After yesterday’s historic win in the semi-finals against the USA, Canada’s U19 National Team sealed the deal today, winning gold in a 19 point romp over Italy in Cairo.
It’s the first gold medal for any Canadian national team in an international competition since 1983, when the home team won the gold medal in Edmonton during the Summer Universiade.
Canada gave up the game’s first basket, but never trailed after that as they immediately answered with a 10-0 run. Italy couldn’t contain the transition game, and was thoroughly beaten down by the physicality of the Canadians on both the glass and in the paint.
Everything was working for the squad in this one, as each player hit their stride in the monumental victory. Tournament MVP R.J. Barrett once again led the way, as the future NBA wing struggled from the field, but did his damage from the line going 11/12 from the stripe, finishing with a double double of 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Abu Kigab (Also named a Tournament All-Star) showed his versatility with 12 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and a steal. Lindell Wigginton returned from injury and was a steady presence at the point with 11 points and three assists.
Nate Darling continued his sharp shooting ways. Prince Oduro and Amidou Bamba fluxed their muscles down low. Grant Shephard and Jordan Henry contributed off the bench.
Danilo Djurcic, Noah Kirkwood, Emanuel Miller and Anthony Longpre all had key moments during the journey to the top as well.
This was a massive step in the ongoing growth of Canadian basketball, and the rise ahould only continue. This team won gold without a ton of major players who had other obligations, including Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Simi Shittu, Ignas Brazdeikis, Lugentz Dort, and Oshae Brissett.
With all the talent in the pipeline, and the current talent at the NBA level, the sky is truly the limit for Canadian Basketball.
We’ve reached the Golden Age, and it’s just beginning.