Scotlandville High School point guard Ja’Vonte Smart has a penchant for slicing through defenses.
Those skills no doubt helped the junior make another important cut Tuesday.
Smart is part of the USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship team that was announced via Twitter. It will be Smart’s second summer with a USA Basketball national team. A year ago, Smart helped the U16 team go 5-0 while winning the gold medal at the 2015 FIBA U16 World Championship.
The 6-foot-4 Smart led Scotlandville to a runner-up finish in Class 5A last spring. He was voted the Class 5A Outstanding Player and became the first sophomore to win the Louisiana Sports Writers Association’s Farm Bureau/Mr. Basketball award. Smart averaged 22.4 points, 7.2 assists and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Hornets and is considered the nation’s top point guard in the class of 2018 and the No. 5 prospect overall.
The 2016 U17 World Championship is set for Zaragoza Spain from June 23-July 3. The U.S. will open FIBA U17 World Championship play on June 23 against Taiwan and will face Turkey on June 24.
“I’m elated and excited for him,” Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample said. “This is Ja’Vonte’s second time to represent Scotlandville and Louisiana on a world stage, which says a lot about not only his talent, but the work he puts in. And he remains so humble about all his accomplishments, which also says a lot about him as a person.”
Following a day off, the USA will cap preliminary play against Egypt on June 26. After playing each of the teams in their preliminary round group, all teams advance to the round of 16 on June 28. Winners from the round of 16 advance to the medal round quarterfinals on June 30. The semifinals will be played July 2, and the final will be July 3.