USA Basketball announced Wednesday plans to expand its Men's Junior National Team program to include additional training camps and year-round player development in collaboration with the NBA, NBA Players Association and the NCAA.
The joint effort will link key stakeholders with one another to improve the development pathway for talented high school players to maximize their success.
“This is a great collaboration between four major influencers in the sport with the aim of creating a better experience for these young athletes as they look to navigate their basketball journey in high school, college and professional levels,” said USA Basketball chairman Martin Dempsey. “We believe this vibrant program will not only assist the players in their on court development, but also assist them and their families with life skills, and health and wellness knowledge that will last a lifetime.”
Approximately 20 athletes from each high school grade—80 in total—will take part in six training camps and competitions scheduled by USA Basketball's Junior National Team during the 2018-19 calendar year, including one at the site of the 2019 NCAA Men's Final Four in Minneapolis. In addition, the camps will offer expanded training and athletes will participate in a health and wellness program that will be managed by program director of player health and sports performance, Ed Lacerte.
The program will focus on players' life-skills education and off-court development, and will feature education sessions on a variety of related topics, such as positive decision making, healthy relationships, cultural understanding and diversity, leadership and character development, collegiate eligibility and recruiting.
A parent education program is also being introduced to provide families with resources and info created to help support their athlete's development.
“It’s a natural fit to take the excellent life skills instruction and off-court development programs we provide for NBA players and stretch them out so that we can provide support and guidance to young, developing talent,” NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said. “This is an effort that is long overdue.”