The USA U18 team continues to win handily at the FIBA Americas U18 Tournament, as the Americans advanced to the gold-medal game with a 90-56 Monday night win over the Dominican Republic in the semifinals.
Five players finished in double-figures for Billy Donovan’s ballclub, led by Arizona commit Stanley Johnson’s 15 points and seven rebounds. Duke commit Tyus Jones scored all 14 of his points in the first half, as the point guard showed off his advanced floater game, and he also led the Americans with seven assists.
Allonzo Trier, an uncommitted 2015 prospect, finished with 13 points, while 2015 Duke commit Luke Kennard added 11 points and 2015 uncommitted point guard Jalen Brunson added 10 points.
The American defense suffocated the Dominican Republic for much of the evening as the Dominicans were held to 31 percent shooting from the field and 12 percent three-point shooting. Team USA also forced 21 Dominican turnovers that led to 21 points.
The Dominican Republic was paced by 2015 prospect and forward Weisner Perez, who finished with 11 points off-the-bench. Perez attends Morton High School in the Chicago suburb of Cicero, Illinois and has multiple low-to-mid major scholarship offers.
The American win now sets up a Tuesday night gold-medal game between the Americans and Canada, who defeated Argentina, 91-82 in overtime earlier on Monday evening. The FIBA Americas gold-medal game will begin at 7:30 p.m. EST and be broadcast on the FIBA Americas website and on YouTube.
The Canadians will give Team USA their stiffest competition yet as they feature two Rivals top 100 prospects in the 2015 class in Dillon Brooks and Teki Gill-Caesar. Brooks and Gill-Caesar combined for 53 points in the win over Argentina and won’t back down from the star-studded American team. Canada is also anchored down low by Harvard incoming freshman Chris Egi.
Here is the box score for Team USA for Monday night’s win:
Much is made about the ball when it comes to how the sport of basketball is played and rightfully so, as the ball is the most important piece of equipment. Different brands have different characteristics, and with college basketball programs being able to pick the ball they use for home games there are adjustments to be made during the season.
Wisconsin will play at No. 2 Maryland Saturday, meaning that in the days leading up to the game the Badgers needed to get used to the Under Armour basketball. The brand became a conversation point in the aftermath of Maryland’s win over No. 4 Iowa last month, with the Hawkeyes (while not blaming the ball for their loss) made note of the differences between the Under Armour ball and the Nike ball they use for their home games.
“It’s definitely different,” Hayes said. “Personally, we don’t like it too much. I don’t like the Under Armour ball whatsoever. But that’s the way this amateur sports league is set up. We’re supposed to be having fun, but all the money is in these basketballs that colleges play with. But it’s an amateur sport, we’re just here for fun. It’s not really that serious. So I guess any ball should be OK.
“Maybe we should have a universal ball like the NBA. You don’t go to the Clippers’ stadium and play with a Nike and then go to Golden State and play with a Rawlings. But in this amateur sport of college, where money isn’t the goal — it’s the student education and experience that you get — we play with a million different basketballs.”
Hayes makes a good point here, and in regards to the NBA all hell would break loose under similar circumstances (remember the leather vs. microfiber composite controversy in 2006?). If these games are solely about fun and the college experience, wouldn’t having one ball used by all schools better fit that mission? This isn’t the biggest of deals when it comes to “amateur” athletics, as different basketball brands have been used for years.
But Hayes was able to take this situation and work it into the discussion of the goals of intercollegiate athletics. Is it about the experience? Or does the ability to profit, be it through a minor move such as using a particular ball or the more impactful step of moving from one conference to another, take precedence? Given the shifts that have occurred in college sports in recent years, it’s quite apparent that the search for additional revenue streams has won out.
Hayes did note that neither he nor his teammates would make excuses, saying that the team would simple “have to get used to” the unfamiliar basketball according to the Wisconsin State Journal. In the end, this was a good use of sarcasm by Hayes to make a greater point about the collegiate athletics machine he and his teammates are but minor parts of.
Marquette fan sends Providence money for missed free throw
It goes without saying that sports can inspire some interesting promises, from players and coaches guaranteeing victory to fans making statements that hinge on the outcome of a particular game or play (see: tattoos celebrating a team’s triumphs before they’ve even won the game in question). For one Marquette fan, the need for Providence’s Kris Dunn to miss a free throw during Wednesday night’s game (which Marquette won in overtime) inspired him to make a promise that he intended to keep.
Jamey Schilling took the approach of yelling that he’d pay Dunn $10 if he missed the free throw. Sure enough Dunn missed the shot, and Schilling made good on his promise. But with players themselves unable to receive such funds due to NCAA rules, Schilling sent the check to the Providence athletic department.