Chalk up another gold medal for USA in men’s youth basketball.
The Americans beat Argentina, 94-48, Saturday in the gold medal game of the FIBA Americas U16 championship in Uruguay.
Josh Jackson led the way with 16 points, Jayson Tatum had 14, Seventh Woods had 12 and Ivan Rabb posted a double-double of 10 points and 11 boards.
“We knew we had to come out a little stronger tonight and our pressure just really took it to them,” USA coach Don Showalter told SNY.tv by phone from Uruguay. “Our pressure just changed the game.”
Malik Newman, a 6-foot-4 guard from Jackson (MS) Calloway, was named MVP of the tournament after putting up nine points and four assists in the final.
“It was a really good feeling,” Newman told SNY.tv. “I really wasn’t expecting it, but I kind of was. To win the gold and get the MVP, that’s a really good feeling.”
“He’s been really phenomenal the whole tournament, just as far as his overall leadership,” Showalter said of Newman. “He does more things than just score for us as well.”
As far as his recruitment, the 2015 guard reportedly holds offers from a slew of schools, including Baylor, Georgetown, Memphis, Ole Miss and N.C. State, but says he’s not even thinking about college.
“To be honest, I’m not considering no one right now,” Newman said. “I don’t really watch college basketball. I don’t even watch the NBA. I don’t watch basketball, period.”
Rabb, a 6-10 forward from Oakland Bishop O’Dowd, has also been instrumental in Team USA’s win.
“It was real exciting, especially when they put the gold medal finally around my neck,” he told SNY.tv. “I was really happy to just hold it up and embrace it and look at it and observe it.”
He said the team hopes to keep the core together next year for the U17 World Championship and beyond.
“Yes, of course, but we know there’s going to be changes probably, but next year we all want it to be better,” Raab said. “Next year we all want to be prepared and show that we got better.”
He said he received several text messages from other schools while in Uruguay but cannot read them at the moment.
“I believe some schools texted me today, but I wasn’t able to look at them because I don’t have service down here,” he said. “But when I get back to the United States, I’m sure I’ll have some messages from some coaches.”
And a gold medal to go along with it.
**For more stories on the USA U19 & U16 teams, click here.
Photo: USA Basketball