COLORADO SPRINGS – USA Basketball is expanding its men’s junior national team program, partnering with the NBA, NCAA and National Basketball Players Association to bring about 80 high school players to training camps.
The collaboration, a first of its kind among the organizations, will bring about 20 athletes from each high school class will participate in six camps during the 2018-19 season.
The camps should help strengthen the U.S. teams that have already been dominating at the junior level, while giving the NBA earlier access to evaluate top young players.
NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt said Wednesday the expanded initiative “aligns well with a recommendation from the Commission on College Basketball” for the organizations to collaborate on a developmental program for promising teenage prospects.
The Commission recommended changing the “one-and-done” rule that requires American-born players to be 19 years old and a year removed from high school to be eligible for the NBA draft. The league and the NPBA wouldn’t commit to a change, but did support the idea of improving youth basketball.
The first camp will take place for players from all high school grades from Oct. 5-7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Another will take place at the Final Four in Minneapolis.
Players will be educated on off-court life skills, including preparation for college recruiting, and participate in a health and wellness program that will continue throughout the year. Managed by Ed Lacerte, the former head athletic trainer for the Boston Celtics and the 1992 U.S. Olympic “Dream Team,” the program will include doctors, trainers and other experts in health and performance.
There will also be a parent education program.
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts says the youth basketball partnership “is an effort that is long overdue.”