Well, that was easy.
Over the course of four games in as many days, the United States cruised to the FIBA Americas U-18 championship. An American squad loaded with recent prep graduates and top rising seniors dumped Canada in the final, 113-79, a blowout of more than 30 points that was the closest contest the Americans had in the entire tournament nonetheless.
The squad of top teens was coached by Billy Donovan, who may be hoping to gain a Karl Towns-to-Kentucky-esque recruiting advantage for the tournament’s uncommitted stars. In the final showdown Donovan’s troops were paced by future Dukie Justise Winslow. Jalen Brunson, who will be a senior at Stevenson High in suburban Chicago, was the highest American scorer among the high school class of 2015, chipping in with 12 points and six assists.
One of Brunson’s rivals in the recruiting rankings led Canada, with Findlay Prep star Dillon Brooks scoring an impressive 27 points and eight rebounds against an uber-talented American front line.
Future Arizona star Stanley Johnson (whose son to be coach, Sean Miller, served as one of Donovan’s assistants), recently of Mater Dei, was named the MVP of the tournament, though he rightly genuflected credit for the award to the rest of the American team. Based on how overpowering they were, that’s a fair assessment.
“It’s a team honor, really,” Johnson said from the tournament in Colorado Springs. “Anybody on the team could have gotten it; what’s more important is winning the gold medal and all of us playing hard to get it.”