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.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.