USA Basketball

United States wins gold at Under-19 World Championships

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After rolling through its first eight games at the Under-19 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic, Billy Donovan’s United States squad ran into a group from Serbia intent on making things far more difficult for the Americans.

And that’s exactly what happened for three-plus quarters, as Jovan Novak (21 points) and Vasilje Micic (13 points, ten assists) helped keep Serbia well within striking distance.

But the United States would eventually take over, winning by the final score of 82-68 with Louisville sophomore forward Montrezl Harrell (17 points, four rebounds, four blocks) and Washington freshman guard Nigel Williams-Goss (15 points) leading the way.

The win gives the United States its third gold medal in the U-19 World Championships in the last 25 years, a fact that is a bit surprising even with the rise in early departures to the professional ranks during that timespan.

One trait that was a factor for the United States throughout its run in Prague was the team’s balance, with four players finishing in double figures Sunday afternoon. In addition to Harrell and Williams-Goss, Duke sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon (12 points) and Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart (11 points, three rebounds, three assists) also managed to surpass the 10-point mark.

Also of note was the team’s work on the defensive end, with Serbia finishing the game with 17 turnovers (Micic and Novak committed four turnovers apiece). With VCU head coach Shaka Smart on the staff the United States’ use of full-court pressure (UL Lafayette junior guard Elfrid Payton racked up a game-high five steals) should come as no surprise, and it paid dividends during the fourth quarter against Serbia.

With this victory, USA Basketball now holds the world titles at the U-17, U-19 and senior levels, with the senior men’s national team also being the current Olympic champions.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: Marquette’s Henry Ellenson shows off his versatility

Marquette's Henry Ellenson is fouled by Providence's Ben Bentil as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
(AP Photo/Morry Gash)
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I’m on record saying that I would consider Marquette freshman Henry Ellenson if I had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft, and while, at this point, I think that Brandon Ingram is probably going to end up going No. 2 — (Maybe No. 1???) — I still believe that Ellenson is going to be one of the best players from this draft class.

Why?

Well, just take a look at these highlights from the 26-point, 16-rebound performance he had in a win over Providence last night.

Then remember that Ellenson is 6-foot-11:

POSTERIZED: Pensacola State’s Jamal Thomas dunks through block attempt, makes coach go nuts

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A solid poster dunk went down in the junior college ranks last night as Pensacola State sophomore Jamal Thomas finished a dunk through a block attempt against Northwest Florida State.

The 6-foot-3 Thomas used his power and momentum to go through the opposing shot blocker and the play made his head coach, Pete Pena, go nuts with an over-exaggerated fist pump. The video is short, but be sure to watch for Pena’s reaction near the logo at the top right of the screen.