Tennessee forward Jarnell Stokes has been selected as one of 14 finalists to continue competing for a spot on the USA Basketball Men's U18 National Team as the roster was trimmed from 23 on Thursday evening.
The USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee will make its final cut to a 12-man roster prior to June 12, when the squad travels to Sao Sebastiáo do Paraiso, Brazil, for the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, which will be played June 16-20.
Until then, Stokes will continue training with the other 13 finalists at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
"This trials has been very difficult," said USA Basketball Men's Junior National Team Committee chair Jim Boeheim. "You had 23 guys who all are really good players, there wasn't a bad player here. To get down to 12 is going to be difficult but I think we're going to end up with a really good athletic team that is going to be very well coached. I think we've got an unbelievable coaching staff. I think we've got guys that have won, been winners, won state championships, and I think they'll represent USA Basketball extremely well in this tournament."
A native of Memphis, Tenn., who graduated high school early and enrolled at UT in January, Stokes made a huge impact for the Vols during the second half of the season. He averaged 9.6 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting .534 from the field en route to SEC All-Freshman Team honors. Stokes also led the Vols in blocked shots (1.4 bpg) and logged a pair of double-doubles.
Stokes is the lone collegian on the U18 National Team, which requires players to have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1994.
"I think it was very, very difficult for the committee to get this group narrowed down just because there were so many good players. I thought for the past three days their effort was great," said head coach Billy Donovan.