USA Men's U19 World Cup Team Gets First Taste of International Basketball in Latvia
The USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team had quite the trip to make it to Riga, Latvia for its first exhibition matchup today against Australia. The USA men were delayed in Dallas to start the trip, forcing them to stay in Frankfurt, Germany, overnight and arriving in Latvia earlier today. Less than 24 hours after traveling 5,344 miles and landing in Riga, the USA took the court in a four-quarter scrimmage that saw the USA win both the first quarter (17-13) and third quarter (22-13) while dropping the second quarter (13-20) and fourth quarter (20-32).
All 12 players for the USA saw game action in this warm-up, with a minimum of seven minutes played each. Jaden Ivey (Purdue/Mishawaka, Ind.) made quick work leading the USA offense with 14 points on 6-of-9 (.667%) shooting from the field to go with two rebounds and one steal in just 13 minutes of action in the game. Caleb Furst (Blackhawk Christian School/Fort Wayne, Ind.) also scored in double figures, contributing 11 points six rebounds (team high three offensive rebounds), and one block in 17 minutes. Chet Holmgren also contributed 10 points, five rebounds, three assists and a team-high two blocks in the contest.
“I think it was an opportunity for us to learn and get better,” said USA head coach Jamie Dixon. “We showed moments, but we weren’t quite ready to play and execute the way we needed to, so I think it was a really good lesson for us. We were trying to prepare and get ready, but our flights got messed up, we got in here late and flew in today. So, we were more concerned with ourselves and we didn’t perform very well.”
“We obviously know this is a work in progress, and we need to spend more time together and understand how to play together,” said Dixon. “Understanding and executing has to be a constant no matter the situation.”
The U.S. owned a 45-39 rebounding advantage and forced Australia into 15 turnovers that were converted into nine points for the USA. The U.S. also outscored Australia in the paint (46-28), in second chance points (16-9) and off the bench (40-20).
The second and final exhibition matchup slated for the USA is on Thursday, July 1, at 5:15 a.m. The USA is seeking its fourth gold medal in the last five FIBA U19 World Cups at the July 3-11 FIBA U19 World Cup in Riga.
The USA’s assistant coaches are Jerod Haase (Stanford) and James Jones (Yale).
FIBA World Cup
Featuring U19 teams from 16 nations, the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup is scheduled to be held July 3-11 in Riga and Daugavpils, Latvia. In addition to the USA and host Latvia, teams that will take part in this summer’s U19 World Cup include Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Japan, Lithuania, Mali, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Spain and Turkey.
The USA was drawn into Group D, alongside Australia, Mali and Turkey for the July 3-6 FIBA U19 World Cup preliminary round. The USA will open play against Turkey on July 3, followed by Mali on July 4 and close preliminary play against Australia on July 6.
Reigning FIBA U19 World Cup gold medalist, USA men’s teams have won seven gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal while compiling an 98-14 overall record in U19 World Cup play since the event was launched in 1979. Even more impressive, the USA has won four of the past six U19 golds since 2009.