USA Men Win First FIBA 3X3 U18 World Cup Title
The 2019 USA Men’s 3x3 U18 World Cup Team made history, becoming the first USA 3X3 U18 men’s team to capture a FIBA 3X3 U18 World Cup title. The USA finished a perfect 7-0 and out-dueled Turkey (6-1) 16-12 in the gold medal game on Friday at the FIBA 3X3 U18 World Cup in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
The golden showing by the USA men was also achieved by the USA women, marking the first time the same nation had swept the men’s and women’s World Cup titles in the same year. Argentina defeated Russia 21-18 to capture the bronze medal.
Members of the gold medalist USA Men’s 3x3 U18 World Cup Team included (Mater Dei H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.), (Prolific Prep/Chicago, Ill.), (Prior Lake H.S./Prior Lake, Minn.) and (Butler H.S./Butler, Pa.).
Garcia, who was selected MVP of the 2019 USA Basketball U18 National Championship in April, was named MVP of the FIBA 3X3 U18 World Cup.
Additionally, Burnett also claimed the silver medal in the FIBA 3X3 U18 World Cup Dunk Contest that was contested Friday before the gold medal game.
“Words can’t express it right now,” admitted Garcia when asked what he was feeling after winning the USA’s first gold medal in 3x3 U18 World Cup play. “We put in all this work and we’ve been away from our families for almost three weeks now, this is just surreal, surreal.
“This has been a great experience,” added Garcia.
Rallying after Turkey jumped out to a 4-0 lead, the USA finally got on the scoreboard thanks to a Garcia basket at 7:47. Scoring six straight points, four coming from Garcia, the USA led 6-4 with 6:21 to play. Turkey battled back and led 8-7, 9-8 and 10-9.
The turning point in the contest came with 1:52 to play when Burnett connected on a 2-point shot and was fouled. Making the free throw, Burnett’s three-point play pushed the U.S. ahead 12-10. Turkey cut the gap to one, 12-11, but Garcia was fouled and with Turkey over the foul limit, Garcia made his two free throw to increase the USA advantage to 14-11 with 1:21 to play. Turkey scored to make the score 14-12, but Askew scored, and fittingly Garcia scored the USA’s final points to seal the historic 16-12 win.
In an extremely physical semifinal game, the USA and Russia battled toe-to-toe. Falling behind 7-4, the U.S., behind two baskets from Burnett, tied the game 7-7 with 5:45 to play.
Russia held an 11-9 lead with 3:58 to go, but behind three points from Burnett and a score inside by Garcia, the USA took the lead for the first time in the game, 13-11. The two teams exchanged scores down the stretch and after a basket by Garcia the Americas led 16-15 with 35 seconds to play.
Following a block by Garcia, Russia retained possession after the ball rolled out of bounds with 7.5 seconds left in regulation. Russia then forced overtime with 2.3 seconds to play after Danila Chikarev scored on a drive.
Headed into overtime where the first team to score two points wins, Russia struck first to take a 17-16 lead. But Burnett scored for the U.S. to deadlock the score, and following a crucial defensive stop by the USA, Garcia scored the game winner on a drive and pull-up, short baseline jumper.
Garcia topped the USA scoring with seven points, Burnett added six, Askew tossed in four points and Morton score one point.
“I still have an unreal feeling, I’m lost for words right now, because we haven’t made it to the finals since 2012,” said Garcia about his game-winning basket that propelled the USA into the gold medal game. “Me and this group came in a couple of weeks ago and we just started working out together. These are my brothers. It just felt great doing this with them.”
Facing Italy in the quarterfinals game, the Americans withstood a one-man scoring effort by Italy’s Matteo Italo Picarelli and battled its way to a 19-12 win.
While Italy would rely on Picarelliwho finished with 11 of Italy’s 12 points, the USA’s balanced effort proved the difference. Burnett topped the USA’s scoring effort with 10 points, while Askew was credited with four points, Morton three points and Garcia two points.
The USA owned a 9-8 advantage with 4:05 to play, Burnett and Morton scored to up the USA lead to 11-8. Picarelli connected on a 2-pointer to cut the lead to 11-10, but Burnett scored twice and Garcia add a point as the USA upped its lead to 14-10 with 1:24 to play. Leading 15-11, Burnett helped seal the victory the USA’s final four points of the 19-12 win.
The FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cup has been held on an annual basis since 2011, except the years of the Summer Youth Olympic Games (2010, 2014, 2018). Twenty men’s and 20 women’s teams are competing in the 2019 event.
Including results from the 2010 Youth Olympic Games, which was a 3x3 U18 competition, and results from the six FIBA 3x3 U18 World Cups held between 2011-2017, the USA men are 40-15 all-time and earned the silver medal in 2012 and placed 4th in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
With the inclusion of 3X3 in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, fans will see the launch of a new basketball discipline in Olympic competition. The exciting and fast-paced game officially was unveiled at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games.
Played on a half court with a 10-minute clock, and a 12-second shot clock, the first team to 21 points, or the team in the lead at the end of regulation, is the winner.