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FIBA

Andrew Nembhard: Harder, better, faster, stronger

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Andrew Nembhard caught a pass on the left wing at the Meridian Centre in St. Catharines, Ont., one day before the FIBA U18 Americas tournament was set to begin, and calmly drilled a three.

His squad ran the play three times more, and he launched daggers from the same spot.

Money.

Bucket.

Miss.

The opposing squad took the ball and played until it missed a shot.

Then Nembhard, a wily veteran at 18 and captain of Team Canada, took over again.

He was, in the brief stretches open to media, exactly what a captain should be: assertive on offence, tenacious on defence, level-headed throughout.

Nembhard is quiet but confident and well-spoken, a five-star recruit known as much for the strength of his character as for his impressive skill set.

This is exactly the kind of role he ought to be in, guiding an elite team as it tries to qualify for the 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.

But there were no guarantees he would be here at all.

A little more than a year ago, Nembhard, a star point guard at Montverde Academy near Orlando, fell ill and was rushed into surgery at a Florida hospital.

He was reportedly dealing with volvulus, a twisting of the intestines that causes an intestinal obstruction. Doctors removed a portion of his intestines, and he went into septic shock.

“Going through it, you don’t think you’re going to die,” said Nembhard in an interview with BasketballBuzz.

“You just kind of go through it with a positive mindset. Other people around me—especially my father [Claude], was keeping a really positive mindset with me.

“We were always talking about how I’m going to be back on the court really soon, how everything’s going to be fine.”

Within a few months he was back with Montverde, helping fellow Canadian R.J. Barrett lift the team to a 35-0 record and a national U.S. high school championship.

Andrew Nembhard Harder Better Faster Stronger Team Canada
Team Captain Andrew Nembhard alongside Emmanuel Miller and A.J Lawson – Photo: FIBA

Now he’s here, Captain Canada, ready to take on the world.

“I just feel blessed, and just grateful that I had such a great supporting cast around me when I was going through a tough time,” he said.

“And I think all these blessings that have come to me [are] because I’ve been working hard. [With] the support of others, I’ve gotten to this point.”

Nembhard is a key player on a Canadian team favoured to contend in and possibly win the U18 Americas tournament, likely with Team USA as its toughest competition.

There are just four returnees from Canada’s 2017 World Cup team, which won a gold medal with Barrett, the continent’s top-rated high school player, leading the way.

Barrett is preparing for his freshman season at Duke University, and absent from the 2018 Americas tourney. The only returning players are Emanuel Miller, Joel Brown, Tyrese Samuel and Jaden Bediako.

A healthy Nembhard would likely have been part of the 2017 World Cup team, and he admitted he would have loved to play on it.

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But now he’s here, gunning for a championship, ready to lead.

“Over the last couple of years I’m really trying to improve my leadership skills, both vocally and by example,” he said.

“I’m more of a quiet guy, but I think over the years I’ve kind of come out of my shell a little more.

“I feel like I’m being much more vocal now. I’m really comfortable with this group of guys. I feel like I can be myself.”

Michael Meeks, Canada Basketball’s manager of men’s youth player development and an assistant coach with the U18 team, has said the team has a target on its back, and Nembhard acknowledged that’s likely the case with Team USA.

“I feel like it’s good pressure, though,” he said. “I feel like we’re all motivated to win another one.

“We just want to work harder and harder and try to be the best in the world.”

Andrew Nembhard Harder Better Faster Stronger
Andrew Nembhard vs Australia at 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship – Photo: FIBA

This fall, Nembhard will suit up for the Florida Gators, a team looking to replace senior point guard Chris Chiozza, the school’s all-time assists leader.

There are no guarantees Nembhard, the No. 26 recruit in America according to ESPN, is Chiozza’s immediate successor.

For now he’s here, ready to make his mark.

“My goal is to try to win a starting spot on the team, play as much as possible, and just help my team in any way I can to win,” he said.

“That’s defensively, offensively, being a leader, coming off the bench—whatever I need to do to kind of help us win as [many] games as possible, hopefully win the national championship.

“That’s what I want to do.”

Duke is an early favourite to win the NCAA title, with an immensely talented roster that includes Barrett, Zion Williamson and Cam Reddish—the top three recruits in the class of 2019.

Still, Nembhard likes his chances.

“I think Florida definitely has a chance of beating Duke,” he said. “Every team in college basketball is beatable.”

Next season will be the first time in many years Nembhard does not play with Barrett, a close friend and potential No. 1 NBA Draft pick.

He welcomes the challenge.

“I think we both play really well together, but I think we both have more to show that—when we’re away from each other,” he said.

“I feel like this is just a good opportunity for me to show more of my game, the scoring side of my game, especially—just to bring out more leadership in my game.

“I think it’ll be a good opportunity.”

What matters for now is that he’s here, competing for an international title on home soil.

Here, doing what he was born to do. Here, pursuing greatness.

Here, and stronger than ever.

“I feel like I just attack everything in a more motivated way,” he said.

“I feel like I just cherish and thank people for what they do so much more … just cherish everything.”

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FIBA

Record 17 Canadian NBA players invited to 2019 FIBA World Cup Training Camp

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Cory Joseph Leads Canada Basketball 2016 Olympic Qualifying Roster

Canada Basketball has released it’s highly anticipated 2019 FIBA World Cup training camp roster.

Loaded with 29 high-skilled Canadians — 17 currently under NBA contracts, the roster is Canada’s best-assembled talent of all-time and represents the country’s best shot at reaching the podium at the upcoming 2019 FIBA World Cup in China — and potentially earning a return trip to the 2020 Olympics games in Tokyo.

Tough decisions will need to be made by recently announced head coach Nick Nurse who will have the difficult task of cutting multiple NBA players for the first time in order to finalize the final 12-man roster that is expected to be committed to the goal from training camp through the World Cup.

2019 SMNT Training Camp Roster

Top Canadian Basketball players not invited

Record 17 Canadian NBA players invited to 2019 FIBA World Cup Training Camp
Andrew Wiggins absent from FIBA 2019 World Cup

Other Canadian NBA players under contract but absent from the list included Andrew Wiggins (Twolves), Anthony Bennett (Houston Rockets), Kyle Alexander (Miami Heat) and Knicks rookie Ignas Brazdeikis — a dual-citizen that is expected to opt to play for Lithuania. Other former NBA players omitted from the list include Andrew Nicholson, a 2012 draft-pick, 19th overall selection of the Orlando Magic and Olivier Hanlan a former 2015 second-round pick of the San Antonio Spurs.

Canada will kick-off a short 3-day training camp from August 4-6 at the OVO Athletic Centre in Toronto before embarking on a loaded exhibition schedule that features two games on home soil against Nigeria and a final marquee-matchup against the USA on August 26th.

2019 Canadian Senior Men’s National Team Schedule

DateTime/TeamTimeLocation
August 4-6 Training Camp OVO Athletic Centre – Toronto, ON
August 7 Canada vs. Nigeria (Exhibition) 7:00 PM Mattamy Athletic Centre – Toronto, ON
August 9 Canada vs. Nigeria (Exhibition) 8:00 PM Bell MTS Place – 
Winnipeg, MB
August 16 Canada vs. Australia (Exhibition) 5:30 AM RAC Arena – 
Perth, Australia
August 17 Canada vs. Australia (Exhibition) 5:30 AM RAC Arena – 
Perth, Australia
August 20 Canada vs. New Zealand (Exhibition) 5:30 AM Quaycentre – 
Sydney, Australia
August 21 Canada vs. New Zealand (Exhibition 5:30 AM Quaycentre – 
Sydney, Australia
August 26 Canada vs. USA (Exhibition) 5:30 AM Qudos Bank Arena – Sydney, Australia
September 1 Canada vs. Australia
3:30 AM
FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019
China
September 3 Canada vs. Lithuania 7:30 AM FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019
China
September 5 Canada vs. Senegal 3:30 AM FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019
China

Major time zone difference

Outside of the two home games against Nigeria, Canadian basketball fans should brace themselves and get ready for early morning basketball depending on which coast you reside in. Sydney, Perth, Australia and China are a whopping 14, 12 and 12 hours ahead of Canadian eastern time zone – meaning early morning Tim Hortons to support the national pride.

