Independence Day provided a reminder to check up on the USA U-19 world championship team, which enjoyed hamburgers and hot dogs at a picnic hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Latvia the other day while racking up wins.
The Americans, featuring some of the nation's top sophomore-to-be, are currently undefeated in the FIBA tournament after downing Lithuania in overtime today behind 35 points from UConn's Jeremy Lamb. It was sweet revenge in some sense since Lithuania had routed Team USA in an exhibition last week 108-75.
The event provides a preview for what to expect from some top college players, including some who are playing on the other international squads. Here are some quick observations:
Creighton's Doug McDermott must be making his dad proud. The son of Bluejays coach Greg McDermott, Doug is opening up some eyes averaging 12.2 points and 6.8 rebounds. Those are numbers he's accustomed to putting up in the Missouri Valley Conference, and now he's doing it on an international stage. He's also blogging on his experience, most recently reporting that his father and brother arrived in Latvia without their lost luggage. He helped dad get new clothes, which is a nice touch.
Florida's Patric Young is using the tournament to do a lot of growing up. He's averaging 9 points and 7.4 rebounds and learning a lot going up head-to-head against Lithuania's Jonas Valanciunas, who was the No. 5 overall pick in the NBA draft. After seeing Valanciunas dominate with 23 points and 11 rebounds in the exhibition game, Young didn't take it too well and vented on Twitter about Valanciunas' lottery pick status. Young had better things to say about his new rival after Team USA beat Lithuania today.
Boise State should be excited about incoming freshmen Anthony Drmic and Igor Hadziomerovic, who are playing for Australia. Drmic is the tournament's second-leading scorer behind Valanciunas, averaging 19 points and shooting 53 percent from beyond the arc. Here's video of Drmic going in for a breakaway dunk. Hadziomerovic is averaging 12.6 points. The Mountain West Conference had better be on the lookout for these two.
Canada features a couple intriguing players who haven't yet suited up in the college game, and it's interesting to look at their one game against the American team. Gonzaga signee Kevin Pangos struggled in the 29-point loss, as he was held scoreless and missed eight field goal attempts, including five 3-point tries. He had three rebounds, five assists and three turnovers. For the tournament, he's averaging 11.4 points per game. Canada also has 7-foot-4 Sim Bhullar, who is committed to Xavier for the class of 2012. He put up 15 points and seven rebounds, a line that just adds to the expectations for when he arrives.
Michigan's Tim Hardaway Jr. is ultra-athletic. Check out his alley-oop dunk from today's game.