Germany Standing Between USA And FIBA U19 World Cup Semifinals
The last time the USA met Germany in a FIBA U19 competition was 34 years ago. It happened at the 1983 Junior World Championship in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
Since the start of the FIBA competition in 1979, which originally was known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the United States men have compiled an 89-13 overall record and have played in the championship game nine times, winning gold on six occasions.
One of the USA’s 13 losses was to Germany in that lone meeting in 1983 when Germany scored the final six points in overtime to upset the U.S. 88-87. The USA may have rebounded to win its final two games and claim gold, but Germany holds the distinction of being the only country among the 27 nations that the USA has played in U19 competitions to own a winning record versus the Americans.
Germany enters the quarterfinals contest with a 3-1 record and fresh from a 72-65 win over New Zealand in the Round of 16. Germany’s lone setback came in preliminary round play against Group B champ Lithuania.
Germany mirrors the USA U19 squad in many ways. It boasts of a balanced scoring attack that heading into the game versus the USA featured eight players scoring between 5.0 and 9.5 points a game. The average height of Germany’s 12 players is 6-foot-6.
The USA U19 team too is centered around balanced scoring and features 10 players scoring between 6.5 and 16.0 points a game, and like Germany, the USA roster boasts of an average height of 6-foot-6.
“What I’ve seen is a very, very long team, pretty good shooters, great depth,” said USA and University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari. “They have 10 guys scoring between 10 and 6 points. I also see a team that is well coached, they run some stuff to create shots for each other, they create shots for each other, and they have great spacing. But the biggest thing is their length. Their length is comparable to our length.
Six-foot-nine Louis Olinde heads Germany’s scoring attack averaging 9.5 points and 5.5 rebounds, while Oscar Da Silva, a 6-foot-9 forward, and 6-foot-3 shooting guard Ferdinand Zyika, are each scoring at a 9.3 points per game clip.
On the USA side, 6-foot-8 PJ Washington (Findlay Prep/Las Vegas, Nev.) is leading the way scoring 16.0 points and grabbing 5.8 rebounds a game. Six-foot-10 center Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic H.S/San Diego, Calif.) is adding 14.5 points and 9.3 rebounds a game, while Cameron Reddish (Westtown School/Norristown, Pa.) and Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky/ Queens, NY) are each contributing 12.8 points a game.
Winning its first four games by an average of 45.5 points a game, the USA is putting up 108.0 points a game.
“There’s two things that I’ve talking to our players about of late,” said Calipari. “I’ve focused on these individual kids; I’ve focused on them playing together and being unselfish. I focused on each individual about how they have to play to be successful and even beyond just this USA Basketball trip.
“I’ve held individual meetings and really I’m just trying to help the guys,” Calipari continued. “I told them that this is now about USA, this is about having pride in this uniform and that you are the select group of under 19s. I don’t really care who else tried out, who wanted to make the team, this is who made it and you guys are playing well together. Now the games are going to get tougher, let’s see how we play now.”
Tip time for tomorrow’s USA quarterfinal matchup against Germany is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. EDT. Live streaming of the game is available on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App.