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FIBA

USA ends Mali’s historic run win 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Gold Medal

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Usa Ends Malis Historic Run Win Record 7th Fiba U19 World Cup Gold Medal

The United States of America are back on top of the FIBA U19 World Cup.

Two years after finishing a record low, third-place in Cairo Egypt — the Americans defeated and ended rising African champion’s historic basketball run with a 93-79 victory over Mali to claim the 2019 U19 World Cup in Heraklion, Greece.

The USA fought off a hot and confident Mali squad playing in their first ever FIBA World Cup finals to win their record seventh FIBA U19 gold medal.

Champions Usa Ends Malis Historic Run Win Record 7th Fiba U19 World Cup Gold Medal
USA 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Champions – Photo: FIBA

Mali got off to an outstanding start on the strength of Hassan Drame’s 9 points, as Mali ripped off a 11-0 run and took a early 11-3 lead with 6:58 to play. The USA pounded Mali on the offensive glass pulling down 13 offensive rebounds on their way to out-rebounding the African side 19-12 in the quarter to quickly close the gap as Mali led 22-20 lead after 10 minutes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7CHR64fDqmw

The USA went to a 3-2 zone early in the second-quarter and slowly grinded Mali out with tight defense and relentless offensive rebounding to finally take a 37-36 lead, their first since leading 3-0. A late three-pointer, the USA first of the half, put the Americans ahead for good at with a 42-40 at half-time.

Scott Barnes Jr Flexing Usa Ends Malis Historic Run Win 2019 Fiba U19 World Cup Gold Medal
USA Scott Barnes Jr flexing against Mali at 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup Gold Medal game -Photo: FIBA

The USA opened the third-quarter with a 14-0 run, holding Mali scoreless for the first 3:00 minutes of the second-half and forcing Mali head coach Alhadji Dicko to call a time-out to restore orders as the lead swell to double-digits at 54-40.

Mali showed their resiliency and pride, fighting until the final whistle to close a game-high 20 point lead to single digits at 84-77 — on a made pull-up three pointer by Martin Diakite with 4:11 to go. The USA clamped down, allowing Mali just two points the rest of the way for the 14 win.

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Cade Cunningham Usa Ends Malis Historic Run Win Record 7th Fiba U19 World Cup Gold Medal
Cade Cunningham throws down a major dunk over Oumar Balla – Photo: FIBA

Undeclared point guard Cade Cunningham paced a loaded USA offense with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists and had several highlight reel dunks. The 6’7″ Montverde Academy standout holds offers from Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina, Virginia and a long-list of major suitors. Jalen Suggs added 15 points and 5 rebounds. Scott Barnes Jr. finished with 11 points and 8 rebounds and tournament MVP Reginald Perry also finished in double figures with 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.

Mail had four players in double-figures led by continuous all-around talent of Hassan Drame with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 5 steals and 4 assists. Karim Coulibaly (Pittsburgh Panthers) showed a nice soft touch around the rim with 17 points and 3 blocks. Gonzaga commit Oumar Ballo came-up short of fourth straight double-double and finished with 15 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Ballo, a sure-shot NBA prospect showcased multiple Point guard Siriman Kanoute capped off a stellar tournament with 16 points , 4 rebounds and 3 steals.

2019 Fiba U19 World Cup All Stars
2019 FIBA U19 World Cup All Stars – Photo: FIBA

2019 FIBA U19 MVP & All-Stars

Joel Ayiyi – France
Oumar Ballo – Mali
Tyrese Haliburton – USA
Siriman Kanoute – Mali
Reginald Perry – USA

The USA had previously beaten Mali twice at the 2017 World Cup — 117-69 and 118-56, a 55-point margin of victory.

2019 FIBA U19 Final Standings

StandingsTeamRecord
1USA 7-0
2Mali 5-2
3France 5-2
4Lithuania 4-3
5Russia5-2
6Puerto Rico 2-5
7Serbia5-2
8Canada3-4
9Australia 5-2
10Greece3-4
11Argentina 5-2
12Latvia 1-6
13New Zealand 4-3
14Philippines 1-6
15Senegal 1-6
16China 1-6

Boxscore USA vs. Senegal

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