Dec. 15, 2009
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - After capturing the gold medal in New Zealand this summer, the USA Men's U19 World Championship Team, featuring Washington State sophomores DeAngelo Casto and Klay Thompson, has been named the 2009 USA Basketball Team of the Year, the organization announced this week.
Led by the Pittsburgh head coach Jamie Dixon, the USA U19 squad compiled a perfect 9-0 record July 2-12 in Auckland, New Zealand, ending an 18-year gold medal drought for USA Basketball in the U19 Worlds. Dixon was assisted by collegiate head coaches Chris Lowery of Southern Illinois University and Matt Painter of Purdue University.
"Our squad embodied a true team," said Dixon, who was also named the 2009 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year. "We didn't have the best player in the tournament or maybe even the best one through five players, but we definitely had the best one through 12. We won with our depth and teamwork. We were also fortunate to have a three-man head coaching staff with Chris Lowery and Matt Painter."
Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) was instrumental in USA capturing the Gold Medal, averaging 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in the team's nine games. He scored nine or more points six times, including 10 points in the championship game, an 88-80 victory over Greece (July 12). Casto (Spokane, Wash.) played in four games at the World Championships with USA before injuring his knee, averaging 6.2 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game. He reached double-figures in the opening game, with 10 points in a 106-55 victory over Iran (July 2).
USA Basketball will submit the USA U19 squad for the U.S. Olympic Committee's 2009 Team of the Year award, which is expected to be announced by the USOC in January.
"The 2009 USA Men's U19 World Championship Team was impressive on and off the court this past summer," said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO. "The team represented USA Basketball in the best way possible and truly played up to its potential. Congratulations to all of the players and coaches. They certainly deserve this recognition."
The USA team, which averaged 88.2 points per game and defeated opponents by 22.2 points per game in the 2009 U19 Worlds, began its journey with team trials, June 16-18 in Colorado Springs, Colo. Including scrimmages and trials, the USA had just 14 days to train prior to the U19 World Championship.
Following trials, 12 players were selected as members of the 2009 USA U19 Word Championship Team, as Casto and Thompson were joined by Seth Curry (Duke/Charlotte, N.C.), Ashton Gibbs (Pittsburgh/Scotch Plains, N.J.), Gordon Hayward (Butler/Brownsburg, Ind.), Shelvin Mack (Butler/Lexington, Ky.), Darius Miller (Kentucky/Maysville, Ky.), Arnett Moultrie (UTEP/Memphis, Tenn.), John Shurna (Northwestern/Glen Ellyn, Ill.), Tyshawn Taylor (Kansas/Jersey City, N.J.), Howard Thompkins (Georgia/Lithonia, Ga.) and Terrico White (Mississippi/Memphis, Tenn.).
The USA opened the U19 Worlds with a 106-55 win over Iran on July 2, next posted a 71-55 victory over France and then closed preliminary play with a 112-55 drubbing of Egypt. In the second round, the U.S. defeated Greece 85-69, Puerto Rico 82-61 and Lithuania 76-69 to advance to the medal round quarterfinals as a No. 1 seed. The USA claimed a 93-73 win over Canada on July 10, to advance to the semifinals, where it fought off Croatia for an 81-77 win. In the gold medal game on July 12, which featured a rematch with Greece, the U.S. recorded an 88-80 victory to finish undefeated and claim the U19 World Championship title.
Among the 16 teams, the USA finished ranked No. 1 in scoring offense, scoring margin, field goals made (204), 3-point field goals made (84), 3-point field goals attempted (238) and fewest turnovers per game (12.9). The U.S. defense limited its foes to just 66.0 points per contest and a frigid 38.2 percent shooting from the field.
The U.S. squad set single-game USA U19 World Championship team records for 3-point field goals made (14) and attempted (37) and most blocked shots (12), while an individual game mark was tied by Hayward and Shurna for blocked shots (four) and Thompson set a USA individual competition high for 3-point percentage (.516).
The 2009 squad also established USA U19 competition records for 3-point field goals made and attempted, free throws attempted (239), assists (145) and blocked shots (58).
The 2009 announcement marks the 14th time USA Basketball has presented the Team of the Year Award. The honor has been earned by the historic 1996 USA Women's National Team/Olympic Team; 1997 USA Women's Junior World Championship Team; 1998 and 2002 USA Women's World Championship squads; 1999 USA Men's Tournament of the Americas Team; 2000 and 2004 USA Women's Senior National/Olympic teams; the 2001 USA World Championship For Young Men Team; the 2003 USA World Championship for Young Women Team; the 2005 USA U19 World Championship for Women Team; the 2006 Men's Senior National Team; the 2007 USA Men's Senior National Team and USA Women's National Team; and the 2008 U.S. Men's and Women's Olympic Teams.