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Sun Prairie junior-to-be Jalen Johnson was selected as one of 18 finalists for the 2018 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Cup team.

Thirty players began tryouts last Friday at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, according to a USA Basketball release. 

Finalists will continue in a training camp and a 12-member roster will be named prior to the team’s departure Saturday for the competition. The 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup is scheduled June 26-July 8 in Argentina.

The 6-foot-8, 215-pound Johnson helped lead the Sun Prairie boys basketball team to the Big Eight Conference crown and its first appearance at the WIAA Division 1 state tournament.

He averaged almost 19 points and 10 rebounds per game. 

Johnson was a first-team selection on the Big Eight all-conference team, a unanimous choice on the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association Division 1 all-state team, a second-team Associated Press all-state pick and a first-team selection on the Wisconsin State Journal/WisconsinPrepZone.com Large Schools All-Area boys basketball team for the 2017-18 season.

According to the release from USA Basketball, the finalists include: Scottie Barnes (University School/West Palm Beach, Fla.); Vernon Carey Jr.(University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.); Joshua Christopher (Mayfair H.S./Lakewood, Calif.); Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial H.S./Fresno, Calif.); R.J. Hampton (Frisco Liberty /Little Elm, Texas); De'Vion Harmon (Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas); Zion Harmon (Marshall County H.S./Bowling Green, Ky.); Jalen Johnson (Sun Prairie H.S./Sun Prairie, Wis.); Johnny Juzang (Harvard Westlake H.S./North Hollywood, Calif.); Adam Miller (Morgan Park H.S./Chicago, Ill.); Evan Mobley (Rancho Cucamonga H.S./Temecula, Calif.); Wendell Moore Jr. (Cox Mill H.S./Charlotte, N.C.); Casey Morsell (St. John’s College H.S./Washington, D.C.); Isaac Okoro (McEachern H.S./Powder Springs, Ga.); Jeremy Roach(Paul VI Catholic H.S./Leesburg, Va.); Isaiah Stewart (La Lumiere School, Ind./Rochester, N.Y.); Jalen Suggs (Minnehaha Academy/Minneapolis, Minn.); and Romeo Weems (New Haven H.S./New Haven, Mich.).

“This was probably the best U17 camp I’ve been involved with,” said USA U17 head coach Don Showalter (USA Basketball youth division coach director), head coach of every USA U17 World Cup Team since the event started in 2010. “I think overall the depth one through 30 was outstanding. I thought the energy level was really high for all five practices.The finalists are all very versatile, which is what we need from an international standpoint.”

Seven players are set to graduate high school in 2019, 10 are members of the high school class of 2020 and Zion Harmon will graduate high school in 2021.

Two athletes have orally committed to colleges or universities — De’Vion Harmon to the University of Oklahoma and Morsell to the University of Virginia.

Ten of the gold medalists from the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team are finalists, including MVP Carey, Barnes, Green, Hampton, De’Vion Harmon, Zion Harmon, Moore, Roach, Suggs and Weems. Okoro attended training camp for the 2017 USA U16 National Team.

Three athletes have experience from at least one USA Basketball Junior National Team October minicamp — Joshua Christopher, Jalen Johnson, Isaiah Stewart. Four were taking part in the inaugural USA Basketball event, including: Juzang, Miller, Mobley and Morsell.

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Jon Masson covers high school sports for the Wisconsin State Journal. He has covered a variety of sports — including the Green Bay Packers and Wisconsin men's and women's basketball and volleyball — since he first came to the State Journal in 1999.