After winning Tournament MVP and leading the USA U16 Men squad to the FIBA Americas Championship last summer, SLAM HS Diarist Malik Newman once again put Team USA on his back this year and took home Tournament MVP honors after leading the American group to the FIBA U17 World Championship in Dubai. More from USA Basketball:
Behind 21 points and 11 rebounds from tournament MVP Malik Newman (Callaway H.S./Jackson, Miss.), the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team (7-0) held off Australia (5-2) 99-92 to claim the gold medal on Saturday night at the Hamdan Sports Complex in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Three-time FIBA U17 World Championship gold medalists, the USA now has a perfect 23-0 record at the U17s. Fans who missed the game live on ESPN3 today can catch the replay tonight (10 p.m. EDT) on ESPNU/Watch ESPN.
Newman was joined on the FIBA U17 World Championship All-Tournament Team by teammate Diamond Stone (Dominican H.S./Milwaukee, Wis.), Australia’s Isaac Humphries and Dejan Vasiljevic, and Serbia’s Nikola Rakicevic. In earning MVP honors, Newman joins an elite group that includes 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship MVP Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards and Duke University freshman Jahlil Okafor, the 2012 U17 MVP.
Serbia (6-1) earned the bronze medal after a narrow 62-59 victory over Spain (3-4).
“How many 3s can they make in the last two minutes to keep the game close,” asked USA head coach Don Showalter (Iowa City H.S., Iowa), who now owns an overall 23-0 win-loss record in FIBA U17 World Championship games and also piloted the 2010 and 2012 USA U17 teams to gold. “They’re a team that just doesn’t quit. They have a lot of pride. We played them two years ago in the gold medal game as well. So, from that standpoint I knew they would never, never give up. We found that out last night against Spain when they came back from a 22-point deficit in the first half. They did a great job of that. So, our kids didn’t overlook them. We knew we were going to get their best shot.”
“It felt great,” said Newman after being named MVP. “We had a lot of players who played tremendous at this camp, so for those guys to think that I won the MVP was just an honor.
“Brad Beal, he’s an all-star in the NBA,” Newman added. “And Jahlil, he’ll be an all-star in the NBA also. For me to be mentioned with those guys is an honor and a blessing at the same time.”