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Kareem Maddox

USA 3x3 Team Claims America’s First FIBA 3x3 World Cup Gold Medal

  • Date:
    Jun 23, 2019

The USA (7-0) won its first FIBA 3x3 World Cup gold medal after securing a dominating 22-8 rout of Poland (5-2) in the semifinal and a hard-fought 18-14 defensive battle over Latvia (5-2) in the gold medal game on Sunday evening in Amsterdam.

The gold medal marked the USA’s second 3x3 World Cup medal in five tries after having claimed silver at the 2016 3x3 World Cup. The USA is now 23-9 overall in 3x3 World Cup play.

“It’s a heck of a feeling,” said tournament MVP Robbie Hummel (Purdue/Valparaiso, Ind.), who scored a tournament third-best 46 points and had 31 rebounds over the seven games. “It was a great tournament and the fans were outstanding. Latvia is a heck of a team. We see those guys on the (3x3) circuit. They’re disciplined, they’re talented. So, (my) hat’s off to them. They were outstanding all week.

“It’s pretty surreal,” he added. “For our team to have come together, Kareem (Maddox), Damon (Huffman) and I have played a good amount with each other during the summer, but Canyon (Barry) is very new. I’m so proud of everybody on this team. I think anybody could have been named MVP. We had contributions from everybody. Defensively I thought we were awesome. We were a complete team, a solid unit on both ends of the floor.”

Rounding out the USA gold medalists are Canyon Barry (Iowa Wolves/Florida/Colorado Springs, Colo.), who ranked fifth among all participants with 39 points; Damon Huffman (Brown/Petoskey, Mich.), who ranked 12th with 32 points; and Kareem Maddox (Princeton/Los Angeles, Calif), who led the USA with 42 rebounds and whose 24 points ranked 27th among the 80 participants.

“We’ve played in all these tournaments and you have ups and downs and then you have something as special as this in the 3x3 World Cup,” said Huffman, who was on the 2017 USA 3x3 World Cup Team that finished in seventh place. “The way that we played over the course of five days, it absolutely feels amazing. I couldn’t be happier for the way that we played and how we carried ourselves.”

Over the seven games, the USA outscored its opponents 20.1 to 11.0 points a game and owned a 3.2 average rebounding advantage after hauling in 13.9 to 9.9 rebounds per game. The USA also finished the tournament shooting 50.3% (89-177 FGs) from the field and 36.8% (35-95 2pt FGs) from 2-point, while its defense limited opponents to 32.4% (55-170 FGs) of their field goal attempts and an icy 16.7% (13-78 2pt FGs) from afar.

“It feels earned,” said Maddox. “It feels like we definitely earned the gold medal. Those are the best 3x3 teams in the world and we felt like we did exactly what we said we were going to do, exactly what we planned to do and what we prepared to do. We are really pleased with the results.

“We made defense our keystone and we let the guys who are talented on offense do their thing,” Maddox added. “That was a winning recipe. That was the winning formula.”

 “It’s surreal,” said Barry. “It’s so unbelievable. It feels like these past few weeks have blown by. I only played with these guys once in France (in a pre-3x3 World Cup tournament) before the 3x3 World Cup. But we managed to come together and play great basketball. It’s an absolute honor to represent the United States of America and to be able to bring the gold back home to the USA.”

Poland got 13 points from Michael Hicks, who scored a tournament-high 71 points, including the game’s final four points with 3.2 seconds remaining on the clock, in a 18-15 bronze medal victory over Serbia (4-3). It was Poland’s first FIBA 3x3 World Cup medal of any kind.

Joining Hummel on the all-tournament team were Hicks and Latvia’s Kārlis Lasmanis.

Latvia also stood on the medal podium for the first time in 3x3 World Cup history.

The three medal winning teams earned an automatic berth to the 2020 FIBA 3x3 Olympic Qualifying Tournament that will be held next spring (dates and site TBD), from which the top three of the 20 competing teams will qualify for the 2020 Olympics.

