Cleveland (Miss.) Eastside big man Johnny O'Bryant will take the court tonight in Mendoza, Argentina as a member of the inaugural USA U16 National team. O'Bryant has been in Colorado Springs, Colo. since June 6 preparing to represent his country. After participating in three days of trials which whittled the roster down from 18 to 12, O'Bryant has spent the last week practicing with the team in preparation for the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Men.
The eight-team tournament will feature U16 national teams from the FIBA Americas Zone, which includes North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. Preliminary round-robin play will take place June 17-19, with the top two teams from each preliminary group advancing to the June 20 semifinals. The gold and bronze medal games will be contested June 21.
The USA has been placed in Group A along with Brazil, Puerto Rico and Venezuela; while Group B consists of host Argentina, Bahamas, Canada and Mexico. Opening against Brazil on June 17 (5:00 p.m. EDT), the U.S. will face Venezuela on June 18 (1:00 p.m. EDT) and will close out preliminary round play against Puerto Rico on June 19 (5:00 p.m. EDT).
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A 6-foot-10 bundle of energy, O'Bryant is one of the top ranked players in the class of 2011, ranking no. 9 in the Rival class of 2011 rankings. A hard worker on the glass, O'Bryant has worked to be more than just a rebounder and defender recently displaying impressive moves off the dribble and a nice turnaround jumper inside.
After returning from participating for his country O'Bryant will be rejoining his Jackson Tigers AAU team for trips to North Augusta, South Carolina for the NIKE Peach Jam and Orlando, Florida for the AAU National Championships.