SECOND FIBA 3X3 U23 WORLD CUP FOR MEN -- 2019
Lanzhou, China • Oct. 2-6, 2019
Fielding the USA’s first team for a FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup for Men, which was held Oct. 2-6 in Lanzhou, China, the inexperienced USA squad proved competitive but did not advance to the medal round.
Representing the red, white and blue were Ronald Fairrow III, David Payne, Mark Shehady and Juwan Willis.
Serving as the team advisor was Joe Lewandowski, the head men’s basketball coach at Park Point University and a USA Basketball 3x3 regional coordinator.
2019 USA RESULTS (0-4)
2019 FIBA 3x3 U23 WORLD CUP
The USA came up short against Romania 21-18 and against Latvia 21-14 on its first day of Group B action on Oct. 3.
Opening against Romania, the USA jumped ahead 4-1, but Romania charged back to take an 8-7 lead. Three 2-pointers from Payne pushed the USA ahead 14-9, but Romania again responded by outscoring the USA 12-4 and closed the 21-18 win on a 2-pointer with just over a minute on the clock. Payne finished with nine points, and Shehady had five.
“You see a huge difference in physicality when you come to these games, and I think that was the separator for us,” said Shehady. “I thought we played hard, and we executed well for the most part.”
Against Latvia, the silver medalist at the 2018 FIBA 3x3 U23 World Cup, the USA hung close for the first five minutes, and was within one point, 12-11, at 4:24. Down the stretch, however, Latvia outscored the USA 9-3 and ended the game at 1:30. Fairrow and Willis each scored five points.
“I thought we played extraordinarily well for us four guys being together for the first time at this tournament,” said Shehady. “But they’re a tough team, got to give props to them. I feel like we did a better job of sharing the ball, moving, and we did the best we could.”
“It’s been a great experience,” Shehady added. “I’m just glad to see the different style of basketball. That’s the biggest thing with me. The area is great, great atmosphere. There is a lot of pride that the fans have in their countries, and I thought that was really fascinating. Whenever China plays at home, that place is just packed, a lot of noise.”
The USA again put up a good fight, but in the end fell to Kazakhstan 21-18 and host China 21-15 to close out preliminary play on Oct. 5. With only the top two teams advancing to the quarterfinal round, the USA was eliminated from advancing on.
“There were two tough games,” said Payne, who averaged a USA high 5.5 points over the team’s four games. “I thought they were winnable for us, but I’m proud of how all my teammates competed. We all went out there, we played with our hearts, we played together and we didn’t back down from any of the competition. They were hard-fought games, and we competed hard.”
The USA opened the day against Kazakhstan and again started fast, going up 6-1. However, the Kazakhs fought back and took a 9-8 lead midway through the game. The USA tallied a 4-0 run with a pair of drives by Shehady and a 2-pointer from Willis to retake the lead 12-9. Kazakhstan responded with an 8-2 run and went ahead 17-14 with a little more than a minute remaining. A pair of long balls by the U.S. gave the squad its final lead, 18-17, but the Americans were unable to connect after that and Kazakhstan closed the game out on a 4-0 run. Willis scored a team-high seven points in the loss.
Facing undefeated China in front of a packed arena cheering for the hosts, the USA fell behind 8-1. The U.S. began to match China’s buckets, but the gap was too much to overcome, and the U.S. finished out its 3x3 U23 World Cup experience with the 21-15 loss. Shehady scored seven points, and Payne had five.
“This was a great experience,” added Payne. “It was an honor to be able to represent our country at an event like this. All these teams coming together, we were all out here competing and having fun together. What I can take from this experience is just knowing I need to keep working and to remember that this is a privilege. A lot of people want to be in this spot, but we were the ones who were chosen to represent our country. It’s an honor to me to be able to say we came out here and did that.”
2019 USA MEN'S 3x3 U23 WORLD CUP ROSTER
||Ronald Fairrow III
||6-7||220||21||Point Park University
||Cleveland State University
||5-10||165||21||Point Park University
||6-2||170||22||Point Park University
|Team Leader: Joe Lewandowski
||Athletic Trainer: Whitney Rowley, Point Park University
2019 USA 3x3 U23 CUMULATIVE STATISTICS
|| 22/ 5.5
|| 19/ 4.8
|| 13/ 3.3
|| 11/ 2.8
2019 FIBA 3X3 U23 WORLD CUP SKILLS CONTESTS MEDALISTS
Shoot-Out Final (mixed):
Gold Medal: Mai Yamamoto (Japan, female)
Silver Medal: Rendijs Feikners (Latvia, men)
Bronze Medal: Yan Peng (China, men)
Dunk Contest (men):
Gold Medal: Justinas Jogminas (Lithuania)
Silver Medal: Weijao Li (China)
Bronze Medal: Aladji Bobo Magassa (Qatar)
Skills Contest (women):
Gold Medal: Haimei Wang (China)
Silver Medal: Nadia Constantin (Switzerland)
Bronze Medal: Victoria Majekodunmi (France)