Pro Insight was on hand to evaluate the majority of USA Basketball's U17 trials, held at the USA Olympic & Paralympic Center, ahead of the FIBA U17 World Cup, which tipped off this week in Malaga, Spain. Starting with 34 participants, the training camp featured players from three separate high school classes (2023-2025). Thanks to picking up touch points in Colorado Springs in addition to scouting them in other various evaluation settings, PI has been able to conduct Q&As with most of the roster, so we compiled a few scouting notes on each (in addition to a few cuts who stood out to us).
In the latest edition of ‘P.I. Pulse’, Pro Insight’s Conrad Chow provides analysis on the 12 members of the 2022 USA Men’s U17 roster in addition to a handful of training camp participants, after spending the week covering the U17 training camp in in Colorado Springs:
2022 USA Men's U17 National Team
David Castillo | 2024 | Guard
Castillo returns to the USA Junior Men’s National Team after suiting up at the 2021 FIBA U16 Americas Championship. The 6’2” guard’s calling card is perimeter shooting, proving to be one of the premier snipers last summer in Xalapa, Mexico at 47% from deep. Bringing value as a primary ball handler as well as an off-the-ball floor spacer, Castillo has a smooth shooting stroke and is capable of providing a scoring punch when needed. Specifically, he was automatic from all areas of the floor during camp. Look for the rising junior to be integrated in high octane three guard lineups.
Dennis Evans | 2023 | Big
Receiving palpable buzz throughout the summer, Evans is a 7’1” big man with a 7’7” wingspan and a 9’7” standing reach. Last year, the center was a finalist for the U16 team. This year, Evans will be counted on to erase shots at the rim. He gives USA legitimate size in the middle to match up against other seven footers such as Spain’s Aday Mara, Australia’s Rocco Zikarsky, and Canada’s Olivier Rioux. One of the roster’s more intriguing long term prospects, Evans also has nice shooting touch for a big and can hit the 15-footer off the catch.
Jeremy Fears Jr. | 2023 | Guard
One of the loudest guys in the gym, Fears Jr. brought high energy and defensive intensity every day at camp. Despite being 6’1”, the Michigan State commit made multiple efforts when guarding the ball or picking up full-court, making it tough for his opponents to turn the corner. Offensively, you can trust the floor general to run your offense, get teammates set up, and put pressure on the rim. This is Fears Jr.’s second USAB stint after winning gold with the U16 team last summer and his communication on defense will be an asset.
Ron Holland | 2023 | Forward
After a successful summer last year that saw him lead the U16 Americas Championship in scoring (19.0) and efficiency (163.0) while ranking third in rebounds (10.2), Holland is back and ready to capture another gold medal. At 6’8”, he is a strong positional rebounder who can grab-and-go after a miss. During training camp, he handled the ball at times and showed promise as a playmaker, especially in transition and in early offense. I was particularly impressed with his leadership, encouraging the newcomers when he wasn’t on the floor during a drill and helping guys get acquainted with defensive rotations. Holland has improved his three-point shot and is a dynamic slasher and driver. Moreover, his physical tools and athleticism bode well as a switchable player on defense, especially in the FIBA game. If I had to name an early favorite for MVP of the WC, it would be Holland.
Cooper Flagg | 2025 | Forward
The pride of Maine, Flagg has backed his five-star status with his on-court productivity. Only 15 years old, the Montverde Academy forward is ahead of the curve from a physical and skill set standpoint. At 6’7”, Flagg has been tasked with high usage and responsibility, being leaned on to handle and score the ball with his Maine United EYBL team. With USAB, the rising sophomore is an effective player and complementary piece whether it is as a spot-up shooter, slasher, or tertiary initiatior. He’s very effective and skilled in both the open floor and half-court, bringing versatility to the roster.
Ian Jackson | 2024 | Guard
Jackson is an explosive two-way guard who gets to the basket and has refined his perimeter shooting. Also known as “Captain Jack,” the rising junior was of the four returnees from USA’s U16 Americas gold medal squad. Possessing grit and athleticism, Jackson should be able to leverage his physical tools as a defensive threat who can turn defense into easy offense.
DaJuan Wagner Jr. | 2023 | Guard
We did not have a chance to evaluate Wagner live due to a previous school obligation that conflicted with the early stages of the U17 training camp. Wagner is a dynamic scoring guard who plays with pace. The rising senior has the ball on a string, is capable of shifting gears and changing speed/direction and is adept at breaking down his defender in one-on-one situations. His individual talents and scoring prowess will open up opportunities for his USA teammates in Malaga.
Johnuel “Boogie” Fland | 2024 | Guard
One of the youngest players invited to Colorado Springs despite being in the class of 2024, Fland shoots a clean ball from beyond the arc and possesses a shifty handle. The New York native displayed upside on defense, hustling for loose balls and making it tough for opponents to get to their spaces. He offers USA another guard who can play both on-and-off the ball.
Karter Knox | 2024 | Guard
The brother of 2016 FIBA U17 gold medalist Kevin Knox, the younger Knox is an athletic three-level scorer with a physical frame who is continuing to polish his game. He has a bigger and stronger profile than his brother at this stage of his development. The 6’4” rising junior should thrive in USAB’s uptempo playstyle.
Sean Stewart | 2023 | Forward
Committed to his dream school, the future Duke prospect is an exceptional athlete with vertical pop. While he is only 6’8”, Stewart brings an interesting dimension as a small-ball five to this team thanks to his ability to rebound, shoot, defend multiple positions, and handle the rock. He plays bigger than his height and is able to occupy space and finish with authority inside the paint.
Koa Peat | 2025 | Forward
One of two 2025s on the roster, Peat has a strong base and a mature physical profile for his age. On a team that thrives with positional versatility, the 6’7” forward should see time at the three, four, and maybe even the five on some occasions. Possessing functional athleticism and strength, Peat’s ability to shoot, pass, handle, and rebound will pay huge dividends for USA.
Asa Newell | 2024 | Forward
A 6’9” lefty who can stretch the floor and protect the rim, Newell will add versatility to Team USA’s lineups. The new Montverde Academy product can also put the ball on the deck via straight line drives. An underrated aspect of Newell's game is his defense, specifically using his length and instincts to contest shots in drop coverage or as a weak side help defender.
Additional players of note
James Brown | 2024 | Big
A finalist for the team, Brown is more of a throwback big man who has worked on expanding his range and becoming increasingly comfortable outside the three-point line. He did little things with precision such as setting hard screens, making simple reads out of the post, and rebounding the ball. Brown will have a plethora of Power Five schools to choose from in his recruitment.
Naasir Cunningham | 2024 | Forward
OTE’s latest addition via the scholarship pathway, Cunningham oozes with upside thanks to his multi-level scoring threat and intriguing frame. He moves with fluidity, can get up for dunks with ease, and shoots the ball with confidence. It will be interesting to track the 6’7” forward’s long-term development with the upstart league this fall.
Tre Johnson | 2024 | Guard
Surprisingly, Johnson was part of the first list of cuts despite wowing those who were in the gym with his mature scoring instincts and advanced creation off-the-dribble. The smooth shooting guard has legitimate size and showcased sound footwork on his mid-range pull-up jumpers, never being sped up by defenders. Further, he is able to use his length and high shot release to get the shot he wants. When it is all said and done, Johnson could potentially emerge as the top prospect in the class of 2024.
Jamari Phillips | 2024 | Guard
During shooting drills at training camp, Phillips impressed as he was locked in and on a mission, making it look easy nailing standstill spot-up threes, relocation threes, and off-the-dribble jump shots. The 6’3” scoring guard has deep range and consistently shoots the ball with the same motion and mechanics. If you put the ball in his hands, there’s a great chance that he will deliver and get you buckets.
Bryson Tucker | 2024 | Forward
It was a shock not to see Tucker make it to at least the second roster cut during camp. The 2021 FIBA U16 Americas Champion averaged 9.5 points and 4.3 rebounds for USA last summer in 18.8 minutes per game. Bringing basketball IQ and size, he’s able to score well due to his skilled footwork for someone his age despite not being the quickest athlete. Clearly, he has a bag of offensive moves with counters that he has practiced thousands of times. Only 15 years old, Tucker should be a prospect that is tracked closely.