COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (April 7, 2016) – University of Texas head coach Shaka Smart will guide the 2016 USA Basketball Men’s U18 National Team in its quest for a fourth straight U18 gold medal, along with USA assistant coaches Kevin Ollie of the University of Connecticut and Mark Turgeon of the University of Maryland.
The trio will lead the USA at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 19-23 in Valdivia, Chile. Not only is a gold medal at stake, the top four finishing teams will earn a qualifying berth in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.
“With his experience from the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, Shaka Smart is an excellent choice to lead the 2016 USA U18 National Team,” said Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), chair of the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee, which selected the USA coaching staff. “Coach Smart and assistant coaches Kevin Ollie and Mark Turgeon are very successful head coaches at the college level, and the USA team will be completely prepared to compete for the gold medal.”
Smart helped USA Basketball teams to gold medals at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. Overall as a USA Basketball assistant coach, Smart is 14-0.
In his first season as head coach for the University of Texas in 2015-16, Smart led his team to a 20-13 record and an NCAA Tournament appearance. Prior to that, he was a head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University for six seasons (2009-10 to 2014-15), where he compiled a 163-56 record (.744 winning percentage) and made five NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2011 Final Four.
He also has 10 seasons of experience as an assistant coach at five different schools, and as an assistant coach, he has an all-time record of 220-97 (.694 winning percentage).
“It’s a tremendous honor to coach the USA U18 National Team and represent our country in international play,” Smart said. “The opportunity to work with Kevin Ollie and Mark Turgeon is something I’m extremely excited about. They are two of the best coaches in the country, and I’m looking forward to learning a great deal from each of them.”
In 2015-16, Ollie led Connecticut to a 25-11 record, an American Athletic Conference Tournament title and the NCAA Tournament second round. In four seasons overall as the Huskies head coach, he owns a 97-44 record (.688 winning percentage), including winning the 2014 NCAA National Championship.
He was an assistant coach for two seasons at Connecticut (2010-11 and 2011-12), during which time the Huskies were 52-23 (.693 winning percentage) and won the 2011 NCAA Championship.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be a part of USA Basketball,” Ollie said. “Any time you are asked to represent your country, especially in a worldwide competition, it comes with a tremendous sense of pride and responsibility. I am grateful to be asked to help mold these outstanding young men into a team that can compete at the highest level.”
Turgeon served as a USA Basketball court coach this past summer at the 2015 U.S. Pan American Men’s Basketball Team training camp.
In 2015-16, Turgeon led the Terrapins to a 27-9 record and the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen.
In his five seasons as head coach at the University of Maryland, he owns an overall record of 114-49 record (.675 winning percentage).
He also was the head coach at Texas A&M University for four seasons, at Wichita State University for seven seasons and at Jacksonville State University for two seasons. In 18 seasons as a collegiate head coach, he is 364-218 (.625 winning percentage).
He also owns 10 years of experience as a college assistant coach and one year (1997-98) as an assistant coach with the NBA Philadelphia 76ers.
“I’m really excited and appreciative of this opportunity to be associated with USA Basketball and the U18 national team,” Turgeon said. “I have a great deal of respect for Shaka Smart and Kevin Ollie and look forward to working with them and a talented group of players.”
In addition to Boeheim, the USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team Committee includes Bob McKillop (Davidson University), Matt Painter (Purdue University), Lorenzo Romar (University of Washington) and athlete representative Curtis Sumpter.
2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship
Training camp to determine the USA’s 12-member roster for the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 National Team will take place June 14-18 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and July 11-15 in Houston. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).
The 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. The top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Earning automatic berths for the 2016 from North America are Canada and the United States; Argentina, Brazil and Chile punched their tickets by finishing in the top three of the 2015 South American U17 Championship; and Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands took the three berths available from the 2015 Centrobasket U17 Championship.
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifier, the tournament was held every four years between 1990-2006. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2006 championship 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 48-2 in the U18 / Junior World Championship Qualifiers and won gold in 1990, 1994, 1998, 2006, 2010, 2012 and 2014, while capturing silver in 2008 and bronze in 2002.
Past USA U18 team members of note include: Carmelo Anthony (2002); Chris Bosh (2002); Nick Collison (1998); Jonny Flynn (2006); Grant Hill (1990); Allan Houston (1990); Andre Iguodala (2002); Kyrie Irving (2010); Stanley Johnson (2014); Stephon Marbury (1994); Austin Rivers (2010); Kyle Singler (2006); Marcus Smart (2012); Jarnell Stokes (2012); Rasheed Sulaimon (2012); Kemba Walker (2008); Deron Williams (2002); and Justise Winslow (2014).