#FIBAU17: 10 reasons to follow the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship

(Image from FIBA)
*This first appeared on FIBA.com.

The fourth edition of the FIBA U17 World Championship is about to tip off. FIBA.com offers you 10 reasons to stay tuned into the tournament.

1 - See future NBA stars now on USA team 
The United States have been sending the elite of the elite to this event. And we've already seen a number of former USA U17 players make the jump to the NBA, including Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jahlil Okafor, Jabari Parker and Justise Winslow. Some players from the USA team at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship will certainly advance to the NBA - and you can watch them now. 

2 - Rest of the world has great players too
It’s not just USA players who have played at the U17 Worlds before reaching the NBA. Those who have watched the three previous tournaments have seen a good share of NBA players - including Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Mario Hezonja and Damien Inglis.

3 - Can anybody beat the United States? 
The FIBA U17 World Championship has been the USA's playground, having won all 23 games thus far in taking the title at the previous three editions in 2010, 2012 and 2014. Don Showalter's team will have a target on its back in Zaragoza.   

4 - A hugely intriguing non-knockout game
When the U17 Worlds draw came out, a repeat of the past two finals - USA vs Australia - was possible, if the teams won their respective groups A and C. The draw also sees a possibility of FIBA Americas powers USA and Canada, who are also with Australia in Group C. The team that finishes second in Group C could face the United States in the Quarter-Finals. Australia and Canada take on each other on the first day of action - just days after playing a warm-up in France, which Canada won.

5 - See a historic Egyptian talent 
History will be made in Egypt's first game of the U17 Worlds against Turkey as Egyptian center Ahmed Khalaf will become the first play to appear at the tournament for a second time. He played at the 2014 tournament in Dubai. There is one player at the 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship who has a chance to play at the 2018 FIBA U17 Worlds - N'Faly Dante of Mali (born October 19, 2001).

6 - Is Zhu the next great Chinese big man?
China have a healthy line of excellent big men and Zhu Rongzhen might be next in line. From Wang Zhizhi and Yao Ming to Yi Jianlian to Wang Zhelin and Qi Zhou, Zhu has an enticing skill set in the middle for China. But Zhu also shows his emotions - something more uncommon for Chinese players. 

7 - Korea come in as Asian champs
China have long dominated Asian basketball but it is actually Korea who come to the U17 Worlds. Korea knocked off China in the Semi-Finals of the 2015 FIBA Asia U16 Championship and then beat Chinese Taipei in the final. Korea are returning to the U17 Worlds after missing the 2014 event. 

8 - Nothing like a good debut
Newcomers to a party are always fun and this time around we have six teams making their debut at the U17 Worlds. The continent with the biggest turnover is Europe as FIBA U16 European Championship winners Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as Finland and Turkey are all making their maiden dance at the global spectacle. The other first-timers are Chinese Taipei, Dominican Republic and Mali.

9 - Records are made to be broken
You never know when a record will fall. These are great players who will wow us over the course of 12 days. And you’re bound to see one record fall - just like at 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship when Australian Isaac Humphries scored a new record 41 points against Canada - while also picking up 19 rebounds (one shy of the record of 20 by France’s Stephane Gombauld) and 5 blocks. 

10 - You get to watch the FIBA U17 Women’s World Championship as well!
Yes, not only can you watch the best young men’s players in the world but also the best young women’s player as Zaragoza is hosting the first-ever joint hosting of both tournaments in a true festival of youth basketball.

You can watch all the games in Zaragoza live and for free on FIBA's YouTube channel.




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