Boys Basketball: Domingo makes final cut for USA U17 World Championship team

It’s been quite a month for St. Ignatius’ Stephen Domingo. After committing to Georgetown in May, he found out Tuesday that he made the final cut to play for USA Basketball’s under-17 team in the World Championships. (Photo by Eric Luis)

By Jeremy Balan

A single decision on Tuesday significantly changed Stephen Domingo’s travel plans for the summer.

With two players still to be cut to finalize the USA Basketball Men’s Under-17 team headed to the World Championships, he could have been sent home from the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., but instead he’s heading to the international terminal.

The 6-foot-7, Georgetown-bound wing player, who just finished his junior year at St. Ignatius, made the final cut and will play in the FIBA World Championships, which begin on June 29 in Lithuania, after a brief stop in the Canary Islands, where the team will play a handful of exhibition games.

“It’s the highest honor, because you’re representing your country, first and foremost,” Domingo said. “Secondly, the coaches feel you’re one of the 12 best players of your age group. That means you’re one of the best in the world.”

With fellow standout Aaron Gordon from Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose ruled out due to a foot injury, Domingo is now the lone Northern California representative on the team.

Stephen Domingo goes up for a jump shot in an inter-squad scrimmage with the USA Basketball Under-17 men’s team. (Photo by Steven Maikoski/USA Basketball)

“It’s great to represent where I’m from,” Domingo said. “I’m going to try to keep doing that. I don’t know really how to explain it, but its definitely a good feeling.”

He is joined by a group of the country’s best, highlighted by Sports Illustrated cover boy Jabari Parker, a 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward that is ranked as the nation’s top incoming senior recruit by ESPN.

“We’ve had to battle through some injuries, and when Aaron Gordon fractured his foot, that was a big hole for us, but we’ve selected guys for their defense and being hard-nosed around the basket.” said USA head coach Don Showalter. “Our defense is going to have to be good against international competition.”

Domingo averaged just over 13 points per game for St. Ignatius in his junior season and led the Wildcats in rebounds and blocks, but the biggest critique of his has game continues to be his performance in the paint.

Showalter said that he has improved in those aspects of his game, but he also won’t be asked to do too much post work for the national team, with Parker and three other frontcourt players standing 6-foot-9 or taller on the team.

“The knock on him last year was that he lacked aggressiveness,” Showalter said. “He showed this year that he’s a much more aggressive player around the basket. He’s starting to understand he can use that length on defense and to rebound.”

Just missing the cut for last year’s U16 team that won the World Championship also provided a little extra motivation.

“Many of these players that didn’t make the team have worked hard from last year,” Showalter said. “The were very hungry and that describes Stephen pretty well.”

The coach also stressed the importance of Domingo’s role as a shooter, especially against international competition that is known to employ tough zone defenses.

“We’re going to meet a lot of zone defenses and he’s going toe a zone-buster for us,” Showalter said. “He’s been shooting the ball well and that’s going to stretch defenses.”

Domingo may have his detractors within the City limits, but no one can doubt his talent, and he’s not shying away from his goals for the World Championships, which mirror the goals of USA basketball overall.

“Everything is a gold-medal standard here,” Domingo said. “There is no second place.”

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39 Comments

  1. BigMikeDC says:

    Fantastic! Can’t wait to see him playing for SI next year too! With Dunbar, should be a force in the WCAL!

  2. @SA says:

    Great news and the result of a ton of hard work! He’s on his way.

  3. Ari Gold says:

    Aaron Gordon could not be on this roster due to foot injury. I guess Domingo was deserving of this honor however Jabari Bird would have been a far better choice to be on that USA roster.

  4. WCAL Alum says:

    Whatever anybody’s school allegiences, it is a great honor to be considered and ultimately selected to be part of a national team. Best of luck in being part of a team representing OUR country.

  5. Ari Gold says:

    Jeremy, take off the editor’s cap and the SanFranPreps-colored glasses for 30 seconds. There is an alien space ship pointing the death ray at earth and they ask you, out of these two basketball players, Domingo and Bird, who do you think should make the USA roster?

    • jbalan says:

      They’re in different categories, at least in the international classifications. They didn’t compete to make the same team. Domingo made the U17 team and Bird got cut from the U18 team.

      I’ve never seen Jabari Bird play, but he is ranked 11th nationally in the class of 2013 by ESPN, while Domingo is ranked 45th.

  6. Ari Gold says:

    Treat yourself next year to a Salesian game. You will leave just shaking your head at the game that Bird has.

    I saw probably 8 Mitty games last year. And half of those Gordon played with mono and I just came away saying wow after every game.

    Can you say that when you watch Stephen play? Im trying to be nice here. When I saw Stephen play I just said, ok he’s tall and skinny and too bad for his teammates.

    • HS says:

      Ari, you seem to understand better than most that Stephen was trying to succeed in a totally antiquated system that really isn’t taught any more. Put Stephen with a group of athletes playing the modern game and he thrives at the 3. Same goes for Trevor. I know SI doesn’t believe in the modern game because it wasn’t invented there, but their athletes don’t know how to play when Reardon slows down the tempo to his controlling style of robot basketball.

