The United States U18 national team captured the 2014 FIBA Americas gold medal with a 113-79 win over Canada on Tuesday night at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.
Justise Winslow, the Duke signee, finished with a double-double with a team-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Arizona-bound Stanley Johnson scored 19 and three reserves — Jalen Brunson, Isaiah Briscoe and Luke Kennard — all scored in double figures. Canada was led by Findlay Prep (Nevada) 2015 small forward Dillion Brooks with a game-high 27 points. Huntington Prep (West Virginia) wing Montaque Gill-Caesar added 22 points.
The United States had yet to be tested entering the gold medal game. After 14 combined turnovers in the first quarter — 45 in all — Canada had cut the U.S. lead to two, twice, in the first few minutes of the second quarter.
The Canadian team has high-major college talent such as Gill-Caesar, No. 22 in the Class of 2015, according to Rivals, and Harvard-commit Chris Egi. The best non-American in the field was Brooks, the three-star recruit, who ended as the tournament’s leading scorer. But the U.S. roster was too deep, as almost all 12 players saw 10 or more minutes on Tuesday night.
The depth continued to fuel the Americans’ defensive pressure, and helped create some separation in the second quarter. Canada committed four turnovers in a 90-second span, which let U.S. extend the lead to 30-21. The U.S. would build on that lead, which got as high as 16 in the second quarter.
The U.S. entered halftime with a 49-35. Canada would never cut into that deficit in the second half. The United States won every game this week by at least 34 points.
This is the the third time Billy Donovan had led Team USA to gold. In 2012, he led the U18 team to gold, followed by winning U19 gold the next season. Providence’s Ed Cooley and Arizona’s Sean Miller served as assistant coaches.
The Dominican Republic won the bronze medal with a 64-53 win over Argentina.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.
Knee injury sidelines Illinois forward Leron Black
Illinois will be shorthanded in its front court for the time being, as during the team’s media day Thursday head coach John Groce announced that sophomore forward Leron Black is out due to injury.
Black will undergo surgery Friday to repair a meniscus tear in his knee, and he’s expected to miss anywhere from four to six weeks. A return after four weeks would have Black back on the court just before the Fighting Illini open their season November 13 against North Florida. Any longer and the Memphis native would wind up missing some game action.
Black averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just under 15 minutes of action per game as a freshman. He’s one of the players expected to contribute in the front court for the Fighting Illini, who lost their best interior defender and second-leading rebounder in Nnanna Egwu at the end of last season (guard Rayvonte Rice, who led the team in rebounding, is also gone).
In addition to Black and junior Maverick Morgan, Illinois adds redshirt freshman Michael Finke and grad student Mike Thorne Jr. (via Charlotte) to their front court rotation.