Title: Canada Shows Basketball World It’s Ready for Primetime
Date: July 10, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about Canada’s Under-19 men winning the country’s first FIBA or Olympic gold medal ever and what it means to the Canada Basketball program.
In retrospect, what was perhaps the greatest tournament in Canadian basketball history came down to about three minutes of play.
Initially 20-point underdogs in Saturday’s FIBA Under-19 World Cup semifinal, Canada held a 10-point lead over the juggernaut USA Basketball program at that point. It was as good a place as any team up against the US could have hoped to be—the Americans had not lost a single game in a major FIBA or Olympic tournament since 2011, and here was Canada, a handful of possessions from pulling off an enormous upset.
To that point, Canada had been led by wunderkind R.J. Barrett, the burgeoning mega-prospect who just turned 17 and won’t be on the NBA Draft radar until 2020 unless he reclassifies at some point. Playing against much older competition, Barrett was masterful, grabbing 13 rebounds and dishing five assists to go along with his 38 points, the most scored in this tournament since 2009.
Barrett, the tournament’s best player, had just fouled out, though.