Freshman Vincent King Jr. is already on the radar of USA Basketball before he has played a high school game at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.
King, who goes by the nickname VJ, is one of 46 players that have been invited and have accepted invitations to attend the 2012 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team mini-camp on Oct. 6-7 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
USA Basketball selected players from the classes of 2015 and 2016. King is in the class of 2016.
“It is definitely an honor and something he and his family recognize as an honor,” St. V-M coach Dru Joyce II said. “There are only a few kids that get an individual honor like this. It just speaks to the hard work he has put in on the basketball court. He is much more than a basketball player though. He is an honors student and a young man of high character.”
King, 15, is 6-foot-7 and 175 pounds. He is originally from Cleveland and moved to Charlotte with his parents, Vincent Sr. and Lo, and younger sister, Jalen. The family recently moved back to the Akron area.
Vincent Sr. is an avid golfer and is the Executive Director of The First Tee of Akron. He also held that title from Nov. 2002 to Oct. 2005, and then held the same title at The First Tee of Charlotte until recently deciding to move back to Ohio.
Vincent Sr. played basketball at Beachwood High School, Indiana University of Pennsylvania and then professionally in Europe.
As an eighth-grader, Vincent Jr. played on the varsity basketball team at United Faith Christian Academy in Charlotte, NC for coach Muggsy Bogues, a former NBA player.
“VJ is a scorer,” Joyce said. “He is more of a perimeter guy, but he can get to the rim. He is definitely not a one-dimensional guy. Defensively, he needs to get better and he will get better as he grows into his body.”
The USA Basketball newcomers will be directed by Iowa City High School coach Don Showalter, who has won four consecutive gold medals as head coach of the USA Developmental National Team from 2009-2012.
The mini-camp, which will be utilized to help USA Basketball train and evaluate members of the classes of 2015 and 2016 in preparation for upcoming Developmental National Team events, will include four training sessions: two on Oct. 6 and two on Oct. 7.
“The main purpose of the mini-camp is to get a look at the top players in this age group and familiarize them with USA Basketball and the opportunity to play for the U16 Tournament of the Americas to qualify for the U17 World Championship,” Showalter said in a prepared statement. “These players will get a chance to play against the top players in the country in their age group. We hope to accomplish a weekend of great competition along with some skill development.”
All 46 players are new to USA Basketball. There are 34 athletes (born on or after Jan. 1, 1997) eligible for the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship (should the USA qualify). The remaining 12 will train for future events such as the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the Nike Hoop Summit.
Former St. V-M standout and current NBA star LeBron James made his USA Basketball debut at age 16.
“USA Basketball is much more developed now than when LeBron was in high school,” Joyce said. “I would say USA Basketball, really over the last six years, has tried to identify players at a younger age.”