Earlier this month, the USA 17u National Team won the gold medal at the FIBA World Championship. The 18u team followed their direction as they beat Canada 99-84 on Saturday evening.
“Every time you compete in these type of tournaments, you feel a level of pressure when you represent the USA and being committed to win a gold medal,” USA Head Coach Shaka Smart said. “I joked with people before we came down here that if we didn’t win the gold medal, they wouldn’t let us back in the country, so I’m proud we got it done.”
USA had five players to score in double figures, but potential lottery pick Markelle Fultz led the way. The future Washington Huskie finished with 23 points and five assists. His performance rewarded him with the tournament MVP award.
“For me to get MVP means a lot to me,” Fultz said. “There’s a lot of good players here, and it’s truly and honor.”
P.J. Washington tallied 19 points (7-8 FG) and five rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. registered 15 points and eight rebounds. Texas bound Jarrett Allen had 10 points and eight rebounds, while Hamidou Diallo scored 14 points.
“It’s been a goal my whole life to be a part of USA Basketball and hopefully win a gold medal,” USA assistant and University of Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon said. “The best part about this was being around a great group of guys and a great group of coaches to work with, so it made it even more special.”
One thing Diallo will takeaway from this experience is being humble and knowing what it takes to win.
“Just being humble, and being with this group of guys,” Diallo said. “We all didn’t get to play the amount that we wanted to play, but we got what we came here for. So, now we just got to go back to our homes and work on our games to get better.”
The victory over Canada gives the USA U18 team a 53-2 record all-time.
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