receive a scholarship to a local private school, and all student-athletes receive academic support as needed.
“We are excited to partner with the NCAA and USA Basketball to provide NBA Academy prospects with the opportunity to experience the excitement of the Final Four,” said Brooks Meek, NBA vice president, international basketball operations & head of elite basketball. “This new event is a great opportunity for NBA Academy prospects to receive important educational and life skills programming, while competing on the court against top competition.”
“The Next Generation program is an exciting and a remarkable opportunity for everyone involved,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball chief executive officer. “It will provide great insight to our young athletes about eligibility, recruiting and health and safety, while also providing them with an opportunity to experience the excitement of the NCAA Final Four.”
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.