      • Ari Gold says:

        Thats not true at all. When Lippi was the coach, he ran an uptempo motion offense. You rarely saw his teams shoot the ball with less than 8 seconds on the clock. Given he had way better basketball players than what SI has now may have been the reason why.

        Since most coaches on the Frosh and JV level are to run the same system so to better prepare their players for varsity, Reardon who I believe was the coach for Frosh or JV or maybe both ran that same uptempo system. So now hes the head coach for varsity and he likes to play the slow down game? He probably does this because he knows the league is a very defensive oriented league. Final scores in the 40s & 50s are common because of tough zone defenses. Lets hope he lets the kids run next year as Im hoping for one of the SF teams to really challenge the Aaron Gordon machine.

  7. Ari Gold says:

    Please check out Stephen Domingo’s adidas Nations 2011 highlight reel. Kid has some impressive skills. Pay particular attention to frames 0:12-0:14 and tell me what you see.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikdphciO_xM

    • @SA says:

      TrAAAAVeling…

    • George Nguyen says:

      Okay 2011, now let’s see his 2012 AAU video with Dream Vision from April…. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eckrCifULYM

      You probably haven’t seen the kid lately… Or even know much about what happened during tryouts… Bird is a great player who got cut from the team he tried out for.

      • JJ says:

        I’m assuming Bird got cut because the U18 team had too many players who could dunk. Domingo, on the other hand, has something that is hard to find, which is outside shooting and length. Domingo is also willing to learn and get better. I think he’s great fit for Team USA, SI basketball, and Georgetown. I hope he will be wearing a GS Warriors uniform by the time the new stadium on the Embarcadero opens up, so I can rock his jersey.

  8. @SA says:

    Put Stephen in the right system and he thrives. See the attached link in their 17U USA team.
    http://t.co/m4Z2KlJi

    • Ari Gold says:

      Impressive! Lets see what happens when Parker returns to the lineup. Parker is the #1 rated prospect on most national prep boards so we”ll see id Domingo can still log the minutes he got for the first game. On another note, big physical change with regard to the photograph. He looks grown now. Lets see he translates that next year for SI.

      • JJ says:

        Yea, Jabari Parker is supposed to be the next “Lebron” (according to Sports Illustrated). Not really sure if Parker plays the same position as Domingo, though. Parker looks like a penetrator on Youtube, while Domingo is an outside shooting specialist. And, Domingo does look like he is getting taller based on the Team USA pictures. Can’t wait for the WCAL basketball season…

  9. @SA says:

    Stephen continues to roll. Right system, right coaches. Too bad Reardon and SI completely missed the boat on coaching talent. Let the excuses continue!

    http://www.maxpreps.com/m/article.aspx?articleid=c2986499-992c-41dc-a54d-9734b38faeff

    • George Nguyen says:

      I really hope the coaches at SI take some of what team USA does with Domingo…More games WILL be won if they use him and Dunbar right!

  10. Uncle Frank says:

    Domingo scored 3 points over 20 minutes in Game 2 (as opposed to 17 in 22 minutes in game 1). With the deep roster they have and these just being group stage games, no one is getting more than about 20 minutes.

    When you look at the box scores, it definitely does look like his role is as a spot-up outside shooter: he took eight 3 pointers in those 22 minutes in Game 1.

    Parker is playing now along with a Simeon teammate. Although Parker is unquestionably the highest rated player, the breakout star is another Chicago kid named Jahlil Okafor, a 6’10” center that will only be a junior next year. He is a distant cousin to Ameka Okafor.

  11. Roundball says:

    @JJ

    Have you ever seen Jabari Bird play?! He probably has the best mid-range jump shot in the country. In the last two state championships at Power Balance Arena he has shown NBA 3-point range as well. To imply that he got cut from the U-18 team because he can only slam dunk is ridiculous.

    Domingo is a talent that will thrive in a different system than SI runs. No disrespect to the player or the system. He is very good and deserved to make the U-17 team. He seems to be the only player representing the Bay Area at that level this year.

    • wcalsf says:

      Gordon was an automatic , until his injury.

    • JJ says:

      I believe Jabari’s high school plays in D4. I’m not really sure if the competition is very stiff at that level. Most likely, Salesian will play in the Open Division this coming year. We will see if he really has “the best mid-range jumper in the country” playing against tougher opponents in the playoffs. It will be interesting what college him and Aaron Gordon chooses, regardless.

      • Ari Gold says:

        Aaron is going to choose either Washington or Arizona. All his AAU buddies are at Arizona. He’s super close to the Washington coaching staff. Sadly, the locals Cal didnt give up their left arm like they did Jason Kidd or Stanford however they got the Lopez twins, didnt make a better run for him.

        On another note, Aaron’s old brother, Drew, one of the culprits in making UCLA a laughing stock post Kevin Love years, went undrafted but is in Dallas Mavericks camp as non-roster invitee. Looks like he’ll have to wait 2 more years so he can mooch off his brother.

