It may have seemed like a foregone conclusion over the first few days of camp, but on Tuesday, USA Basketball made it official: Incoming Marquette freshman Markus Howard will be one of the 12 players to represent the United States at the FIBA U17 World Championship.
Howard, a 5’11" guard from Arizona, is one of six players on the U17 squad that captured a gold medal in last year’s FIBA Americas U16 championship. Howard and his 11 teammates have a tough legacy to live up to in the U17 World Championships. Since the creation of the tournament in 2010, Team USA has never lost a game, compiling a record of 23-0 and winning three gold medals.
Howard is presented with an interesting situation in front of him. Because he completed his high school coursework at Findlay Prep in just three years, he's the only player on the roster who will be attending college this fall. Everyone else is either in the class of 2017 or the class of 2018. This puts him in the unique circumstance of being able to try to work some magic in the recruiting department. Two of his teammates - Cart’Are Gordon and Immanuel Quickley - have both been offered scholarships by Marquette already, and both Gordon (#65 on 247 Sports) and Quickley (#14) are part of the Class of 2018. Both of them will end up getting to watch Howard’s entire freshman season at Marquette before even coming within eight months of signing a letter of intent, so you can see how the relationships that Howard builds now could end up benefiting Marquette in the long run.
If you think I’m dreaming a little bit on this one, think again. Howard is well aware of what he could be capable of assembling as a result of this Team USA experience.
Is that talking about Jalen Smith, a top 25 Class of 2018 prospect and one of the tryout camp guys who didn’t make the 12 man roster? Sure. The point is that Howard’s already at work doing what he can to let everyone know that they should come play with him in Milwaukee..... even if takes them til the fall of 2018 to actually get there.
Team USA begins play in the World Championship in Zaragosa, Spain on June 23rd. They open up against Taiwan before moving on to play Turkey the following day and then Egypt on June 26th. All teams advance into the round of 16 for elimination play, which culminates with the championship game on July 3rd.