COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 27, 2014) - Two-time defending champions and six-time gold medalists at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, the United States today learned it would face Argentina, Mexico and Uruguay in the preliminary round of the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men.
Hosted by USA Basketball June 20-24 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo., the U18 zone championship features a total of eight U18 national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. In addition to the USA and its Group B opponents, the remainder of the field was drawn into Group A and includes: Brazil, Canada, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.
"First of all, thanks to FIBA Americas for entrusting USA Basketball to host this championship," said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/executive director. "This is the third time we're hosting the event in the United States, and we look forward to welcoming our friends from the Americas to Colorado Springs in June.
"The draw is balanced. There will be many competitive games throughout the tournament. I think the fans here in the USA will be treated to some excellent basketball this summer."
Following the June 20-22 round-robin preliminary games, the top two finishing teams from each group will advance to the June 23 medal semifinals and the finals will be held on June 24.
This year's zone qualifier will see the top four finishing teams -- the four medal semifinalists -- earn a berth into the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The USA owns a sterling 43-2 winning record over eight U18 tournaments and has medaled in each of the eight U18s held.
Argentina (2008) and Puerto Rico (2002) are the only other nations to claim gold at the U18 zone qualifier. In all, Argentina owns one gold medal and four silver medals; Puerto Rico has one gold and one bronze; Brazil has claimed two silvers and two bronze medals; Canada has captured the past three bronze medals; while Venezuela, which didn't qualify for this year's tournament, won the silver medal when it hosted the event in 2002.
USA Basketball will conduct a men's U18 training camp June 10-19 at the USOTC, which will be used to determine the 12-player roster. Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1996.
University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan returns for his third-straight summer to head up the USA U18 National Team coaching staff, which is rounded out by collegiate head coaches Ed Cooley of Providence College and Sean Miller of the University of Arizona.
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifier, the U18 tournament for men was held every four years between 1990-2006. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2006 zone championships, and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.
USA men's teams are an impressive 43-2 in the U18/Junior World Championship Qualifiers and have won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010 and 2012, while capturing silver in 2008 and bronze in 2002.
Hosts of prior U18 championships are: Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil, in 2012; San Antonio, Texas, in 2010 and 2006; Formosa, Argentina, in 2008; Isla Margarita, Venezuela, in 2002; Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, in 1998; Santa Rosa, Argentina, in 1994; and Montevideo, Uruguay in 1990.
Some of the U.S. U18 alumni of note include: Carmelo Anthony (2002); Chris Bosh (2002); Dee Brown (2002); Nick Collison (1998); Jonny Flynn (2006); Grant Hill (1990); Allan Houston (1990); Andre Iguodala (2002); Kyrie Irving (2010); Stephon Marbury (1994); Mike Miller (1998); Julius Randle (2012); Quentin Richardson (1998); Austin Rivers (2010); Kyle Singler (2006); Marcus Smart (2012); Jarnell Stokes (2012); Rasheed Sulaimon (2012); Kemba Walker (2008) and Deron Williams (2002).
Top international players who have competed at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship include: Leandro Barbosa (Brazil) in 1994; Jose Barea (Puerto Rico) in 2002; Gregory Echenique (Venezuela) in 2008; Juan Fernandez (Argentina) in 2008; Todd MacCulloch (Canada) in 1994; Jamal Magloire (Canada) in 1994; Raul Neto (Brazil) in 2010; Peter Ramos (Puerto Rico) in 2002; Luis Scola (Argentina) in 1998; Tiago Splitter (Brazil) in 2002; Andrew Wiggins (Canada) in 2012 and Jesse Young (Canada) in 1998.