St. Vincent-St. Mary freshman VJ King has been selected to the 2013-14 USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team.
He is one of 23 of the nation’s top 16-and-under basketball players.
King participated in the October 2012 USA Basketball Developmental National Team mini-camp. The USA squad will be fluid and athletes may be added to the roster over the next two years.
Members of the team will train May 30-June 7 in Colorado Springs, Colo., and the final 12-player USA U16 National Team selection will be made prior to the team departing for Maldonado, Uruguay, for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Held June 11-15, the tournament serves as a qualifier for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, with the top four finishing nations from the FIBA Americas U16 Championship advancing to the 2014 U17 Worlds.
The 2013 USA U16 National Team and 2014 USA U17 World Championship Team, should the U.S. qualify for the U17 Worlds, will be composed of USA Developmental National Team members.
“This is a great opportunity to play with players from all around the country,” King said Wednesday. “I am used to playing with good players in my city. It will be fun to play with guys like me and get to travel.”
Qualified to compete in the 2013 U16 Championship are Uruguay, as the host country, and Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, the Bahamas, Argentina and Chile.
King and the other 22 players were selected by the USA Basketball Men’s Developmental National Team Committee.
“I think that just with the initial look at them, they seem to be a very talented group,” USA coach Don Showalter said. “As training camp gets closer, it’s really exciting because I’m going to go watch some of the kids play in their spring AAU tournaments. That’s always nice to see how they play with their teammates there. I’ll do some evaluation, not only of their skill levels, but their attitudes and what kind of teammates they are, how they will fit into our team.”
King is the only Ohio player on the 23-man roster. Lakewood St. Edward coach Eric Flannery is an assistant on Showalter’s staff.
Fiorello steps down at East
Ross Fiorello has resigned as East boys basketball coach after nine seasons.
Fiorello compiled a 116-87 record at East and said he is leaving on “great terms” with the administrators and players. He said he does not rule out coaching in the future, and cited living and teaching in Canton and having to commute to coach in Akron as a reason for his resignation.
“I am hoping to stay with it,” Fiorello said of possibly coaching in the future. “Things have changed. I can’t coach long distance and run a quality program. The kids have been great and we have had a lot of fun during the past nine years. It is hard to run a quality program and coach long distance, in my opinion.”
Fiorello guided East from 2004-2013. During his nine seasons at East, Fiorello led the Dragons to three district championships, two regular season City Series championships and three appearances in the City Series championship game, winning it in 2012. He was named City Series Coach of the Year in 2009 and 2012.
“There is so much to be proud of from those nine seasons,” Fiorello said. “I have been fortunate to have good players. If you don’t have good players who don’t play hard, it is not going to happen. We had good players who played hard and we had quality kids on the court and in the classroom.”
Fiorello, 59, is in his second year as a special education teacher at Choices Alternative School in the Canton City Schools district. He previously was a special education tutor at East for three years.
Fiorello is a graduate of East Liverpool High School and Malone College. Over the past five years, East has had the second-most wins (85) of any boys basketball team in Summit County, behind only St. Vincent-St. Mary (92).
Fiorello led East to Division II district titles in 2012 and 2009, and a Division I district title in 2010.
“We had some really good teams with some good players,” Fiorello said.
Fiorello, who is married to Janice Fiorello and has two children (Ross Jr. and Jay), was named the Summit County Coach of the Year by the Touchdown Club Foundation of Greater Akron after leading the Dragons to a school-best 23-2 record in 2011-2012.
Fiorello coached the Springfield boys basketball team from 1994-1999. He was an assistant boys basketball coach at Canton McKinley from 1982-1994.
“If something opens up where I am a fit, I will consider it,” Fiorello said. “I am not burned out. … I am not closing the book on coaching. I hope to be coaching next year in the same capacity.”
Michael Beaven can be reached at 330-996-3829 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at https://ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/MBeavenABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.