Latvia scored first in the gold medal game and led 2-1 after 2:33 of play. Huffman, who finished with a game-high eight points, drained a pair of 2s to give the U.S. a lead it would never relinquish.

Latvia closed to 5-3, but Maddox netted three points in a 4-0 run to up the USA’s lead to six, 9-3. But the teams continued to battle and an open dunk by Lasmanis with 3:46 to play pulled his side to within three points, 12-9.

The Americans pushed their lead to 16-11 with 1:21 left on the clock, but Latvia countered with a 2 11 seconds later and it was again a 3-point game.

Neither team was able to score over the next minute and after Hummel missed a long ball with the shot clock expiring, Maddox was there for the rebound and passed it back to Hummel. Having no choice but to foul and stop the clock, Latvia sent Hummel to the line. He calmly swished in the USA’s final two points with 11.4 seconds remaining and the gold medal virtually in hand.

With six fouls against them, the Americans allowed Latvia an easy path to the basket for the final point of the game and came away with the 18-14 golden victory.

“It was a team deal,” said Hummel. “Everybody contributed so much. Kareem in the final was the man on the boards, Damon made some big-time shots and Canyon played better and better as the tournament went on. This is a guy who’s been playing 3x3 for about three weeks. So, he really grew and showed what he can be. He was outstanding. But it was just an awesome team win for all of us.”

In addition to Huffman, who hit 3-of-5 from 2-point, Maddox scored five points and hauled in a game-best seven rebounds, Hummel had four points and five boards and Barry chipped in one point.

The USA held Latvia to just 31% (9-29 FGs) shooting from the field and a frigid 17.6% (3-17 2pt FGs) from 2-point, while hitting 40% (10-25 FGs) of its shots from the floor and 30.8% (4-13 2pt FGs) from 2-point.

In the semifinal against Poland, Huffman got a pass from Maddox and drained the first of nine USA 2-pointers in the game with 30 seconds expired on the clock.

Hicks, who entered the game averaging 10.4 points a game, scored his team’s first point 38 seconds later, but from there the USA was off and running.

Reeling off an astounding 16-straight points, including 12 from beyond the arc, with 4:21 to play the U.S. held an insurmountable 18-1 lead.

Hicks scored five of his team’s seven points in a 7-2 Polish spurt, but it was too little, too late as Hummel buried a 2 with 2:49 on the clock, the sixth-fastest game in the tournament, to give the USA its 22-8 semifinal victory.

“We definitely had to concentrate on Mike,” said Maddox. “He’s the leading scorer of this tournament so far. But we locked in and we were able to do it on the final game of the competition.”

Barry led the U.S. against Poland with seven points, Huffman and Hummel each scored six points and Maddox contributed three points.

The USA outrebounded Poland 14-6 and shot 65% (13-20 FGs) from the field and a sizzling 60% (9-15 2pt FGs) from behind the arc, while holding the Europeans to 25% (6-24 FGs) shooting overall.

In the women’s tournament, China (7-0) earned the gold medal with a 19-13 win over Hungary (5-2) and France (6-1) took home the bronze medal after defeating Australia (4-3) 21-9.

Latvia's Edgars Krumins won gold in the shoot-out contest, Ukraine's Stanislav Tymofeienko earned the silver and Italy's Marcella Filippi took the bronze medal.

In the skills contest, France's Marie-Eve Paget won gold, Italy's Rae Lin D'Alie collected the silver and Iran's Abdolvand Shadi took home the bronze medal.

The dunk contest gold medal went to Ukraine's Vadim 'Miller' Poddubchenko, the silver medal was earned by Poland's Piotr Grabowski and Latvia's Kristaps Dargais finished third and collected bronze.

Olympic fans will see the launch of a new basketball discipline with the inclusion of 3x3 in 2020. The exciting and fast-paced game officially was unveiled in international competition at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games and has since become a fan favorite at FIBA 3x3 World Cup events.

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. The non-stop action of 3x3 will ensure it is one of the hottest tickets in Tokyo.

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