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USA BBall: Projecting the U16 National Team

Isaiah Todd
Isaiah Todd (Courtesy of USA Basketball)

COLORADO SPRINGS – USA Basketball announced Sunday that it had cut down the participants at the U16 National Team tryouts to a final group of 16. After spending most of the weekend in Colorado Springs and viewing four sessions of tryouts, I've got the 12 I would pick based off their play in an effort to build the most well-balanced team.

MORE USA BBALL: Fresh faces at USA Basketball

THE STARTING FIVE

Why keep him?: It was a tough decision between Carey and fellow top five 2019 classmate James Wiseman for my starting center. I leaned toward Carey because of his strength and because this team will need a post man with touch and power.

Recruitment: UCLA and Oklahoma State are his most recent offers. Miami, Florida, Florida State and Louisville are among the others involved.

Why keep him?: A skilled forward who can shoot and run in transition, Todd is on a very short list of players who are in the hunt to debut at No. 1 when we rank 2020 for the first time after the summer. I like his touch, his versatility and I think international basketball will suit his game.

Recruitment: Already has offers from Kansas, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Baylor, Wake Forest, Maryland, Miami and others.

Read more on Todd's recruitment.

Why keep him?: The more I watch Moore, how good of a teammate he is just sticks out again and again. He does all the little things, is very tough and is a good transition scorer and defender who rebounds bigger than his size.

Recruitment: Offers from North Carolina, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Tennessee and others.

Why keep him?: First of all, Hampton looked to me like as pure a scorer as there was in camp. Though he's a point guard, his size and scoring allow him to slide over and play as a two. Plus, it would give the U16 team some flexibility in the backcourt with him as a secondary playmaker.

Recruitment: Baylor, Kansas, Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, SMU and others have already offered.

Why keep him?: Suggs is a stud point guard who puts pressure on defenders with his physical and athletic drives. He makes good passes in transition and I think he showed the ability to be a big-time defender at the point guard position.

Recruitment: Minnesota, Iowa State, Iowa, Marquette, Baylor, Georgia Tech and UNLV have made early offers.

Read more on Suggs' recruitment

WISEMAN HIGHLIGHTS RESERVES

James Wiseman
James Wiseman (USA Basketball)

Ok, now let's take a look at the seven players I would pick as reserves.

* Headlining my list of reserves is James Wiseman. A top five prospect in the class of 2019, Wiseman may have the most long-term potential of anybody at the tryouts and he could easily be a starter. It would be a real surprise to see him left off of the team. According to USA Basketball, he's now pushing 7-foot with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, so he has size and length, and is a high level athlete on top of that.

* For my next true big man I'm going with 2019 four-star Eric Dixon. He's a widebodied and tough back-to-the-basket scorer and has some Lonnie Baxter to his game.

* Based on what I saw, I also like 2019 five-star Romeo Weems and potential 2020 five-star Scott Barnes for this group. Weems is physically tough, plays much bigger than his 6-foot-6 size and is a no-nonsense guy. Barnes is more of a lean playmaker and while his release point is a little low, he is a good shooter with some time and space. I would want these guys because they can both play either the small or power forward positions.

* For off the bench scoring punch, Jalen Green makes a lot of sense on this team. The 2020 wing is a pure scorer who has no fear of letting open shots fly and he's a transition finisher. He would be instant offense and could certainly push to start.

* With my last two spots I am taking point guards Jeremy Roach and Nico Mannion, both from the class of 2020. Roach has toughness, athleticism and is a very aggressive on-the-ball defender. As for Mannion, the tryouts were a bit short on shooters and he was as good as anybody in attendance from deep while I was there. Like the previously mentioned Hampton, he could easily slide over and play some as a two-guard.

More recruiting news: Mannion | Roach | Green