Winston Finalist for USA U18 Team, Bridges Withdraws

Incoming Michigan State freshman guard and the latest award winner of Mr. Basketball in the state of Michigan Cassius Winston, is among the 17 finalists for the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team. Fellow incoming freshman Miles Bridges withdrew due to family reasons. The team will resume training camp activities on July 11.

 “For family reasons I will be unable to continue my participation with the U18 National Team,” Bridges said in a press release. “USA Basketball is a great organization and I hope to be a part of it again in the near future.”

Bridges is the No. 12 recruit overall, according to 247Sports. He headlines Tom Izzo’s most hyped recruiting class in the better part of two decades, along with Winston, who is the No. 33 recruit overall, according to 247Sports.

The U18 team has 16 other participants from around the country. The roster, along with the aforementioned Winston and Bridges, is as follows:

Jarrett Allen (St. Stephen’s Episcopal School/Round Rock, Texas)

Mohamed Bamba (Westtown School/New York, N.Y.)

James Banks (La Lumiere School, Ind./Decatur, Ga.)

Matt Coleman (Oak Hill Academy/Norfolk, Va.)

Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Science Academy/Corona, N.Y.)

Markelle Fultz (DeMatha Catholic H.S./Upper Marlboro, Md.)

Quade Green (Newmann-Goretti H.S./Philadelphia, Pa.)

Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa Central H.S./Clifton Park, N.Y.)

Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S./Sacramento, Calif.)

John Petty (J.O. Johnson H.S./Huntsville, Ala.)

Michael Porter Jr. (Father Tolton Catholic H.S./Columbia, Mo.)

Lonnie Walker (Reading H.S./Reading, Pa.)

M.J. Walker (Jonesboro H.S./College Park, Ga.)

Paul ‘P.J.’ Washington (Findlay Prep, Nev./Frisco, Texas)

Kris Wilkes(North Central H.S./Indianapolis, Ind.)

Trae Young (Norman North H.S./Norman, Okla.)

The USA captured gold at the 2014 Americas U18 Championship in Colorado Springs, Colo., going 5-0. The team have a record of 48-2 in FIBA Americas U18 competitions. The Americans have won the gold medal seven times. They also earned the silver medal in 2008 and the bronze in 2002. This season, Team USA are heavy favorites over the rest of the competition.

The USA team will play in Group B and will open the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 preliminary play on July 19 against Puerto Rico. Following that game, the Americans will have a showdown with the host nation Chile on July 20. Then on July 21 they will face the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The semifinals will take place on July 22, featuring the top two teams from each group. The bottom two teams from each group will play out for fifth through eighth places. On July 23, the semifinal winners will meet in the gold medal game, and the semifinal losers will play in the bronze medal game on the same day.

Shaka Smart from the University of Texas is the head coach for the young group of men, with Kevin Ollie and Mark Turgeon from the University of Connecticut and the University of Maryland respectively, serving as assistant coaches for Team USA.

“Our coaching staff is excited about resuming practice in Houston and traveling with this terrific group to Chile,” Smart said in a press release. “Our number one goal as a team is to become extremely connected around a single goal, to win a gold medal. We’re very much looking forward to coaching a group of men that will wear USA across their chest and represent our country. It’s going to be an exciting journey.”