USA Basketball expands youth focus with iHoops
NEW YORK (AP) USA Basketball is expanding its reach into youth basketball by partnering with iHoops, the joint initiative formed by the NBA and NCAA to improve programs for young players.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Friday the move is ``an opportunity to make a big impact'' on the development of young players and will help his organization find elite players who could eventually play for U.S. national teams.
``We are very, very much interested in the development of youth basketball,'' Colangelo said. ``This can be really impactful.''
iHoops was formed in 2009 and Colangelo said he always believed it would be a part of USA Basketball because his organization has the leadership and business components in place to make it successful.
Colangelo said specific plans will be announced in early 2013. He envisions USA Basketball being able to make sure all coaches are sanctioned, improve the camps for elite players and just ``help clean up the system.''
``That's the way to run a program,'' Colangelo said. ``And so by reaching out and bringing people together, I think that's good and ultimately when you start with youth development, it will eventually funnel into the kind of athlete and quality of athlete, basketball player when they start to play'' for various national teams.
The NBA and NCAA will continue to promote iHoops at events such as the NBA Finals and the Final Four, and provide financial support for USA Basketball's new youth division.
iHoops will transition from its Indianapolis office to USA Basketball's headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colo., after the new year.
``I think all the people involved are looking forward to the future,'' Colangelo said. ``I think it's an opportunity to make a big impact.''