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Jr. NBA World Championship: Five things you need to know
Brian Martin, for NBA.com
On Tuesday, the inaugural Jr. NBA World Championship tips off in Orlando as 32 of the top boys and girls teams from around the world come together for a first-of-its-kind international youth basketball competition.
Here is a look at what will go down over the next six days both on and off the court.
1. How We Got Here
The inaugural event brings together the top 32 boys and girls teams (16 U.S. and 16 international) that advanced from regional competitions earlier this year. The Jr. NBA World Championship will feature boys and girls divisions, separated into U.S. and international brackets that begin with round robin play and continue with single eliminations competition. The winners of the U.S. and international brackets will play in the World Championship games on Sunday, Aug. 12.
“The Jr. NBA World Championship is more than a basketball competition; it’s a global stage for some of the top youth players from around the world to showcase their talent, have fun and learn from one another,” said Jr. NBA World Championship Global Ambassador Dwyane Wade. “I am excited to watch these young stars leave it all on the court and compete for the first Jr. NBA World Championship title.”
2. How The Tournament Works
Competition begins with pool play to determine the seeding for bracket play. Each team will play three pool play games. Based on game scheduling, teams will either play two games on Tuesday and one game on Wednesday, or vice versa.
Rules of the Game
The Jr. NBA World Championship will follow rules adapted from USA Basketball’s (USAB) youth tournament rule set. These rules follow the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) rules with specific modifications for the 12-14 age segment.
For a closer look at the rules, including details timeouts; bonus, penalty and technical fouls; as well as clock, shot clock and throw-ins, please click here.
3. How To Watch The Action
Games will be available to stream online throughout the day on B/R Live (Bleacher Report Live) before FOX Sports begins to broadcast later in the afternoon or evening. See below for a complete schedule.
Tuesday, August 7th
Pool play begins to open the competition. Games will begin on B/R Live starting at 12:30 p.m. ET, with FS1 airing games at 6:30 p.m. ET, 7:45 p.m. ET and 9:00 p.m. ET.
Wednesday, August 8th
Pool play competition continues. Games will begin on B/R Live starting at 11:45 a.m. ET, with FS1 airing games at 7:00 p.m. ET, 8:05 p.m. ET and 9:00 p.m. ET.
Friday, August 10th
Bracket Play begins as all teams will play one game as part of single elimination bracket play. Winning teams will advance to the U.S. and International Semifinals. Games will begin on B/R Live at 11:30 a.m. ET, with FS1 airing games at 2:00 p.m. ET and 7:00 p.m. ET.
Saturday, August 11th
Tournament play continues as all teams will play at least one game. Teams that won in bracket play Friday will continue in bracket play to the semifinals. Winning teams will advance to their respective U.S. or International championship games. Teams that did not advance in bracket play will play a positive finish game. Games will begin on B/R Live at 8:45 a.m. ET, with FS1 airing games at 1:00 p.m. ET, 2:15 p.m. ET, 3:30 p.m. ET, 4:45 p.m. ET, 7:30 p.m. ET and 8:45 p.m. ET.
Sunday, August 12th
The Awards Ceremony will preview the upcoming Championship games as each participating team will be introduced plus each head coach will be interviewed. The event will be highlighted by the presentation of the Core Values Award (Teamwork, Respect, Community, Determination). During the ceremony, members of the NBA family will address the group.
The Awards Ceremony is followed by the Championship games as one boys and one girls game will be played to determine a boys and girls Jr. NBA World Champion. Additionally, teams that have not played a positive finish game will play one game. B/R Live will air one game at 9:00 a.m. ET, with the Girls World Championship starting 3:30 p.m. ET and the Boys World Championship starting at 4:45 p.m. ET on FOX.
4. What Is Happening Off The Court
In addition to the competition on the court, the Jr. NBA World Championship involves important off-the-court activities for the players in Orlando. From Aug. 6-8, each player will participate in three life skills sessions as part of the event’s Developing the Total Athlete Series led by NBA and Kaiser Permanente health experts and supported by NBA and WNBA talent, covering the total health spectrum of mind, body and spirit in a culturally inclusive environment.
In partnership with KaBOOM!, the Jr. NBA World Championship Day of Service on Thursday, Aug. 9 will feature all 32 teams giving back to the local community by collectively building a new playground for community youth at the nearby Oak Street Park. Volunteer projects will include a variety of landscaping activities, bench building projects, painting projects and hosting a Jr. NBA basketball clinic for community youth. Additionally, Gatorade will host a health and wellness session through the Gatorade Sports Science Institute which will educate participants on hydration measures and provide custom fueling recommendations for each athlete.
Following Day of Service, the players will be back on the court for Jr. NBA World Championship Skills Night. All participants will gather at the HP Pavilion for an evening of “skills and drills” that will showcase their overall basketball fundamentals. The eight international and eight U.S. regions will compete head-to-head in a competition featuring 3-point shooting and basketball skills challenges.
5. NBA Connections To Watch, Including Vince Carter As A Game Analyst
Current and former NBA and WNBA players have been involved with the Jr. NBA World Championship since the first-of-its-kind event was first announced last year. From Dwyane Wade and Candace Parker serving as global ambassadors, to players hosting clinics at regional tournaments, to welcoming the 32 teams that qualified for the World Championships, to being part of the broadcast, current and former NBA and WNBA players have helped make an impact on the kids every step of the way.
Bucks center and Orlando resident Brook Lopez visited India for the Jr. NBA World Championship India regional in May, and invited the boys and girls teams representing India to his home in Orlando for lunch prior to the start of the Jr. NBA World Championship.
Pistons center Andre Drummond and WNBA legend Jennifer Azzi welcomed the teams to Orlando at the tip-off ceremony on Sunday and participated in the celebratory parade at Magic Kingdom Park.
Other All-Stars and legends that will be on hand in Orlando this week included: Grant Hill, Jonathan Isaac, Tamika Catchings, Swin Cash and Vince Carter. Carter – the veteran wing that will begin his 21st NBA season as he signed with the Atlanta Hawks this offseason – will serve as an analyst on the FOX Sports team calling the action this week.
“Broadcasting is something I’m interested in and passionate about and I’m super excited about it,” said Carter. “You get to see the next generation of kids [at this event].”
With Carter in the twilight years of his playing career, he is eager to work the Jr. NBA World Championship as it is a natural step toward what he calls “Phase Two” of his career.
“I enjoy coaching the game, but I don’t want to be a coach and I think this is another way you can coach the game but to a different crowd,” said Carter of his decision to pursue a broadcasting career.
“Because everybody watches the game and sometimes they wonder: Why did they do that? Why did they do this? Or they have their opinions. So I can now express it from the inside, if you would as an NBA player on what they think about, what they talk about, or what teams are trying to accomplish while you’re watching the game as opposed to actually sitting on the sidelines. So I can do that every night for a couple hours a game and I think that was another way to be a coach without having the head coaching position.”
Fans will be able to hear Carter’s expert opinion throughout the tournament, as he will be a part of the FOX broadcasting team for 12 games over the five days of competition, including both World Championship games on Saturday, Aug. 12.