Vern Carey Jr. scored 19 points and had five rebounds and four assists to lead the 2017 USA Basketball Men’s U16 National Team to a 111-60 victory against Canada and a fifth consecutive FIBA Americas U16 gold medal on Sunday night in Formosa, Argentina.
Team USA went 5-0 during the event and posted lopsided margins throughout. Canada was the only team to lead in a game and the advantage lasted less than three minutes. That lead came at 6-3; the U.S. would take a 7-6 edge and never trail thanks to an 11-0 run. The Americans led 26-10 in the final moments of the first quarter.
Carey, from University School in Florida, was named the tournament MVP.
“It felt great, to be honest, because only one person gets that in the whole tournament,” he said. “I’m pretty happy. I didn’t think I would get it at all. I felt like I only had one really good game and that was tonight, so I wasn’t even thinking about it.”
Team USA shot 60 percent from the field. Three players scored 13 points apiece: Jalen Green (San Joaquin Memorial/Fresno, Calif.), De’Vion Harmon (John Guyer/Corinth, Texas) and Jeremy Roach (Paul VI Catholic/Leesburg, Va.). Zion Harmon (Bowling Green High, Ky.) scored 12 points and had six assists; and Scottie Barnes (Cardinal Newman H.S./Welllington, Fla.) added 10 points.
Along with its five gold medals, Team USA is now 25-0 in FIBA Americas U16 Championship action with 20 games of 100 of more points.
“It never gets old,” said coach Don Showalter, who has directed all five of USA Basketball’s U16 National Teams. “We had a great game plan. (USA assistant coaches) Scott Fitch and Stan Waterman did a fantastic job on the scout. Our kids just executed it to perfection, and I think it showed in the way we started out tonight.”
The U.S. team scored 563 points in the tournament — just missing the USA U16 record of 565 points set in 2009, but set a program record for field goal percentage at .568 and free throw percentage at .704.
“It feels amazing,” added De’Vion Harmon. “All the work we put in since June 1, 25 practices, we stayed locked in, we stayed with coach Show’s things he had us do. Coach Fitch and coach Waterman, they just knew what to do.
“This is an amazing feeling, and I can’t ever take this for granted. We all etched our names in USA Basketball history with the U16 gold medal. I couldn’t be happier.”