The United States of America have the best U19 basketball players in the world for the second straight tournament, winning the gold medal on Sunday 83-81 against France in Riga, Latvia. The Americans went 7-0 in the tournament, earning wins over Australia, Mali and Turkey in the group stage, followed by wins over Korea, Senegal, Canada and the aforementioned French in the knockout rounds.
Certainly of note to readers of this blog, Wisconsin Badgers sophomore, and native of La Crosse, Jonathan Davis was one of the players to help Team USA make their undefeated run through the tournament.
Per UWBadgers.com, Davis became the first Badger to win a gold medal with USA Basketball since Sam Dekker did so as part of the USA U18 national team in the 2012 FIBA Americas Championship.
While Davis didn’t have much of an impact in the championship game on Sunday (he only played 2:24 minutes, scoring one point and grabbing one rebound) he was an important rotational piece for Jamie Dixon’s squad. Over the seven games, Davis averaged 4.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg and 1.4 apg in 12.4 minutes per game. He also had six steals, one block and only three turnovers, but did struggle with fouls, averaging two per game while fouling out against Australia.
Davis’ best performance came against Korea in the round of 16 where he scored nine points (3-of-4 from the field, 1-of-2 from three, 2-of-2 from the line), dished out five assists, had three rebounds and two steals. He shot 5-of-14 (35.7%) from deep in the tournament, but struggled inside the arc (4-of-14) which left his overall shooting percentage at 32.1. He was also 6-of-9 from the charity stripe.
Davis will be one of the leaders of this year’s young and unproven Wisconsin squad and hopefully this wonderful experience will help him greatly when he returns to Madison.