USA U16 Team Breakdown

Sat, 07/06/2019 - 8:09pm

USA Basketball dominated the FIBA Americans U16 Championship, capturing the gold medal in Belem, Brazil. With the likely change in NBA policy enabling direct entry to the NBA upon graduating from high school coming in the class of 2022, the U16 team has recently provided a glimpse into the next wave of elite American players. This is a breakdown of the gold-medal winning U16 team:


AJ Griffin 6’7” Wing, Class of 2021 Age: 15


U16 USA TeamU16 USA TeamCompetitive 3-level scorer with an above-average shot; Exceptional at finishing through contact and a solid FT shooter; Willing passer; Versatile defender, but best at guarding 2-4; Much improved offensive rebounder; High IQ player overall; Limited low-post game, but can operate down low; Excellent frame and size; Very strong overall for his age; More of a positional defender that utilizes his frame, lateral quickness and strength, but is an above-average weak-side shot-blocker; Shot selection could use some improvement and further tightening of his handle; Very coachable--father is an assistant with the Raptors and played in the NBA; Sister was a McDonald's AA and brother is a sophomore on Illinois; Needs to become more vocal on the court; Won a state title as a freshman for a program that had not won a title in 58 years; High intangibles; Consistently, a top 3 player each day; Young for his grade; Significant upside

Schools recruiting him: Almost all, but Villanova, Duke, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, Kansas, and UConn, among others

Players he models his game after: Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard

Jabari Smith, Jr.: 6'8" F, Class of 2021 Age: 16


Perhaps the top long-term prospect in attendance; Versatile, three-level scorer with size; Good handle for his size and significantly improved three-point shot; Wiry strength; Good form on his shot, but his shot selection needs refinement; Ever improving rebounder and can bang inside with stronger players, utilizing his quickness, length, and positioning; Uses his length and athleticism on the defensive end to disrupt passing lanes and as a weak-side shot-blocker; Excellent mix of size, skill, and athleticism to either be able to function as a big wing or a stretch 4; Needs to add significant upper-body strength; Thin frame; Vocal teammate; Father played at LSU and was drafted in the second round by the Kings

Schools recruiting him: LSU, Georgia, Florida State, Alabama, TCU, among others

Players he models his game after: Anthony Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Paul George

Max Christie, 6'5" Wing, Class of 2021, Age: 16

Probably the best pure shooter on the team; High IQ shooter with an improving handle; Capable penetrator, but primarily looks to pull-up from 15' to 22,' Quality shooter off both the catch and dribble, but better off the catch; Willing and able to draw contact and is a plus FT shooter; Willing passer; Improving defender, but needs to add strength and improve his lateral quickness--often reliant on anticipation and playing angles; Improving rebounder, as he's gotten older and tougher--still an area for improvement; Very coachable; Good size for the position; Has an overall tendency to make winning plays; Unusually mature and cerebral; Others have a higher ceiling, but he has a high floor, due to the aforementioned skill, IQ, effort, and size; 4.0 student (weighted); Has become more vocal; No relation to Doug Christie.

Schools recruiting him: Illinois, Ohio State, Stanford, Florida, Villanova, Michigan, Michigan State, Duke

Player he models his game after: Kevin Durant

Will Jeffress, 6'6" Wing. Class of 2021, Age: 16

Skilled, cerebral wing; Good overall scorer, but room for improvement as he become more consistently aggressive and tightens his handle; Very good FT shooter; Quality shooter off of the catch and dribble; Good form overall on his shot; Willing passer; Shows signs of improvement as an offensive rebounder; Adequate, but improving defender; Good motor; Uses angles well; Needs to get stronger, tougher, and nastier on the court; Incredibly bright and nice on and off the court; Has become more vocal; Good size for the position and wants to be great; Strong student; Mother is a doctor and father played at University of New Haven; Young for his grade; Good upside

Schools recruiting him: Pitt, Penn St., Alabama, West Virginia, Yale, Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan St, Baylor, Iowa St, Cincinnati, Duke, among others

Players he models his game after: Kevin Durant, Paul George, Jayson Tatum

Tamin Lipsey, 6'1" PG, Class of 2022, Age: 15

Tenacious on ball defender, who annoys opponents; Effective at simply running a team; Plays with a quiet maturity; Needs work on his 3pt shot--form isn't terrible, but needs tinkering; Does a good job of getting into the paint for either dishes or floaters; More of a pass-first PG at this stage; Good overall court vision; Average size for the position, but needs to add some upper-body strength; Solid mid-range game; Better defensively on the ball than off at this stage; Does a good job of generating steals, as he constantly looks to ball-hawk; High basketball IQ overall; Good leader, but needs to be more consistently vocal; Mother teaches at Iowa State; track athlete who competes in the 200M and long jump

Schools recruiting him: Iowa State, Iowa

Players he models his game after: Monte Morris, Chris Paul, Steve Nash

Jalen Duren, 6’9” C/PF, Class of 2022, Age: 15


Exceptionally strong and athletic low-post big man; Primarily looks to score off of offensive rebounds, dribble dish-offs and lobs; Can face up to 14" feet, but much more effective in the low-post; Can finish through contact, due to an impressive physique for his age; Willing and fairly good passer for a big; Needs to establish position better when using his back-to-the-basket moves; Very good rebounder on both ends; Has a good second jump; Needs to be more vocal, in terms of calling for the ball on offense; Motor can ebb or wane, when bored or he doesn't consistently receive the ball; Very good weak-side shot-blocker; Strong overall; Needs to learn better technique on both ends; Will keep his hands down on defense; Great frame; Good teammate; Plays with a nasty streak, but is a good kid off of it; Likely to end up as the best big man in this class; Gym rat

Schools recruiting him: Maryland, Penn St.

