Rasheed Sulaimon: Courtesy USA Basketball
Written By USA Basketball
Prague, Czech Republic--Thanks to a dominant second half showing, the 2013 USA Basketball Men's U19 squad (9-0) is FIBA U19 World Champions for just the third time in the last eight U19 championships since 1987.
Behind 17 points from Montrezl Harrell (University of Louisville/Tarboro, N.C.), the United States outscored Serbia (7-2) 42-30 in the second half to break open a tight gold-medal affair and claim an 82-68 victory in Prague, Czech Republic on Sunday night.
Also aiding the U.S. gold medal effort were Nigel Williams-Goss (Findlay Prep/Happy Valley, Ore.), who finished with 15 points and made 2-of-3 3-point attempts; Rasheed Sulaimon (Duke University/Houston, Texas) made 2-of-6 3-pointers and was credited with 12 points; Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State University/ Flower Mound, Texas) tallied 11 points and Elfrid Payton (University of Louisiana/Gretna, La.) finished with nine points and U.S. team-highs of six assists and five steals.
Aaron Gordon (Archbishop Mitty H.S./San Jose, Calif.), who averaged USA highs of 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds a game, plus 2.0 steals a game while shooting 61.2 percent from the field, was selected MVP of the U19 World Championship. Joining him on the five-player U19 all-tournament team was teammate Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.), and rounding out the team were Vasilje Micic of Serbia, Dante Exum of Australia and Dario Saric of Croatia.
"I feel very, very honored my country asked me to coach this team. I think USA Basketball could have picked a lot of coaches who would have done a wonderful job," said USA and University of Florida head coach Billy Donovan. "I thought the thing that changed our team was we had a great group coming back from last year (2012 USA U18 Championship Team) that had some experience, and I think the adding of Nigel (Williams-Goss), (Aaron) Gordon, (Jahlil) Okafor, Justise Winslow, those guys being a little bit younger so to speak, added a different element to our team. It was a special team and I just feel honored that I could be a part of it."