USA Ready to Compete for Sixth-Straight FIBA U18 Men’s Title
2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship | June 6-12 | Tijuana, Mexico
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Ahead of the 2022 FIBA U18 Americas Championship, which starts Monday, June 6, the USA Basketball U18 Men’s National Team has eyes on its sixth-straight gold medal dating back to 2010.
Coached by Tad Boyle (University of Colorado), Leon Rice (Boise State University) and Mike Boynton Jr. (Oklahoma State University), the USA is eager to compete in Tijuana, Mexico, following a week of training camp in Houston.
The USA will play three preliminary games that feature matchups with the Dominican Republic on Monday, Ecuador on June 7 and Puerto Rico on June 8, before the quarterfinals begin Friday.
“Everybody who’s here is blessed with this opportunity,” Boyle said. “It’s something that we don’t take lightly. We just want to put the team first and win a gold medal.”
The Dominican Republic comes into the competition ranked 23rd in the world, according to FIBA Basketball. In FIBA Americas U18 competition, the D.R. holds a bronze medal thanks to its efforts in the 2014 tournament.
The USA holds a 3-0 record against the Dominican Republic, having most recently met in 2018.
“There will be some jitters on both sides,” Boyle said of the opening matchup. “We have to play to our strengths. We want to control the things that we can control, which are our energy, effort, attitude and our togetherness.”
On Tuesday, the USA plays Ecuador, which recently finished third in the 2022 South American U18 Championship. Adding intrigue to the matchup with Ecuador, the teams’ only prior meeting was in the 2018 quarterfinals. Led by Quentin Grimes, the USA won 132-55 en route to its fifth-straight U18 gold medal.
Wrapping up Group B play, the USA has a looming matchup with 12th-ranked Puerto Rico on Wednesday. In 2018, Puerto Rico lost the bronze-medal game to Argentina.
USA: Players to Watch
Kel’el Ware, a versatile 7-footer committed to Oregon, is ranked eighth in ESPN’s Top 100, bringing imposing size to the center position. Jared McCain, a Duke University commit, brings 3-point proficiency at shooting guard. Mark Armstrong and Cam Whitmore will play together in Mexico before they team up at Villanova next year. Anthony Black, along with Ware and Whitmore, was a member of the 2022 USA Nike Hoop Summit squad.
Despite high-profile names on the roster, the strength of the U.S. team lies in its depth.
“Depending on the game, it could be any one of our 12 players,” Boyle said of players fans should watch for. “We have a lot of talent, athleticism and length. From my standpoint, I have confidence in all 12 of the guys that made this roster. On any given night, it can be any player.”
U18 History and Accomplishments
In U18 competition, USA Basketball owns nine of the 11 gold medals and has an overall 59-2 record. The only other teams to win gold are Argentina in 2008 and Puerto Rico in 2002.
The USA took home a silver medal in the 2008 competition and a bronze medal in 2002.
The top four teams in the FIBA U18 Americas Championship earn a qualifying berth to the 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup.