Springfield Lanphier High School freshman guard Larry Austin Jr. knew for the last couple weeks, and now his secret is out. Austin and other Illinois basketball recruits were among the 24 players named to the 16-and-under U.S. developmental basketball team mini-camp, USA Basketball announced Thursday.

CHAMPAIGN -- Springfield Lanphier High School freshman guard Larry Austin Jr. knew for the last couple weeks, and now his secret is out.

Austin and other Illinois basketball recruits were among the 24 players named to the 16-and-under U.S. developmental basketball team mini-camp, USA Basketball announced Thursday. A 12 -member team will be chosen during a mini-camp June 10-18 in Colorado Springs, Colo., that will represent the U.S. in the under-16 Americas championships, where the top three teams qualify for the 2012 under-17 world championships in Lithuania.

Also named to the team were Chicago Whitney Young freshmen forwards Jahlil Okafor and Paul White plus Chicago Simeon sophomore forwards Jabari Parker and Kendrick Nunn. Austin, Okafor and Parker were among 18 players who participated in the developmental team camp last fall.

"It's a good experience,'' Austin said. "You get exposed to a lot of different players, people as talented as you. It would mean a lot to represent my country and play for the U.S. team.''

No state had more than the five players chosen from Illinois.

Coach Don Showalter, of Iowa, will return for his second stint with the program after leading the U.S. gold medals in the under-17 world championships in 2010 and the under-16 FIBA Americas championships in 2009.

"We’re pretty familiar with 18 of the kids, and the majority of them have had really good high school years with their varsity teams,'' Showalter said in a release. "The difference from last fall to this year will be significant. We’ll be able to see a big difference in their mental and physical abilities, their mental toughness, from last fall. So, I’m really looking forward to those 18 coming in and seeing how much they’ve improved.

"Then we’ll have six more kids who weren’t with us last fall, but who have had really good years. You try and get the best group you can, and these guys really stepped up to the plate during their high school seasons. I think that’s why the committee chose them to come in for the training camp.''

John Supinie can be reached at Johnsupinie@aol.com.