USA has asserted dominance in the FIBA U17 World Cup dating back to its inception in 2010, having won gold in all five iterations of the event and sporting a perfect 37-0 record. This year, 34 athletes from the high school graduating classes of 2023, 2024 and 2025 were originally invited to the USA Basketball Men’s U17 National Team Training Camp at the Olympic & Paralympic Training Center for a chance to represent the country. Amongst a talented and deep pool of prospects, the final roster was trimmed down to 12 players.
Pro Insight spent the week in Colorado Springs and caught up with Asa Newell of Montverde Academy (FL) and 1 Family (FL), who made his first international appearance for USA Basketball in Malaga, Spain. The rising junior helped Choctawhatchee High School (FL) to a 22-2 record, averaging 14.7 points and 8.7 rebounds last season. Heading to Montverde Academy this fall, Newell brings value as a versatile forward. He is long and mobile, capable of stretching the floor and finishing at the rim. Standing at 6’9”, the lefty showed defensive upside, utilizing his length and athleticism to rotate weakside and contest shots at the rim. A high-major prospect, Newell most recently rose to No. 4 on the On3 class of 2024 rankings.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Newell talked about how the opportunity to play at Montverde Academy came about, being enamored with Eric Musselman’s energy, the importance of his faith, and much more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2024 prospect Asa Newell, from Destin, Florida:
Pro Insight: For those who may have missed our first interview together, how did you get to where you are today? Talk a bit about your background and family.
Asa Newell: Originally, I'm from Georgia. Then I moved to Destin, Florida and then now I'm in Minneola 'cause I transferred to Montverde Academy. My family…I have a great family. My dad, he hits me every single day with workouts and my mom, she homeschools me. My sister might be the best athlete in the family — can’t lie. My brother, he's a walk-on at Georgia.
PI: What sport(s) does your sister play?
AN: She does volleyball, dance, basketball and she might do flag football this year and be a QB.
PI: With athletic siblings, would you say your household is competitive?
AN: Yeah with my brother. Me and my brother, we can't go without fighting, like it's to the point we can't play one-on-one anymore without someone else 'cause we’re just pushing each other really hard every single day…but it’s gonna get you better.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, what are your greatest strengths?
AN: I like to stretch the defense out with my three-point shot. I feel like I can guard multiple positions pretty well. You don't need to worry if I switch on to a smaller guard 'cause I have good feet. I would say I can knock down three-pointers, pick-and-pop, get an open lane and I can dunk it.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
AN: I played soccer. I played soccer until 6th grade and then that's when I picked up basketball.
PI: Has anything you learned in soccer translated into basketball?
AN: I definitely feel like footwork because soccer is all about footwork, it’s all about running. If you have fast feet, then you can be pretty good.
PI: Who do you model your game after or study on film?
AN: I like Cade Cunningham just because he's so universal. He can run the offense. He can distribute the ball. I just like watching Cade.
PI: Congrats on the move to Montverde Academy, by the way. How did the opportunity come about?
AN: Nothing against my old high school. Of course I love them boys, but I just feel like you know, Montverde, I'm trying to get to the next level so I hit them up if they could come watch me practice with my AAU team and we just fell in love with each other and that's when I made the decision.
PI: Have you had a chance to talk with Coach Boyle about how he plans to utilize you next season?
AN: Ah, he sent me a text. He said that I would be a good transition guy, like scoring in transition, 'cause I can run the floor really well. Obviously my three-point shot and I think…yeah, that's it, and playing defense.
PI: Cooper Flagg is your USAB teammate and will be at Montverde next year. Have you guys had a chance to connect at camp?
AN: Yeah, so I met him. He's a fun guy, he's funny and I met Liam [McNeeley] too. Yeah, I think we're gonna have a good mesh going on and we're gonna be pretty scary.
PI: What is your goal for next season?
AN: For Montverde, you know we gotta go back-to-back-to-back. You know what I'm saying? So that's my goal. We gotta win a ring.
PI: What’s your recruitment update? Who have you been hearing from the most, lately?
AN: Duke hit me today. CY from Mizzou. Indiana, Georgia, and Arkansas. They’ve been showing me the most love.
PI: Who would you like to hear from?
AN: I wanna hear from of course all the blue bloods like Kansas, Kentucky. All of them, you know, like where basketball is the main sport, so definitely the top schools.
PI: Do you have a dream school growing up?
AN: No dream school. I won’t say I had a dream school 'cause I only started watching college basketball about two years ago 'cause being a soccer player, I always watch soccer. So yeah, but I like Arkansas so far 'cause you know, Coach Musselman, I love his energy.
PI: What will ultimately be your deciding factors when making your choice?
AN: I like loyalty and commitment. I need a team that can help me shine and my teammates to shine, for all of us to go to the next level, 'cause I feel like that's everyone's dream. But I’d say loyalty, commitment, and like “you need me” 'cause of course the roster is gonna be a big part. So yeah, basically just loyalty and commitment.
PI: There are a lot more post-grad options available these days with G League Ignite, OTE, and NBL, among others. Have you and your family done much research into those opportunities?
AN: OTE did hit me up, but with my family, academics is really important so I'm definitely going to go the college route.
PI: What are your biggest interests outside of basketball?
AN: Ah, hobbies…I like filmmaking or just hanging with my boys.
PI: Who are your favorite music artists?
AN: I’d have to say Lecrae, a Christian rapper. Caleb Gordon is tough, too.
PI: You have one hashtag to describe yourself. What is it?
AN: I don't know. #SwaggyFam.
PI: Who is your favorite soccer player?
AN: Cristiano Ronaldo.
PI: What’s something most people have no idea about you?
AN: I guess I'm a happy guy. I don't really know anything unique about myself. I don't really have anything. All I do is hoop, for real. I used to be able to do a handstand, but I don't think I can do it anymore.
PI: Where do you see yourself in five years?
AN: Five years from now, I'll be in the draft or I'll be in my rookie year or something. I see myself just doing the good work, grinding it out, and keeping my head down. And when it's my time, when my name is called, do everything for the glory of God and wherever that takes me, I'll just go from there.
PI: How important is your faith to you?
AN: Every single night, every single morning before Team USA, I was constantly praying. I grew up in church. Faith is very important to me. I just feel like God has helped me in so many ways. I just want to give God all the glory 'cause you know I'm trying to get to heaven.
PI: Name a handful of words that best describe you.
AN: Happy. Funny. I’m light-skinned. Relaxed. I’m chill.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
AN: As a person, I wanna as I said give God all the glory. As a player, I wanna be one of the best players 'cause I just feel like if I was one of those, that would just be my end goal and my dream.