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October 9, 2012

USA 16U: Who we would select

MORE: Big men stand out at USA minicamp

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- It won't be until next June that USA Basketball picks the final 12 members of their next 16 and under national team. But, after spending the weekend in Colorado Springs watching the fall mini-camp, we have our own ideas about who we would select based off of the minicamp and we'd definitely be building around big men like Harry Giles, Ivan Rabb, Daniel Giddens and Diamond Stone.

Here's a look at how Rivals.com would pick the 12 man roster (along with two alternates) at this point. Keep in mind that there were just over 10 players at the mini-camp who won't be eligible (birthdays earlier than 1997) to make the team and that there are other prospects could be added to next June's tryout. Also, because these guys are so young, their games will change a lot between now and June.

Bryant Crawford, 6-foot-2 PG, Washington (D.C.) Gonzaga (2015) - There isn't anything flashy about the way Crawford plays, but he sure gets the job done. He's a team player all the way, understands how to run a team and will involve his scorers. On top of that he's a pretty good defender.

Eric Davis, 6-foot-1 PG/SG, Saginaw (Mich.) Arthur Hill (2015) - Pure and simple, Davis is a natural scorer. He's not a freaky athlete (although he's certainly a very good athlete) but instead has exceptional body control that allows him to find driving lanes most wouldn't see. He's a streak shooter from deep and plays with a lot of confidence.

Daniel Giddens, 6-foot-10 C, Atlanta (Ga.) Wheeler (2015) - Every great team needs a guy in the middle who can erase mistakes at the rim. Giddens is that guy. The sophomore is a long armed shot blocker who can really sprint the floor. He controls his area with physicality on both ends of the floor and should develop just fine on the offensive end.

Harry Giles, 6-foot-8 PF/SF, High Point (N.C.) Wesleyan Christian (2016) - It wouldn't be a surprise if this guy eventually ended up leading the USA team in scoring and rebounding. The freshman from North Carolina is a special talent and already a physical freak of nature who won't turn 15 until late April. He scores, he rebounds, he runs the floor and he's a potential star.

Josh Jackson, 6-foot-6 SF, Detroit (Mich.) Consortium (2016) - Jackson is all about getting to the hole and he's quite proficient at it. Not only does he get there, he gets there quickly because of a great first step and he's an explosive finisher at the rim. He's a terrific transition player and has all the makings of a lock down wing defender.

V.J. King, 6-foot-5 SF/SG, Akron (Ohio). St. Vincent-St. Mary (2016) - Talk about a high-level wing prospect, King looks to have the entire package. He's a good athlete, he can create off the dribble, he has a great frame and he's already a standout pull-up jump shooter. He's a pretty good passer and rebounds as well.

Joshua Langford, 6-foot-4 SG, Madison (Ala.) Academy (2016) - With his physical build, mental toughness and leadership skills, it's hard not to see a bit of Marcus Smart in Langford. Like Smart, he's a playmaker who is best with the ball in his hands. He's not quite the passer/handler that Smart was just yet, but he's a more explosive athlete.

Malik Newman. 6-foot-4 SG/PG, Jackson (Miss.) Callaway (2015) - Probably the best scorer at the mini-camp, Newman can flat fill it up from the perimeter. The release on his jumper is clean and crisp, he creates off the dribble and he's a strong finisher. Given his ability to score, Newman is surprisingly unselfish.

Ivan Rabb, 6-foot-9 PF, Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd (2015) - Even though he's only a sophomore, Rabb is already quite well known on the national circuit. He's a springy athlete around the rim who gobbles up rebounds and sprints the floor for dunks. He can face up defenders with regularity between 12 and 15 feet and is going to be one of a very select few of early five-star prospects in 2015.

Diamond Stone, 6-foot-10 C/PF, Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican (2015) - Like Rabb, Stone is a safe bet for early five-star status. But unlike Rabb (or Giddens and Giles), Stone isn't a high flyer and is relatively average athletically. But, at 250 pounds he's big, strong and combines that size with great hands, good feet and very soft touch. Stylistically, he compares to a young Kevin Love.

Jayson Tatum, 6-foot-5 SG/PG, St. Louis (Mo.) Chaminade (2016) - This pick is a futures pick. A 6-foot-5 perimeter play who may eventually play anywhere from point to small forward, Tatum is a very interesting prospect. He reminds some of a young Shaun Livingston with his ball handling and passing, will grow into his body and has a good overall feel for the game.

Derryck Thornton, 6-foot-0 PG, Chatsworth (Calif.) Sierra Canyon (2016) - There wasn't anybody any better at the point guard spot during the mini-camp. The six-footer has very good quickness, is a pass first guy and is very aggressive attacking the paint off the dribble. Thornton is also very good on the defensive side of the ball.


Malik Monk, 6-foot-2 SG, Lepanto (Ark.) East Poinsett County (2016) - He's got a baby face and when he walks onto the floor he doesn't catch your eye as a guy who looks like a player. Once he gets moving you realize quickly that he's a player. Monk is a big time athlete who can shoot it a bit from deep. If he grows a little and adds some strength between now and June, he will make a strong push for a roster spot.

Henry Ellenson, 6-foot-9 C/PF, Rice Lake (Wisc.) High (2015) - There weren't a lot of shooters in camp, but Ellenson may have been one of (if not the) best catch and shoot guys in Colorado Springs. The big man is quite dangerous in pick and pop situations and crafty around the bucket. If the USA coaches decide that they want to go big and need another shooter, he'll be even more in the mix than he already is.

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