USA Basketball U17 team wins gold in the FIBA World Championships

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For the third time since its inception, the United States won the gold medal in the FIBA U17 World Championships.

USA Basketball pulled away from Australia in the second half en route to a 99-92 victory on Saturday afternoon in Dubai.

Malik Newman scored 16 of his team-high 21 points in the first half. The U.S. captain also grabbed 11 rebounds. Jayson Tatum added 15 points, followed by Josh Jackson and Harry Giles with 13 each. Ivan Rabb had a strong showing off the bench. Dejan Vasiljevic led all scorers with 29 points for Australia and Tom Wilson added 23.

Australia was USA Basketball’s toughest opponent from start to finish. The U.S. led by 14 in the fourth quarter, only to have Australia cut the deficit to single digits and make it a two-possession game on multiple occasions in the final three minutes. The game was extended for several minutes, as USA Basketball struggled to close the game out from the free throw line.

Australia had doubled up the U.S., 14-7, in the early goings, but had difficulty competing on the boards, as USA Basketball took a 57-30 advantage in that department.

An interesting matchup was how Isaac Humphries, a highly-touted recruit heading to La Lumiere (Indiana) this season, would fare against the likes on Diamond Stone, Rabb and the other U.S. big men. First half foul trouble saddled Humphries on the bench, as he ended with eight points and six rebounds in 27 minutes.

USA Basketball previously won the gold medal in this tournament in 2010 and 2012.

Report: Four-star center reclassifying to 2015; down to three

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An interesting recruiting development hit on Friday as Josh Gershon of reported that four-star center Jayce Johnson is reclassifying to the Class of 2015 and looking to join a program at semester break.

The 7-foot native of California is down to Cal, Colorado and Utah and Johnson is on an official visit to Utah this weekend after transferring to a charter school this week. As Gershon notes, only Cal has a scholarship to offer Johnson this season, but the family is willing to pay a semester at the other programs if it’s the right fit. Johnson would like to redshirt and train with his future college while playing against more mature players.

But if Johnson is persuaded not to redshirt, he could be an intriguing big man off the bench later in the season for a couple of teams looking to make a postseason appearance. As the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson is a talented prospect and he isn’t afraid to score with either hand. With some time to fill out, Johnson can turn into a talented Pac-12 player down the road.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.