Notable Snubs: USA Men’s Basketball U18 Team

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USA Basketball announced its 12-man roster for the  upcoming FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which takes place later this month.

There were several notable snubs from this year’s roster, none greater than the Harrison twins, Andrew and Aaron.

The Harrison brothers are the top two high school guards in the Class of 2013. Andrew, a 6-foot-5 point guard, is an athletic playmaker with great floor recognition, passing instincts and size for the position. Aaron, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard, is a big time scorer with a great outside stroke. Aaron Harrison is a top-two shooter in the class, second to only Duke-bound Matt Jones.

The Harrison twins have informed prospective colleges they will play together in college, meaning whichever school lands one Harrison wins a bonus Harrison as part of the prize. This wrinkle makes the duo the most valuable asset in the Class of 2013, a more valuable package even than any one of Jabari Parker or Julius Randle.

Perhaps Donovan received word from the Harrison camp that the same package deal stipulation for the twins extends to their availability for the U18 team. That might explain his decision to favor Pittsburgh-bound James Robinson over the superior Andrew Harrison.

The theory lends credence to the possibility that Andrew made the team, but brother Aaron did not. If the Harrison boys are indeed a tag-team package, the exclusion of Aaron would mean no Andrew either, thereby forcing Coach Donovan to settle for Robinson.

Any explanation deviating from the combo package theory outlined above would be a categorical oversight by Donovan and his staff. Andrew Harrison is the best point guard in high school basketball, irrespective of class. You don’t keep him off a team unless he doesn’t want to be a part of it.

If finding a spot for Aaron was a deal breaker in terms of landing Andrew, then Team USA should have reserved a second spot for the sharpshooting Harrison. Jerami Grant (Syracuse-bound forward) and Nate Britt (future Tar Heel point guard) were each expendable with both Harrisons on the roster. Replace Robinson and one of those two players with the Harrison twins and the U.S. team improves appreciably.

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