FEBRUARY 2021 AMERICUP QUALIFYING
San Juan, Puerto Rico • February 19-20, 2021
Concluding the third and final window of competition in Group D of the 2020-21 AmeriCup Qualifying games, the games were again played in a "bubble" but this time in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The USA earned a pair of solid victories to finish a perfect 6-0 in the 2020-21 AmeriCup Qualifying.
FEB. 2021 USA RESULTS (2-0)
Under the direction of longtime NBA assistant Joe Prunty, who served as a USA assistant coach during the November 2020 AmeriCup Qualifying games, the USA, featuring a 13-man roster that included former NBA All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson, defeated Bahamas 93-77 and Mexico 96-75 to conclude the qualifying tournament with a perfect 6-0 record.
The top three teams from each of the AmeriCup’s four groups earned a berth into the FIBA AmeriCup 2022. Qualifying in addition to the USA were Argentina (4-2), Brazil (4-0), Canada (5-1), Colombia (2-4), Dominican Republic (5-1), Mexico (2-4), Panama (3-2), Puerto Rico (3-3), Uruguay (3-3), U.S. Virgin Islands (1-5) and Venezuela (5-1).
The USA opened the third window of AmeriCup Qualifying with a 93-77 win against Bahamas on Feb. 19. Led by 19 points apiece from James Nunnally and Thomas, the USA winning effort was further assisted by Dakota Mathias, who finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and four assists; Brandon Bass, who added 12 points and 10 rebounds; and Johnson, who tallied 11 points, nine rebounds and six assists.
“Well actually, I felt really good with the immediate start of the game,” said Prunty. “I thought Isaiah (Thomas) got off to a quick start, a hot start. He hit, I believe, three 3s pretty quickly there, got us an 11-2 lead.
“I also like, with us, how we responded to several different situations that they (Bahamas) threw at us, not only on the defensive end in making us execute, but also on the offensive end where we had to guard.”
The first quarter saw Thomas help the USA get off to a strong start, including three-straight 3-pointers to put the USA ahead 11-2 two minutes into the game. Bahamas trailed 25-19 after the first period. Bahamas took a 34-33 lead in the second quarter, but the USA closed the half on a 21-6 run to enter the halftime locker room with a 54-40 lead. In the second half the Bahamas could come no closer than nine points, 59-50 at 6:51 in the third. It was 75-61 with 10 minutes remaining in the game, and the USA outscored Bahamas 18-16 in the fourth quarter to earn the 93-77 victory.
The USA shot 49.3% from the field (33-67 FGs) and 46.9% from 3-point (15-32 3pt FGs), while holding Bahamas to 35.3% from the field and 28.6% from 3-point.
“It felt great,” said Thomas. “It's my first time playing in a little over a year. So, you know, I was a little rusty, but it felt amazing to be out there, competing against really good players, and also representing my country.”
“I thought we had times where we looked great as a team, and we had times where, you know, we just need to slow down a little bit, but that is kind of expected with some of the young guys,” said Johnson. “But all-in-all, we got a win, and we got to get ready for tomorrow.”
The USA wasted no time in racing past Mexico on Feb. 20 in its final AmeriCup Qualifying game, holding a 58-33 advantage at halftime en route to a 96-75 victory.
Ra’Shad James paced the USA to victory with a U.S. single-game record-tying 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and 3-of-3 from 3-point; Brandon Bass contributed 12 points and five rebounds; Johnson notched 11 points, a game-high-tying nine rebounds and a game-high seven assists; Will Davis II added 10 points and five boards; and Thomas finished with nine points and three assists.
“I thought (the cohesiveness) was huge with this team, in a short amount of time how well they came together,” said Prunty. “Obviously, you think about the basketball first, it’s what people will look at, but part of it was, they came together as a group. They helped each other a lot, whether it was learning the system or coverages or things like that throughout the week. That led to the play and the selflessness that each guy played with.”
“I thought it was great,” said Johnson of the team’s overall effort. “I thought collectively as a team we played great. We moved the basketball and got stops and got out and go easy baskets. It was fun that way.”
Mexico scored its lone 3 of the first half 10 seconds into the game, but the USA squad quickly strung together 11-straight points. Mexico outscored the USA 7-3 over the next two minutes, but a 13-0 USA run put the red, white and blue on top 27-10 with 1:57 remaining in the quarter. By the end of the first period, the U.S. was ahead 31-15. In the second quarter, the USA continued to increase its lead and pushed it to 30 points, 58-28, and the teams headed into halftime with the USA owning a 55-33 victory. The USA cruised in the second half for the eventual 96-75 victory.
