Texas Longhorns basketball coach Smaka Smart will lead USA Basketball's U18 national team at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, coaching up some of the top players in the country in the process. Not only is it a huge honor for Smart, it's also something that could have a significant impact on future recruiting efforts.
The USA team tends to dominate the competition, seeking its fourth-straight gold medal. However, Smart won't be the only college coach heading the ranks -- he'll be assisted by UConn coach Kevin Ollie and Maryland coach Mark Turgeon.
The tournament will take place July 19-23 in Valdivia, Chile, and aside from the gold medal, the top four teams earn qualification to the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.
Here's more on the appointment from usab.com:
"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.
"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."
Training camp for the team's 12-member roster will take place June 14-18 in Colorado Springs, and also July 11-15 in Houston. To be eligible, players must be born on or after Jan. 1, 1998. The U.S. will face off against squads from Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Alumni from the squad include Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Grant Hill, Kyrie Irving, Stephon Marbury and Kemba Walker.