Nolan Smith and Danny Manning watch Team USA in FIBA 17 U World Cup
The University of Louisville men’s basketball team had two assistant coaches watching the USA team on Sunday at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup in Malaga, Spain.
U of L Assistant Coach Nolan Smith was there on Saturday when Team USA beat Lebanon 120-44, then on Sunday Danny Manning joined Smith. The two saw Team USA go 2-0 in the event with an 88-55 win over Slovenia.
Smith and Manning spent two days in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., at the NBA Players Association Top 100 camp with the head coach. Kenny Payne and fellow assistant Josh Jamieson. The two U of L assistants were monitoring three Louisville targets.
Louisville’s top target in the class of 2023 – Camden, NJ, high school guard DJ Wagner is part of the United States team. Wagner is the No. 2 prospect in Class 23 on the 247Sports Rankings and his grandfather, Milt Wagnerplayed at the U of L and has just been hired into Kenny Payne’s team as director of player personnel and alumni relations.
Wagner had 10 points, four steals, two rebounds and an assist in just under 15 minutes in the first win, then against Slovenia he was 3 of 10 from the field and had nine points, five rebounds, four interceptions and three assists in 20 minutes of action.
Wagner told Cardinal Authority last week in an interview that he was honored to play for Team USA.
“Oh man, it’s definitely a blessing and an honor,” Wagner told Cardinal Authority on Saturday afternoon. “It’s a blessing for me to be able to play on this team and be part of it with all these guys, playing for Team USA. . . . It’s definitely a huge accomplishment for me.
“Just being part of the team, coming to training camp and playing here and (in Spain) is so important to me.”
Wagner had previously attended U.S. National Junior Basketball Team minicamps, but this is the first time he has been on the teams for the competition. And according to USA Basketball, his father – Dajuan Wagner Sr. – who played in Memphis for John Calipari and then played in the NBA participated in the 1998 Youth Development Festival but never competed in a team competition. FIBA during his time.
“Honestly, it’s something that really helps prepare me for the next level,” Wagner said. “Competition and training, I hope, God willing if I go to the next level and where I want to get to, it will be something that will allow me to adapt more easily to that. It’s the best competition I could play against there.
“You just have to be around other players and see how they play and the international game.”
Another Louisville target on the team is Tampa, Florida, Catholic forward Karter Knoxwho is a member of the class of 2024. Knox had nine points, four rebounds, two assists, a steal and a blocked shot in nine minutes of Game 1 action and added 11 points and three rebounds in 13 minutes on Sunday .
Louisville is also recruiting 2025 standouts Cooper Flag, which has been solid in two games. In Game 1, Flagg had three points, 13 rebounds and three blocks, then against Slovenia he added 12 points and eight rebounds.
Team USA will face Mali on Tuesday.