Australia has put up an impressive effort but it wasn’t enough to take down the USA, falling 99-92 in the FIBA U17 World Championship game, taking a very respectable silver medal.
Dejan Vasiljevic was the high-man with 29 pts while Tom Wilson added 23 pts, 7 rbs & 6 asts.
Isaac Humphries, who proved to be one of the best players in the tournament, and Dejan Vasiljevic, who’s shooting picked up in the latter end of the tournament, were named to the FIBA U17 World Championship all-tournament team.
Australia opened up the game with a dream start, a 17-7 Aussie run forcing a US timeout. Vasiljevic was the hot man in the quarter, scoring 9 of his 29 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers. A late US run led by Ivan Rabb gave USA a 28-27 lead at the end of the quarter.
The 2nd quarter started with Humphries quickly picking up his 2nd and 3rd foul, sending him to the bench for the rest of the quarter. This fuelled an American run led by Malik Newman, who ended the half with an impressive 17 pts and 6 rbs. Tom Wilson and Kouat Noi were both extremely aggressive for Australia and it paid dividends with some good looks at the rim. Harry Froling once again hit a key 3-pointer at the end of the quarter as Australia trailed just 50-43 heading into the half.
Team captain Tom Wilson came alive in the 3rd quarter, showing a lot of effort on both ends of the floor. The dynamic guards from USA continued to utilise their speed and quickness to stifle the Aussie guards, Malik Newman continuing his dominance. Australia, however, managed to hang around, trailing just 74-64 heading into the 4th quarter.
Australia was able to stay in the game with some clutch 3-point shooting in the 4th quarter but USA’s athleticism proved to be too much as they won the game 99-92, taking the gold medal for the 3rd straight year.
Tom Wilson, the team captain, had his best performance of the tournament, posting 23 pts (7/14 FG), 6 pts & 7 rbs. He was a factor on both ends of the floor, coming alive in the 3rd quarter to keep Australia in the game.
Humphries, who has been Australia’s best player this tournament, had 8 pts (2/5 FG, 4/4 FT) and 6 rbs. With the 3-ball falling for Australia they didn’t go in to Humphries as often as they had been doing earlier in the tournament. The numbers he posted were still respectable, considering his impressive form all tournament.
USA’s Malik Newman was named the tournament MVP, posting 21 pts & 11 rbs in the Championship game. Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles had 15 pts apiece as the USA remains undefeated at the FIBA U17 World Championship.
This is, without doubt, one of the greatest Australian junior national teams to come through the ranks. They were able to compete with the powerhouse USA team, giving them a tough contest in the Championship game. Their ability to dominate inside the paint as well their stellar shooting from the perimeter provided a perfect balance, helping them advance all the way in this tournament. The squad should be extremely proud of their efforts and the positivity that has been generated amongst the Australian basketball community as a result of their success has been overwhelming.
Isaac Humphries was one of the tournaments most dominant players – averaging 18.9 ppg (58% FG, 83% FT), 11.6 rpg, 1.6 apg & 3.3 bpg – highlighted by his record-setting 41 pt effort against Canada. Humphries also led the tournament in efficiency with a staggering 25.6 EFFPG.
Dejan Vasiljevic struggled with his shooting at times but his confidence was never phased, having his best performance in the Championship game with a 29 pt effort. The 6’2 guard out of Melbourne averaged 17.4 ppg (36% FG, 37% 3pt, 80% FT), 6.6 rpg & 1.3 apg.
Tom Wilson impressed with 12.3ppg, 6.6 rpg & 1.3 apg in the tournament while Kouat Noi averaged 9.1 ppg & 4.3 rpg throughout the tournament.
A lot of credit should go to the coaching staff, led by NSW’s Mark Watkins, for their outstanding effort this tournament. Watkins managed to achieve his wish of returning to the Championship game against the USA, and his team surely did him proud.
The team at Pick and Roll and AUS BBALL Prospects would like to thank everyone who followed our coverage of this year’s U17 World Championship. We look forward to bringing you continuous coverage of Aussie hoops. A big thanks is also extended to the team at Basketball Australia for allowing us to use photos from the tournament.