NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – Going in to the FIBA U17 World Cup, De’Vion Harmon was told that bringing home the gold would be easier the second time around.
Harmon was a part of the U16 gold medal team last year.
But after helping the USA U17 National team knockoff France 95-52 last week in Argentina, Harmon said that notion is “absolutely not true at all.”
“No way,” Harmon said. “It was a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but we got it done. It was the perfect scenario for me headed into Peach Jam.”
It’s a sentiment shared by the handful of players at Peach Jam who are coming off the emotional high that accompanies capturing gold. Of the 12 players on USA Basketball’s U17 roster, eight play on the Nike circuit.
“It’s a great feeling winning the gold medal,” said Isaac Okoro, who played in the U17 team and is suiting up with AOT (Ga.) this week. “Just to be able to win for your country and now carry that over into Peach Jam is something I think will help me out a lot.”
Houston Hoops (Texas) guard Tyrese Maxey said that the biggest benefit from winning the gold is mentally.
Maxey was a part of the USA U18 National team that won the gold in Canada last month.
“It just gives you so much more confidence,” said Maxey, a Kentucky commit. “You beat the best players in the world who play different styles than you. It just makes you feel like you’re ready for anything.”
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY