It was an ugly start, but Team USA’s first game at the FIBA U19 World Cup ended beautifully. The Americans defeated Iran 108-48 with Kentucky Wildcats leading the way.
Even though they played two friendlies in Egypt prior to their opening game of the tournament, Team USA looked lost to start the game. There were turnovers, whistles and bricks everywhere. For most of the first quarter it was a 4-0 game. I don’t know what John Calipari said, but things changed once the team emerged from the locker room at halftime.
Hamidou Diallo and P.J. Washington had seven points in the first 2:30 of the second half and the Americans were off and running. Diallo had a team-high 17 points and 4 rebounds, with almost all of it coming in the second half. Washington added 13 points and 4 rebounds. One of the two has led Team USA in scoring every time the team has kept stats.
Even though Diallo led the team in scoring, the best player on the floor for Team USA was Cameron Reddish, a top target for John Calipari in the 2018 class. A 6’8″ power forward, he spent a lot of time on the perimeter as a wing. It worked well. Reddish had 14 points and didn’t miss a three-pointer, sinking all three attempts. Immanuel Quickley added 6 points, Romeo Langford had 5 and Louis King scored 9 points.
More to come from Cairo.