6 Terrance FERGUSON (USA)
David Hein's Eye on the Future
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Hat’s off to Ferguson for answering USA call again

REGENSBURG (David Hein's Eye on the Future) - Terrance Ferguson could have said no. He could have declared he needed time to concentrate on the next step of his basketball career. But he deserves some big time credit for answering the call for the United States team at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.

Ferguson is the main headliner in Shaka Smart's 26-player preliminary roster for this summer's FIBA Americas U18 Championship in Valdivia, Chile from 19-23 July. 

It would be a major surprise if Ferguson doesn't make the team, which will hold training camps from 14-18 June and 11-15 July before departing for South America.

The Texas resident is the only of the 26 athletes who has played in an official FIBA 5x5 basketball competition. Jalek Felton and Paul 'P.J.' Washington played at the 2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship, where they finished eighth. And Jarrett Allen and Markelle Fultz teamed up with Ferguson for the USA Select Team at the 2016 Nike Hoop Summit, won by the Americans. 

But Ferguson will be the grizzled veteran of the 1998-born generation with three titles already - including two youth World Championship crowns. 

He was a year younger when he played at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and helped the USA go on an undefeated march to the title. He followed that up with an undefeated run at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship - still a year younger than the rest of the competition. 

Then Ferguson shrugged off being two years younger than his opponents at last summer’s 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship and guided the Americans to another title in undefeated fashion. 

For all three, Ferguson accepted his status as a role player - averaging 5.8 points in 2013, 9.0 points in 2014 and 6.1 points in 2015, and playing tough defense all three summers. 

Another thing in common all three summers was that Ferguson had fellow 1998-born star talents Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles as teammates. 

Tatum and Giles both will be attending Duke University starting this fall and both decided against a fourth tour with USA Basketball this summer. No one can blame either of them for their decision - Giles especially because he’s fighting his way back from another major knee injury. 

But it does speak greatly about the commitment of Ferguson, who is expected to see a major boost in leadership and production at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship compared to other showings for USA Basketball.

Ferguson showed at the 2016 Hoop Summit that he can really light it up from outside - hitting six three-pointers in the second quarter alone en route to a Hoop Summit record seven three-pointers and 21 points. 

Ferguson and the United States must reach the Semi-Finals at least in Chile to qualify for the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship - a competition they have never missed while winning the last two times and three of the last four.

Ferguson deserves some praise for actually going back to the FIBA Americas U18 level after having already won the U19 world title. But this will actually be the first time that Ferguson will be playing in his own generation. 

If USA win the U18 continental hardware and then pick up another U19 World Championship trophy next summer, he would finish his youth international career with five titles - something that Breanna Stewart completed on the women’s side for USA Basketball at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women. 

Ferguson dropping from U19 Worlds to U18 FIBA Americas is similar to what Justice Winslow did in 2014 after he had won the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship title. Winslow however did not make the USA U16 team in 2011 and also did not go to last summer's U19 Worlds because it clashed with the timing of the 2015 NBA Draft - where he was number 10 overall by the Miami Heat. 

There were plenty of reasons why Ferguson could have said no to USA Basketball this summer. But the fact that he is playing for the Red, White and Blue for a fourth time should really be emphasised and appreciated. My hat's off to him for sure. 

David Hein


FIBA's columnists write on a wide range of topics relating to basketball that are of interest to them. The opinions they express are their own and in no way reflect those of FIBA.

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David Hein

David Hein

Walk into the media tribune of any major basketball event and there's a good chance you will come across David Hein. Having covered dozens of FIBA events, including numerous women's and youth events, there are few players Dave doesn't know about, and few players who don't know him. His sporting curiosity means he is always looking to unearth something new and a little bit special. David Hein's Eye on the Future is a weekly column digging out the freshest basketball talent worldwide and assessing what the basketball landscape will look like a couple of years down the line.