May 15, 2012

Wesleyan's John Thompson Joins USA Basketball

Rocky Mount, N.C. - The USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team committee has released its list of coaches and players chosen for the 2012 U18 National Team Training Camp. A trio of experienced and successful college coaches will lead the team, including Billy Donovan (Florida) as head coach, with Mark Few (Gonzaga) and Shaka Smart (Virginia Commonwealth) as assistant coaches. Joining them as a Court Coach at the Training Camp will be North Carolina Wesleyan's John Thompson, who will travel to the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs June 5-12 to offer instruction to the 24 players who have accepted invitations.

Having recently completed his 17th season at the helm of the Battling Bishop men's basketball program, Thompson is a three-time USA South Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and has turned in a program-best 253 wins during his Wesleyan tenure. He is thrilled to join a truly elite group of coaches and players.

"I am very honored to have been selected to work with USA Basketball," said Thompson. "I look forward to doing anything I can to help as Coach Donovan prepares to take the team to Brazil, in pursuit of the FIBA Americas Gold Medal."

Following the first three or four days of training camp, finalists for the team will be selected by the USA Men's Junior National Team Committee and will continue to train at the USOTC. The official 12-member 2012 USA Men's U18 National Team will be selected prior to the team's departure for the Championship held June 16-20.

"It will be important to learn to play together as a team in a short amount of time," Donovan said. "We need to demonstrate great focus and teamwork and bring a high level of energy and effort every day in order to have success both in training camp and throughout the competition."

"We have a very talented group of young players that will have a great chance of bringing home a gold medal in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship," said Syracuse's Jim Boeheim, chair of the USA Junior National Team Committee. "As is the case each year, our USA Team will be up against the best players in their age group in the world. They will face great competition from the other participating countries."

The players represent 15 states and include notable ACC recruits Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke), Rodney Purvis (N.C. State) and Tarboro's Montrezl Harrell (Virginia Tech). A complete listing of invitees can be found here.

Eight teams will compete in the 2012 U18 zone qualifier, including the USA, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. The top four finishing teams in the tournament will qualify for next summer's 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship.

In addition to chair Boeheim, the USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Lorenzo Romar (University of Washington), Bruce Weber (Kansas State University) and Roy Williams (University of North Carolina), as well as athlete representative Jay Williams (2002 USA World Championship Team).

About USA Basketball
Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.

Since 2008, USA Basketball men's and women's teams have compiled a sterling 134-6 win-loss record in FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. USA teams are the current men's and women's champions of the Olympics and FIBA World Championship; FIBA women's U19 world champions; the men's and women's title holders for the FIBA U17 World Championship; and the men's and women's U18 and U16 FIBA Americas champions. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.