FIBA Americas Championship -- 2001
The 2001 Tournament of the Americas, held in Neuquen, Argentina, featured 10 teams and served as the championship tournament for North, South and Central Americas, as well as the qualifying tournament to determine the five nations from the FIBA Americas zone that would qualify for the 2002 FIBA World Championship.
The United States had already qualified for the 2002 FIBA World Championship as the host country and USA Basketball offered the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), an active member of USA Basketball, the opportunity to participate in the tournament.
The NJCAA, which was responsible for the selection of the coaching staff and players, named Dan Sparks of perennial junior college power Vincennes University (Ind.) head coach of the team, and selected as assistants were Jay Harrington of Southwestern Illinois College and Bob Tipson of Champlain College (Vt.).
The team conducted six days of training camp at Vincennes University (Ind.) and was pared down from 19 finalists to the 10-member team that competed in the 2001 Tournament of the Americas.
Players selected for the team included Marcus Banks (Dixie State College); Kenny Brown (Iowa Western C.C.); Kendell Dartez (Lee College); J.K. Edwards (Indian Hills. C.C.); Blandon Ferguson (College of Southern Idaho); Reggie Griffin (Cedar Valley College); Delonte Holand (Vincennes); Jerry Holman (Minneapolis C.C.); Antonio Rambo (Southwest Illinois College); and Seth Scott (Utah Valley State College).
Despite 23 points by Banks, the NJCAA team fell to Brazil 116-78 on Aug. 16 in opening day play. Facing gold medal favorite Argentina the next day, the NJCAA squad was bested 108-69 as Banks and Ferguson scored 13 points apiece. Venezuela handed the the team a 107-83 loss despite Holland scoring 20 points. In need of a win against Uruguay if the team was to advance to the second round, the NJCAA team led by as many as 10 points in the first half and was up four at halftime. Uruguay rallied in the second half to claim the victory 104-93 and send the NJCAA squad home. Banks finished with 24 points in the loss, Holland added 16 points.
Banks led the NJCAA scoring attack averaging 18.5 ppg., while Holland scored 12.0 ppg. and Ferguson contrbuted 10.3 ppg.
Puerto Rico and Argentina finished preliminary play 4-0 to establish themselves as the early favorites. Brazil got back into the medal contention by defeating Puerto Rico 89-83 and Canada 78-69. Argentina improved to 8-0 and closed out the second round by upending Puerto Rico 95-70.
Argentina, Brazil (6-2), Puerto Rico (6-2) and Canada (4-4), who advanced over Venezuela and Panama based on FIBA’s tie breaking formula, moved on to the medal round semifinals with qualifying berths for the 2002 World Championship secured. Venezuela by virtue of its 106-92 win over Panama in second round action claimed the fifth qualifying berth.
In the semifinals, Brazil again bested Puerto Rico 98-94 and Argentina rolled over Canada 97-76 setting the stage for the Argentina-Brazil gold medal clash. Host Argentina claimed the title after rolling over Brazil 78-59, and Canada claimed the bronze medal after posting a 102-95 win over Puerto Rico.