U19 American lost to Russia but, in reality, they lost long ago

8 Jul

By Justin Young
National Hoops Report

The United States 19 and under men’s basketball team won’t be returning home from Latvia with a gold medal. In fact, they won’t return with any medal at all.

The Russians beat the U.S. team 79-74 on Friday. The best the Americans can do is fifth place.

Understand something, though. This wasn’t the best team America could suit up.

Jeremy Lamb, a star in college basketball next year, was great, at times, for the red, white and blue. Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Doug McDermott were the only two players to be the go-to guys on their college teams last season as freshmen.

The other players were and are important pieces to their programs but after Lamb, where are the stars?

The North Carolina kids all said no. So did the Kentucky studs. Bradley Beal withdrew from the team.

Where are you Kyrie Irving? Where are you Jared Sullinger? Where are you Perry Jones? Josh Smith?


The top players in the United States are staying home to be with their respective teams. According some pundits, the top Americans aren’t going because they have their own self-interest at the forefront of their decisions.

USA Basketball made a concerted effort to change the desire of players to hold international basketball serious. Coach K helped spearhead the effort to make this cultural change.

Have we gone back to not caring about international hoops? Maybe. The United States is 5-2 right now. But they should be better. They’d be better if the stars play.

Of course, Harrison Barnes, Rivers, Sullinger, Beal and the like will wear USA across their chests later in life. So will Lamb.

But will it be a priority? I hope it is.

Basketball was eroding. The culture for this group of players is singular minded. It is selfish. It is one of the reasons why I took a two-year break from basketball. I couldn’t take it any more. Selfishness in basketball became cancerous.

That’s why Barnes, Sullinger and Beal were so badly needed on this team. They are high-character kids that compete and want to win if it means taking a back seat. But not playing for USA Basketball pushes the mentality back a notch.

A loss to Russia, a team that made 12 three-pointers to American’s zero, isn’t the tipping point to erosion of American basketball.

The tipping point happened when Barnes, Sullinger and the like all said no.

One Response to “U19 American lost to Russia but, in reality, they lost long ago”


  1. A lot love or much more to consider regarding UConn SG Jeremy Lamb? « - July 11, 2011

    […] Coach X's top shooting guardsLJSA Top 2012 players from Coach XLJSA Top 2013 players from Coach XU19 American lost to Russia but, in reality, they lost long agoThe curious case of John RiekLJSA Top 2014 players from Coach X […]

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