Marcus Smart, an incoming freshman for the Oklahoma State Cowboy Basketball team, has been named to the 2012 USA Men's U18 National Team, it was announced early Sunday morning by USA Basketball. He is one of 12 players to make the squad.
"I think we've got some balance, we've got some versatility, we can move guys to some different positions," said USA head coach Billy Donovan. "This has been a group that has picked up things pretty well so far, so I'm excited about it. The thing I've been most impressed with since we started is just their attitudes. It seems like we've got really good chemistry, they get along real well, they seem to be a cohesive group."
This will mark the second-consecutive FIBA Americas U18 Championship that includes a Cowboy on the USA squad. Current OSU player Le'Bryan Nash was a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio, Texas.
Featuring some of the nation's top 18-year-old and younger players, the USA team will compete in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20 in Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil. The U.S. Team will continue to train through June 11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., and will depart June 12 for Brazil.
Eight teams will compete in the 2012 U18 Americas zone qualifier, including the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The top four finishing teams in the tournament will qualify for next summer's 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The USA will open play against the U.S. Virgin Islands on Saturday, June 16 (12 pm CDT), followed by Mexico on Sunday, June 17 (12 pm CDT) and Brazil on Monday, June 18 (4 pm CDT). The top two teams from Group A and Group B will advance to play for first-fourth place, while the No. 3 and No. 4 ranked teams play out for 5th-8th place. The semifinals will be played on Tuesday, June 19, and the gold medal game will be contested on Wednesday, June 20.
In the hunt for a sixth gold medal, USA men's teams are 38-2 overall in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship (formerly known as the Junior World Championship Qualifier), and have won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010, silver in 2008 and bronze in 2002.