Players he models his game after: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins

Kijani Wright, 6'8"PF, Class of 2022, Age: 15


Modern, versatile big; Provided the best inside-outside game of any big in attendance; Has some perimeter skill, in terms of being able to put the ball on the deck and face-up to beyond the 3pt line---but primarily plays 15' and in; Finishes very well through contact; Cerebral and coachable player; Rebounds well on both ends; Better as a help-side shot-blocker; Uses his hands effectively as a ball-hawk for a big; Good size for a modern big, with a frame to add more muscle; Not particularly vocal, but exceedingly mature for his age; Poised on the court; Used to use the martial arts and played a variety of sports, but now focused on basketball; Composed

Schools recruiting him: USC, UCLA, Vanderbilt

Players he models his game after: Paul George, LeBron James

Dillon Hunter, 6'3" CG, Class of 2022, Age: 16

Increasingly skilled CG; Was known for his good court vision, but has improved his perimeter shot and tends to look to score first now; Solid penetrator; Mid-range and 3pt shot have definitely improved, but still much further room for growth and his shot selection needs refinement; His highest value is if he becomes a full-time PG; Could end up more of a complete PG with size through this transformation; Capable in both the half-court and in transition; Average rebounder for a guard; Quality motor; Above-average defender, who does a good job of ball-hawking; While his shot selection might not indicate it, has a solid basketball IQ; Plus athlete with good lateral quickness; Needs to add upper-body strength; Vocal on the court, but not necessarily a leader; Good teammate and demeanor; Brother plays at Clemson;

Schools recruiting him: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Wake Forest

Players he models his game after: Russell Westbrook, C.J. McCollum

Chris Livingston, 6'7" SF, Class of 2022, Age:15

Tough, athletic wing; Perimeter shot has improved, but needs significant work; More of a physical slasher than a shooter; At his best 15' and in; Finishes well through contact; Very vocal and unafraid of mixing it up; Better shooting off of the catch than the dribble; Adequate passer; Rebounds well in traffic and embraces physicality; Better on the ball defender than off and is a physical defender with plus athleticism; Better as a weak-side shot-blocker; Average to below-average basketball IQ; Very explosive athlete; Mature physically for his age; Good frame; Vocal leader that plays with a competitive edge; Unsure of just how high his upside is, but will be determined by further perimeter skill development and additional height; Mentally tough; Won the FIBA Americas U-16 Tournament MVP

Schools recruiting him: Ohio St., Akron, UAB

Players he models his game after: LeBron James, Paul George

Richard Isaacs, Jr., 6'2" PG, Class of 2022, Age: 15

Steadying shooter who has transitioned into one of the best PGs in the class; Very good three-point shot; Improving penetrator, but often gives up the ball too soon; Has quality court vision, but needs to communicate more often and the passing can be taken to another level; Able to finish through contact, due to wiry strength, but still needs to add more upper-body strength; Solid handle, but often doesn't seem to trust it; Quicker than many opponents initially realize; Better off the ball defender than on, at this stage; Good size for the position and looks to be able to grow more; Thin frame; Can be quite vocal on the court; Gym rat; Nephew of Marcus Williams (UConn, G-League) and his father used to run H-Squad AAU program; Solid student

Schools recruiting him: Florida State, Oregon, St.Mary's, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, UNLV, TCU, Oklahoma St.

Players he models his game after: Chris Paul, Trae Young, Steve Nash

Gregg Glenn, 6'7" F, Class of 2022, Age: 16


Effective, versatile scorer; Above-average handle for a big, but not skilled enough yet on the perimeter; Effective in the low-post against size; Resourceful game overall, which creates matchup problems; Much better in games than drills; Solid court vision; Adequate mid-range shot, but must expand his range and his form needs tinkering; Rebounds well in traffic and not afraid to scrap inside; Uses his length and lateral quickness effectively on the defensive end; Above-average athlete; Competitive and vocal; Not pretty, but effective; Makes winning plays consistently; Good frame, but size and perimeter skill may limit his long-term upside, unless either area improves; Very confident

Schools recruiting him: Oklahoma State, Florida, Florida St., and Iowa State

Amari Bailey, 6'4" CG, Class of 2022, Age: 15

Lefty from Chicago showed more substance than flash (a positive change); 3pt shot has significantly improved; Solid overall penetrator; Used wiry strength to finish in traffic, but still needs to add upper body strength; Mechanical form on his shot that takes some time to release; Good overall court vision; Can function in the half-court, but is better in transition; Improved defensive rebounder; Used length and lateral quickness to help generate steals; Very good size if he can develop into a PG, but just adequate as a SG; Very good athleticism; Vocal; Needs to continue to tighten his handle and improve shooting off of movement, but he may have turned a corner, in terms of maturity; Mother is an Instagram model, who moved them to Los Angeles; Verbally committed to UCLA, but feels very fluid

Players he models his game after: DeAngelo Russell, Russell Westbrook, Lonzo Ball, Chris Paul

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