On Tuesday, Trendon Watford will lead Mountain Brook (Ala.) into the Elite 8 of his high school playoffs, but when the Final Four kicks off on March 31, he’ll be front and center at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Watford will join 23 other elite juniors picked for the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Select Team that will take part in the NCAA Next Generation Sunday on April 1.
“It’s such an honor to be associated with USA Basketball, period,” Watford said. “All of us want to play in the Final Four one day and to just be down there that weekend doing what we love to do is big. I’m excited.”
The inaugural event, which features 11 of the top 15 players in the ESPN 60, was created to provide unprecedented opportunities for potential future student-athletes and celebrate the future of college basketball.
“The Next Generation program is an exciting and a remarkable opportunity for everyone involved,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “It will provide great insight to our young athletes about eligibility, recruiting and health and safety, while also providing them with an opportunity to experience the excitement of the NCAA Final Four.”
The 24 players won’t just lace ‘em up on the court, they’ll also undergo educational training on everything from recruiting to nutrition.
The players will attend the Final Four games and scrimmage against the NBA Africa and Global Academies.
Of the 24 players named to the team, five won gold medals with USA Basketball at the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in July, including University School (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forward Vernon Carey Jr., Guyer (Denton, Texas) guard De’Vion Harmon, Cox Mill (Concord, N.C.) wing Wendell Moore Jr., New Haven (Mich.) wing Romeo Weems and Memphis East (Tenn.) forward James Wiseman.
“Through our Next Generation Sunday program, we will provide a meaningful experience for future college students and introduce them to one of the greatest sporting events in the world,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president for basketball. “Our goal is that these future college students will benefit now and in the future as students, athletes and overall as individuals.”
2018 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Select Roster
Vernon Carey Jr.
Wendell Moore Jr.
Mark Watts Jr.
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