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.
USA U19 team wins gold at FIBA U19 World Cup; Canada earns bronze medal
One day after the U.S. Senior National Team was upset by Nigeria in an exhibition game, the U.S. U19 team restored some order by winning gold at the FIBA U19 World Cup.
The Americans beat France, 83-81, behind 16 points apiece from Jaden Ivey (Purdue) and Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Louisiana Tech) and 12 points from Adam Miller (LSU). France had no answer for the 6-foot-7 Lofton down low. TCU coach Jamie Dixon led the American team.
“We battled. We were worn down, but we battled down the stretch and found a way, so I am proud of them,” Dixon said. That is a really good France team that really responded, competed and played well together. They (France) are obviously very talented and well coached and have been together a long time to my understanding, but glad we were able to pull it off.”
Victor Wembanyama, the projected No. 1 pick in 2023, led France with 22 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks.
Ivey and Chet Holmgren, the Gatorade Player of the Year and rising Gonzaga freshman, were named to the all-star team, along with Wembanyama, Purdue’s Zach Edey of Canada and Nikola Jovic of Serbia. The 7-foot-1 Holmgren was named MVP of the FIBA U19 World Cup.
“We were staying together. We didn’t want to let any adversity pull us apart,” said Holmgren. “We went through everything in the last three weeks to get here, and we all knew we weren’t leaving without the gold. It was just a matter of what we had to do to make that happen. In the fourth quarter we made the adjustments and came out on top.”
USA men’s teams have won eight gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal while compiling a 105-14 overall record in U19 World Cup play since the event was launched in 1979. Even more impressive, the USA has won five of the past seven U19 golds since 2009.
CANADA EARNS BRONZE MEDAL
Canada’s U19 Men’s National Team defeated Serbia 101-92 to take a third-place finish at the FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup 2021. The Canadians won the bronze medal behind a 31-point performance from Bennedict Mathurin, including 14 points in a decisive fourth quarter.
Ryan Nembhard recorded a 21-point, 10-assist double-double for the Canadians, while Caleb Houstan added 17 points and Edey finished with 12 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots as Canada came out on top in a roller coaster game against Serbia.
Mihailo Musikic led Serbia with a team-high 25 points, while Mihailo Petrovic and Lazar Stefanovic added 16 points apiece in the loss.
“I feel pretty good,” Mathurin said. “It’s the second medal in the history of Canada Basketball. It’s not what we wanted but we got third place. Third place is better than fourth place. So, we’ll take it.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.