2017 USA U16 Men Down Dominican Republic 94-45, Qualify for 2018 U17 World Cup
With a 94-45 dismantling of Dominican Republic (0-2) on Thursday evening in Formosa, Argentina, the USA Basketball U16 Men's National Team (2-0) secured its spot in the medal semifinals of the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, as well as earned a berth into the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup.
Leading from wire-to-wire, the USA shot an impressive 52.8 percent from the field (38-72 FGs), got 21 points off of fast-break opportunities – while limiting Puerto Rico to just two points in transition, and saw six players finish in double-digit scoring.
James Wiseman (The Ensworth School/Nashville, Tenn.) had a 15-point, 10-rebound double-double; Zion Harmon (Bowling Green H.S./Bowling Green, Ky.) contributed 14 points; and R.J. Hampton (Little Elm H.S./Little Elm, Texas) tallied 11 points and five rebounds. Vern Carey Jr. (University School/Southwest Ranches, Fla.), Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial H.S./Fresno, Calif.) and De'Vion Harmon (John Guyer H.S./Corinth, Texas) each scored 10 points.
Additionally, Jeremy Roach (Paul VI Catholic H.S./Leesburg, Va.) dished out five assists, and Wendell Moore Jr. (Cox Mill H.S./Concord, N.C.) collected five steals.
The USA wraps up preliminary round play against Mexico (0-2) at 1:15 p.m. EDT on June 16. All USA games will be streamed live on Facebook.com/USABasketball and YouTube.com/FIBA. Semifinals will be played June 17, and the finals are on June 18.
“Our effort was great tonight,” said USA U16 head coach Don Showalter. “Our kids came out with a great mindset and played tremendous defense. We did a great job defensively. All 12 guys came in with the right attitude and mindset about playing defense.”
The USA scored the game’s first six points before Dominican Republic could get on the board with a 2-pointer at 6:37. De’Vion Harmon put on a show over the next few minutes, scoring eight-straight points, and at the 4:14 mark in the first period the USA was up 14-2.
“He got us going with the dunk, his on-ball pressure,” said Zion Harmon about De’Vion Harmon’s play. “He’s just a team player.”
The Dominicans fought back, however, outscoring the USA 9-5 and closed the gap on the defending champion to 19-13 at the end of the first quarter.
“In the first quarter, we got out of control a little bit. That’s when we had the most turnovers,” said De’Vion Harmon. “We ended the first half with 13 turnovers. So, we came back out and slowed the game down to its appropriate pace. We love to play fast, but sometimes we get a little too fast. We just needed to slow the game down. When we started locking up on defense, that’s when we got a lot of open looks.”
Jalen Suggs (Minnehaha Academy H.S./St. Paul, Minn.) hit back-to-back buckets to open the second period, which helped fuel the USA to a 18-4 run that saw six different U.S. players score. The run ended with steals and baskets from both Scottie Barnes (Cardinal Newman H.S./West Palm Beach, Fla.) and De’Vion Harmon, which gave the red, white and blue a 20-point, 37-17, cushion with 5:06 to play before halftime.
“(Jalen Suggs) also got us going, because he got a little down on himself when he missed his shots (in the first quarter),” stated Zion Harmon. “Basically, we said, ‘You know who you are, so keep playing.’ Then in the second quarter he came out fast.”
By the midway break, the USA held a 46-22 advantage, and De’Vion Hampton and Wiseman both had 10 of their points on the night.
After spotting Dominican Republic four points to start the second half, the USA scored 12 unanswered points in a 16-2 run to push ahead 62-28 with 2:54 remaining in the third period. The USA never looked back, closed out the third quarter up 67-31 and outscored the Dominicans 27-14 in the fourth quarter.
“We started off slow in the first quarter, but we picked it up in the second half,” said Wiseman. We just needed our energy off the bench. Scottie Barnes and the whole bench, they just brought us up with their energy.”
The USA’s bench outscored the Dominican reserves 51-36.
“First of all, that’s what you want to do, qualify for the U17 World Cup next year,” added Showalter. “The kids understand that, and now we want to finish out the tournament the right way.
“Now it’s the little details we have to fix. The small things like catching the ball before we make a move and cutting down our turnovers. We had 20 turnovers, which is about six more than we’d like. But, we only had seven in the second half, so we showed some progress there. And then the little things, like going to the offensive glass a little better and boxing out a little better. So, not big things but details.”
In the other Group B game today, Puerto Rico (1-1) picked up an 81-68 win over Mexico (0-2). In Group A, Canada moved to 2-0 after fighting off a second-half run by Paraguay (1-1) for a 79-71 victory, and host Argentina (1-1) defeated Venezuela (0-2) 46-39. Canada also qualified to compete in the medal semifinals and 2018 U17 World Cup.
The top four finishing teams, not including Argentina, will qualify for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup for Men. Argentina has earned a bid to host the 2018 U17 World Cup and therefore earned an automatic berth to next year’s U17 World Cup.
USA Basketball has claimed the gold medal in all four editions of the biennial event, which was first held in 2009, and under the direction of Showalter, the USA is now 22-0 in FIBA Americas U16 Championship action. Additionally, USA U16 men’s teams have scored 100 or more points in 18 of 22 games all-time at the competition.
Showalter is being assisted on the sideline by Scott Fitch (Fairport H.S., N.Y.) and Stan Waterman (Sanford School, Del.).
As of March 1, 2017, 13 of the 48 former USA U16 National Team members were under contract in the NBA, four were competing professionally in international leagues, 20 were competing in the NCAA and 11 were still in high school.
|2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship|