COLORADO SPRINGS – Capturing the FIBA U19 World Championship gold medal this past summer in Prague, Czech Republic, USA Basketball today named its 2013 USA Men’s U19 World Championship Team as the 2013 USA Basketball Team of the Year. Duke's Rasheed Sulaimon averaged 8.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game with a team-high 15 three-point field goals while starting eight of nine games.
Sulaimon was also joined on the team by two members of Duke's 2014 recruiting class. Jahlil Okafor (Whitney Young H.S.) was second on the team in scoring (10.8 ppg.) and third in rebounds (4.8 rpg.), while shooting 77.2 percent (44-of-57) from the field. Justise Winslow (St. Johns H.S.) averaged 9.8 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 52.3 percent (34-of-65) from the field and getting to the free throw line a team-high 29 times (20-of-29, .690).
Utilizing its superior athleticism and depth, the USA forced the tempo and rode its defense to an unblemished 9-0 record. The finish was just the USA's third gold medal in the FIBA U19/Junior World Championship since 1991, but its second since 2009.
“I think one thing about this team was the style of play was totally different than what a lot of those teams did,” said USA head coach Billy Donovan. “A lot of those teams were not pressing, they were in the half court. They were really good execution teams, and they were great 3-point shooting teams, so we thought going into it that we weren’t going to be able to out-execute these other teams, especially with a limited amount of practice.
“What we needed to do was use our depth, and in every single game we used all twelve guys. We needed to press, try and create turnovers, get to the offensive glass, rebound and those kinds of things. Our guys, who were a joy to coach, had really good motors, good energy, and I think winning to them was most important.”
The USA Basketball Board of Directors is responsible for selecting USA Basketball’s annual coach, player and team of the year awards.
“The 2013 men’s U19 team played with passion, composure and discipline, and USA Basketball is proud to recognize its accomplishments,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO/Executive Director. “Playing in a very challenging world championship, the players and the coaching staff quickly gelled into a team that demonstrated great sportsmanship, dedication and determination.”
Joining the Duke trio on the 12-man USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team roster was: Michael Frazier (Florida); Aaron Gordon (Arizona); Montrezl Harrell (Louisville); Elfrid Payton (Louisiana); James Robinson (Pittsburgh); Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State); Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee); Mike Tobey (Virginia); and Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington). Jerami Grant (Syracuse) originally was selected to the USA U19 World Championship Team but was unable to compete after he was diagnosed with mononucleosis.
Donovan returned to coach the 2013 squad after qualifying the USA for the U19 World Championship by leading the U.S. to a 5-0 mark and the gold medal at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Also returning was assistant coach Shaka Smart (VCU), while former USA Basketball player and successful collegiate coach Tony Bennett (University of Virginia) served as the other assistant coach.
Earning wins over its nine opponents by an average margin of 39.6 points per game, the USA’s slimmest margin of victory during the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, which was played June 27-July 7, was a nine-point win (71-62) against Serbia on July 3.
The Americans’ opened preliminary play with impressive victories over Ivory Coast (88-29), China (113-57) and Russia (115-47). In the second round, the U.S. drubbed Brazil 91-66, routed Australia 94-51 and persevered past Serbia 71-62. Dropping Canada 109-67 in the quarterfinals, the USA handed Lithuania a 100-60 loss in the semis and then dominated the second half of its gold-medal game against Serbia to earn an 82-68 win.
While the USA relied on full-court defensive pressure that forced opponents into 22.0 turnovers per game, Gordon was named MVP of the tournament, and Okafor joined him on the five-member all-tournament team.
“Our collective talent level made us a special team,” Gordon said. “Even when we subbed off the bench, the talent level never dropped off. We just overwhelmed with athleticism, size and talent, which made it nearly impossible for other teams to match up.”
Among the 16-team field, the USA led the tournament in 12 different statistical categories, including scoring (95.9 ppg.), scoring defense (56.3 ppg.), scoring margin (+39.6), field goal percentage (.518), field goal percentage defense (.353), rebounds averaged (48.8), rebound defense (29.2), rebounding margin (+19.6), steals (122) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.2).
The U.S. team also produced tournament single-game highs for points (115) and field goals made (46) versus Russia on June 29, field goal percentage (.595) versus Lithuania on July 3 and steals (23) and turnovers forced (32) against China on June 28.
The 2013 squad set five U.S. men’s U19 competition records in an event that dates back to 1979. This past summer’s team set highs for points (863), rebounds (439), field goals made (355), field goals attempted (685) and rebounds averaged (48.8).
This year’s announcement marks the 18th time USA Basketball has presented the Team of the Year Award, which first was earned in 1996 by the historic USA Women’s National/Olympic Team.
The honor also has been earned by the 2008 and 2012 U.S. Men’s and Women’s Olympic Teams; the 2011 USA Women’s U19 World Championship Team; the 2010 USA Men’s and Women’s FIBA World Championship Teams; the 2009 USA Men’s U19 World Championship Team; the 2007 USA Men’s Senior National Team and USA Women’s National Team; the 2006 Men’s Senior National Team; the 2005 USA Women’s FIBA U19 World Championship Team; 2000 and 2004 USA Women’s Senior National/Olympic teams; the 2003 USA World Championship for Young Women Team; the 1998 and 2002 USA Women’s World Championship squads; the 2001 USA World Championship For Young Men Team; 1999 USA Men’s Tournament of the Americas Team; and the 1997 USA Women’s Junior World Championship Team.
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball, chaired by Jerry Colangelo, is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
During the 2009-12 quadrennium, 1,273 male and female players and 235 coaches participated in USA Basketball, including USA Basketball teams and trials, and USA Basketball 3x3 FIBA championships.
USA Basketball men's and women's teams between 2009-12 compiled an impressive 262-35 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the Pan American Games, the World University Games, the Nike Hoop Summit and in exhibition games.
USA teams are the current men's and women's champions in the Olympics; men's and women's FIBA World Championships (Basketball World Cup); men’s and women’s FIBA U19 and U17 World Championships; men's and women's U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships; the FIBA 3x3 Women's World Championship; and the FIBA 3x3 Women's U18 World Championship. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world-ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.