Watson Selected to USA Men's Basketball U19 Team
FORT WORTH, Texas – Incoming UCLA freshman Peyton Watson has been selected as one of 12 players to compete on the USA Basketball Men's U19 World Cup Team, as announced Thursday evening by USA Basketball.
The U.S. roster features six players who completed their first collegiate season (in 2020-21) and six players, including Watson, who are from the high school class of 2021.
Watson, a 6-foot-8 guard/forward from Long Beach, Calif., will be a freshman at UCLA in 2021-22. He secured McDonald's All-America acclaim earlier this year and competed in the Iverson Classic in Memphis. During an abbreviated senior season at Long Beach Poly, he averaged 30 points per game for the Jackrabbits.
Watson has been ranked as the No. 8 player, nationally, in his high school class by 247Sports.com. In addition, he has been ranked as California's No. 1 player, by 247Sports.com, in the most recent ranking index. As a junior at Long Beach Poly in 2019-20, Watson averaged 23.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game.
This summer's USA team is led by TCU men's basketball head coach Jamie Dixon. Stanford head coach Jerod Haase and Yale head coach James Jones round out the staff as assistant coaches.
Most recently, the USA Men's U19 World Cup training camp began June 20 with 26 athletes. The list was pared down to 17 finalists earlier this week, and the official 12-person team was selected after 10 training sessions at TCU (Fort Worth, Texas).
Watson has become the first UCLA men's basketball player to represent the USA on the U19 men's squad since Thomas Welsh in the summer of 2015 (prior to his sophomore season in Westwood). The 7-foot-0 center from Redondo Beach was a member of the 2015 U19 National Team that capture the gold medal with a perfect 7-0 record at the FIBA U19 World Championship in Heraklion, Greece.
This summer's FIBA U19 World Cup will featuring teams from 16 nations. In addition to the USA and host country Latvia, the field will include Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, Lithuania, Mali, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain and Turkey.
The USA was drawn into Group D, alongside Australia, Mali and Turkey for the July 3-6 FIBA U19 World Cup preliminary round. The USA will open against Turkey on July 3 (7:30 a.m., PT), followed by Mali on July 4 (10:30 a.m., PT). The U.S. squad will close preliminary play against Australia on July 6 (10:30 a.m. PT).
As the reigning FIBA U19 World Cup gold medalist, USA men's teams have won seven gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal while compiling a 99-14 overall record in U19 World Cup play since the event began in 1979.
Athletes eligible for this summer's U19 team must be 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 2002) and U.S. citizens.