“Coming off the bench, I had the hot hand, so I tried to stay poised and focus on doing the right things, taking the right shots and tonight, for me, was rolling,” said James, who helped the USA’s bench outscore Mexico’s reserves 49-21.
The red, white and blue shot 50.7% (35-59 FGs) and a red-hot 40.7% (11-27 3pt FGs) from 3-point, while its defense held Mexico to an ice 37.5% (27-72 FGs) from the field and a mere 19% (4-21 3-pt FGs) from afar.
FEBRUARY 2021 USA MEN'S AMERICUP QUALIFYING TEAM ROSTER
|Cat Barber||G||6-1||173||26||Free Agent/North Carolina State
|Brandon Bass||F||6-8||250||35||Free Agent/LSU
||Baton Rogue, LA|
|Josh Boone||C||6-10||237||36||Free Agent/Connecticut
||Mount Airy, MD|
|Chris Daniels||C||6-9||265||35||Free Agent/Texas A&M-CC
||San Antonio, TX|
|Will Davis II||C||6-8||220||28||Free Agent/UC Irvine
|Treveon Graham||G/F||6-5||225||27||Free Agent/VCU||Washington, DC|
|Ra'Shad James||G||6-1||195||31||Orasi Ravenna (Italy)/Northwood
||White Plains, NY
||Little Rock, AR|
|James Nunnally||F||6-7||220||30||Free Agent/UC Sanata Barbara||Stockton, CA|
|Isaiah Thomas||G||5-9||185||32||Free Agent/Washington||Tacoma, WA|
|Tre'Shawn Thurman||F||6-7||225||25||Free Agent/Nevada||Omaha, NE|
|Head Coach: Joe Prunty|
|Assistant Coach: Othella Harrington|
|Assistant Coach: James Jones, Yale University
|Team Physician: Stephen Foley, Sanford Health (Sioux Falls, SD)|
|Athletic Trainer: Ed Lacerte, ProSports Therapy, Inc. (Waltham and Westford, MA)|
|Athletic Trainer: Ron Weathers, Embodi Physical Therapy and Sports Performance (Charlotte, NC)|
|Team Scout: Sydney Johnson|
|Video Coordinator: Kris Quintana|
FEBRUARY 2021 USA MEN'S AMERICUP QUALIFYING TEAM CUMULATIVE STATISTICS
|Thomas||2/2||10- 23||.435||6- 12||.500||2- 3||.667||4/ 2.0||28/ 14.0||5||0||0|
|Nunnally||2/1||8- 13||.615||6- 10||.600||3- 3||1.000||7/ 3.5||25/ 12.5||2||0||0|
|James||2/0||7- 12||.583||4- 6||.667||7- 9||.778||1/ 0.5||25/ 12.5||0||0||2|
|Mathias||2/2||8- 20||.400||5- 12||.417||3- 5||.600||15/ 7.5||24/ 12.0||6||1||3|
|Bass||2/1||11- 13||.846||0- 0||.---||2- 2||1.000||15/ 7.5||24/ 12.0||3||1||0|
|Johnson||2/2||9- 18||.500||2- 5||.400||2- 2||1.000||18/ 9.0||22/ 11.0||13||2||1|
||1/0||4- 5||.800||0- 0||.---||2- 2||1.000||5/ 5.0||10/ 10.0||0||1||0|
|Graham||1/1||2- 4||.500||2- 3||.667||0- 0||.---||2/ 2.0||6/ 6.0||1||0||0|
|Barber||2/0||3- 8||.375||0- 2||.000||3- 4||.750||3/ 1.5||9/ 4.5||8||0||2|
|Boone||1/1||2- 3||.667||0- 0||.---||0- 4||.000||5/ 5.0||4/ 4.0||1||1||0|
|Thurman||2/0||3- 8||.375||1- 5||.200||0- 0||.---||10/ 5.0||7/ 3.5||0||0||2|
|Daniels||2/0||1- 3||.333||0- 0||.---||3- 4||.750||3/ 1.5||5/ 2.5||0||0||0|
|Sibert||2/0||0- 6||.000||0- 4||.000||0- 0||.---||0/ 0.0||0/ 0.0||1||0||1|
|USA||2||68-136||.500||26- 59||.441||27- 38||.711||93/46.5||189/ 94.5||40||6||11|
|OPP.||2||57-157||.363||12- 49||.245||26- 35||.743||84/42.0||152/ 76.0||32||6||13|