        • JJ says:

          I’m not too sure Aaron Gordon will go to UW or Arizona, wouldn’t Kentucky or Kansas get him to the NBA faster?? And implying that his brother will mooch off him is pretty dumb because I think Drew Gordon will make an NBA club in the near future. If not, he can make good money playing basketball in China.

  12. Uncle Frank says:

    Game 3. US beats Egypt 111-73. Parker was high scorer.

    SD had nine points in 17 minutes all on 3 pointers (3 out of 5). Domingo so far has shot 16 three pointers (making 9) and only four two pointers (making 1).

    • M Air J says:

      SD31 is shooting 57% from the 3-point line…an incredible percentage.

      SD31 has a great skill…3 point shooting…that is why he is playing on this team and why the Hoyas picked him up. Where he struggles is in the 1 on 1 game and getting to the basket. He is not a playmaker or a great all around player, he has one great skill, shooting, and that’s it. he can’t break anyone down off the dribble, nor is he a great passer either. He’s a decent shot blocker. In the right system, he is very effective and that is what we are seeing.

      People are saying SI should use him right and play him the right way and so forth. Since he can’t create for himself and SI does not have the players around him Team USA does (not even close), it is not a fair comparison. Domingo is a complimentary player, albeit, a very talented one, but very one dimensional. Unless SI gets a quality big to draw in defenders, SD31 will continue to play the way he has. SI doesn’t have the players around him to make him more effective.

      • @SA says:

        Trevor and Waters aren’t talented? The two fasted guards in WCAL and they couldn’t figure out how to run high elbow pick and pops? Walk the ball up the court and then play catch for 20 seconds just so they can get one shot off a poorly set screen. Stephen’s class won the WCAL as freshman without Stephen…No talent? Coaching matters.

        • Johnny Drama says:

          Dunbar is a nice player and Waters is tough as nails but not much of a ball player. He’s more of an athlete than a hoopster. So NO, they don’t have the talent like Domingo’s current team. How many of his teammates on Team USA are ranked higher than him? Based on ranking’s, he may be the 7th or 8th best kid on his team.

          Winning the frosh WCAL title does not correlate to varsity success. You can win frosh league without a player over 6’1. Try doing that at the varsity level.

          MAIrJ is correct, they can”t run the same offense because they don’t have the same level of athlete. Not to say they can’t run a different offense but when Domingo is forced to be your best player he hasn’t proven he can carry a team. If he returns, hopefully a summer with Team USA enhances his game/confidence so that he may be Batman instead of Robin.

        • WCAL Alum says:

          Correct me if I am wrong, but wasnt the Freshman coach Tim Reardon?

          • JJ says:

            Yea, Reardon was the freshman coach of Dunbar when he was a frosh. Perhaps Domingo is doing great because the D in international play isn’t as strong as the WCAL? As far as Waters is concerned, stats-wise, I don’t think he had a very good year last year. I’m not looking at any stats, but my guess is that he averaged 3 pts a game last year.

      • JJ says:

        The 1 for 6 from long distance today vs France will probably bring SD’s 3 pt % down to less than 50% now.

  13. Ari Gold says:

    btw, i love watching waters play especially when hes one of the shortest players on the team and he leads the team in rebounds. whats that say about your front court players?

  14. Uncle Frank says:

    Game 5; last game of round robin. US beats China by something like 70.

    Jabari Parker hasn’t played the last 2 games. Domingo scores 16 mostly from two point range this time (5-7) but still hit two threes (2-6).

    Stlll hearing from those in the know at the Prep that Domingo will stay at SI but odds of him playing basketball his senior year are no more than 50%. That will be strange, if it indeed occurs.

  15. M Air J says:

    I can’t imagine why he would not play for SI if he is enrolled at SI. Every major recruit who signs before his senior year plays with his HS team. I don’t recall this ever not happening. I believe this lends some credibility to the notion he isn’t planning on returning.

  16. Uncle Frank says:

    Quarterfinals: US wins by 54. Domingo 6 points in 22 minutes. All two pointers. 0-4 from beyond the arc.

  17. Uncle Frank says:

    Semifinals: US beats Spain by 29 (but only up 4 at halftime). Domingo’s first stinker. He started again but went 0-4 and played only 17 minutes. Finished with 0 points.

    US plays Australia in final. They have beat Australia by 22 and 25 in the last couple of weeks.

    Jabari Parker is still unable to play because of a toe injury.

  18. Uncle Frank says:

    US wins gold medal game against Spain by 33. Frankamp, Parker and Okafor are the stars. Domingo starts, plays 17 minutes and takes 5 shots in game; all three pointers. Hits 2 of them for a total of 6 points.

    Domingo finishes the eight game tourney with 62 points. He shot 10-19 on two pointers and 14-39 on threes. Perhaps showing the limited way he was used by the team, in his 162 total minutes, he shot no free throws and had only 3 assists.

    Congrats on the gold medal.

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