Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Jahlil Okafor now has a gold medal and a FIBA MVP award to add to his collection.
The 6-foot-10 Chicago Whitney Young star scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds and was named the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship MVP after helping the USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team beat Australia, 95-62, to win the U17 World Championship title Sunday night in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Kansas-bound guard Conner Frankamp’s led the Americans with 22 points and uncommitted junior Jabari Parker scored 12 after missing the semifinals with a sore foot.
“Just walked down the streets of Lithuania with my gold medal around my neck! Received so much love,” Okafor Tweeted.
Bradley Beal, the No. 3 pick in the recent NBA Draft, won the tournament’s MVP in 2010, when the USA also won.
The Americans finished a perfect 8-0 at the event and joined their U18 counterparts in winning gold this summer. The U18 team — led by Julius Randle — won the FIBA Americans Championship last month in Brazil.
Okafor’s USA teammate, Justise Winslow (St. John’s School / Houston, Texas), was also named to the All-U17 World Championship Team after finishing the night with 13 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and four steals.
“This is almost a little more enjoyable than our win two years ago in the gold medal game, just because this team had to overcome some adversity, some injuries and various things,” American head coach Don Showalter said. “I was really proud with our kids for hanging in there. We really didn’t have a star, because they all bought into the fact that they were all playing for USA Basketball. I think that showed in the final game.
Release, Photo: USA Basketball
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.