Chicago trio makes USA U-17 squad

June, 19, 2012
6/19/12
5:50
PM CT

Simeon’s Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn and Whitney Young’s Jahlil Okafor were among the 12 players who made the final cut to play on USA’s 17-and-under team on Tuesday.

Illinois had the most players represented on the final roster. California had two players, and seven other states had one player.

Parker is ranked the No. 1 player in the Class of 2013 by ESPN. Nunn is ranked No. 55 in the Class of 2012. Okafor is ranked No. 2 in the Class of 2014.

The team will defend USA’s FIBA U17 World Championship title in Lithuania from June 29-July 8. They will also play at the Spain U17 International Invitation in the Canary Islands from June 24-25.

“What we like about this team is our ability to play pressure defense," USA coach Don Showalter said in a statement. “That's really a strong point of this team. That's kind of why we kept some of the players who we felt could really add to that defensive pressure. That's one very positive aspect of this team. Rebounding is something else that's very much a plus for us, and then I really felt good about the progression we made offensively. Just after a couple of days we worked together and I think our offense has really come around, and I feel very comfortable about it. Part of that is due to the familiarity from last year and last October. Our timing is much better. We're reading plays a lot better. I'm real pleased with that as well.

“You spend so much time getting down to your working number, and now it's time to really work on developing a team aspect with these 12 players. You watch them, I know they're a lot more familiar with each other both off the court and on the court. That helps to develop the team attitude that we need to take over to Lithuania.”

The USA team went 8-0 in the FIBA U17 World Championship in 2010. The event is held every other year.

Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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