The FIBA U19 World Championship is set to get under way Thursday from Prague, Czech Republic, and University of Arizona incoming freshman Aaron Gordon and his U.S. teammates will begin their quest for the country’s second gold in the last three editions of the tournament.
The U.S. opens play against the Ivory Coast on Thursday, followed by games against China and Russia on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Each of the three preliminary contests is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. MST. Second-round play is slated to start on July 1, with the quarters on July 5, semis on July 6 and finals on July 7.
A two-time Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball and the MVP of the 2013 McDonald’s All-American Game, Gordon was one of two incoming freshmen selected to the 12-player U.S. U19 World Championship roster by head coach Billy Donovan. He averaged 21.6 points, 15.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game as a senior to lead Archbishop Mitty to a runner-up finish in the CIF Open Division championship.
“We’re proud of Aaron for making the U19 National Team,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said when the team was named earlier this month. “It’s quite an accomplishment to play for your country and compete for a gold medal. I have no doubt that this experience will be invaluable for Aaron as he transitions from high school to college basketball here at UA.”
The San Jose native will take to the floor in Prague with a wealth of USA Basketball experience already under his belt. In 2011, he was key component of the USA U16 National Team that captured the FIBA Americas Championship gold medal, starting all five games and averaging team highs of 17.0 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game. His rebounding average led entire tournament, and his scoring output ranked fourth among all players.
Gordon was named to the 2011-12 USA Developmental National Team and participated in the 2013 USA Basketball Hoop Summit.
In six games on the international stage, Gordon owns averages of 15.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.7 blocks per contest. He shot 65.6 percent (44-of-67) from the floor in those games.
A gold medal for the U.S. in Prague would be the country’s second in its last three trips to the U19 World Championship, but also just its second in more than a two-decade span. The 2009 USA squad made it to the top of the podium in Auckland, New Zealand, to break an American U19 gold-medal drought that stretched back to 1991.More information on the FIBA U19 World Championship, including broadcast information, can be found at prague2013.fiba.com.