2007 Under-19 World Championships: Classification Round, Day One
By Marian Reibert
Novi Sad, Serbia
FIBA World Championships Under 19: Classification Round, Day One
Official U19 World Championships Site
Classification Round Day 1
[img_assist|nid=3758|title=Victor Claver|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=200]The Pre-Groups are mixed together now and on the first day the top finishers from each group got a third place finisher from one group to get an easy start into this round. In other games all runner up finishers from the pre phase faced another runner up from another group.
Group winner Spain took on Team Canada in the first game. Canada tried some zone to slow the Spanish backcourt but precise execution and pressuring team defense took their toll as Spain built a lead step by step to take home a sound victory. Victor Claver showed flashes of brilliance while being hot from outside but was in foul trouble the entire game which took away some of his enthusiasm. Forcada and Vega picked up the slack and led Spain in scoring and rebounding. Canada got their usual production from Joseph who again took a lot of shots en route to 21 pts playing mostly as a self creating (shooting) point guard. A player to watch is Kai Williams (a sophomore at South Dakota State) who has a prototypical NBA SF body and does all the little things on the court including playing lock down defense.
Australia took on Korea and for a quarter it looked as if the teams were even. Both teams play the same style of team play and tenacious defense but after that first quarter Australia's big advantage in athleticism took over the game, especially Andrew Ogilvy with 27 pts. 12 reb. in just 20 minutes had his way inside with the overmatched Koreans. Korea relied exclusively on three pointers for the rest of the game and Australia increased the pressure as the game went on getting rewarded with easy lay ups in bunches. Australia built a big lead early allowing their bench to get extensive playing experience.
Serbia 87 - Brazil 75
Brazil managed to hang with Serbia for most of the game as Radujica and Boban Marjanovic had trouble dealing with burly Paulao Prestes 20 pts. 14 reb. inside. But Milan Macvan seized the opportunity and exploded on the other frontcourt liabilities of Brazil for 36 points and 7 boards. Serbia came up with a clutch three by SG Jeremic whenever Brazil threatened to make a closing run. Poor free throw shooting at the end killed any chance for Brazil to climb back into the game.
Argentina 68 - Turkey 59
Argentina and Turkey played the most intense game of the day grinding out an intense defensive battle from start to finish. First Turkey seemed to find the edge behind Balbay's 14 pts. and Ozcan's 13 pts. but they didn't get anything productive from their front court, which made the difference in the end for Argentina as they came up with timely clutch rebounds. In the end things got ugly, after Ozcan got fouled and injured and the game slipped out of hand for the Turkish side they lost their cool and were called for some un-sportsmanlike conduct calls. Argentina again received a solid team effort with four guys scoring in double figures and Gerbaudo dishing out 8 assists.
France manhandled China in every possible way. Edwin Jackson again was the man for France scoring 23 in just 16 minutes. China was no real opponent for Frances depth and athleticism. The game got out of hand early and frances coach seized the opportunity to play everyone and the player took advantage of the opportunity displaying a lot of spectacular stuff. Ajinca dunked on one occasion so high he stuck his elbow inside the rim. Batum once again wasn't the focus on offence 13 pts. but displayed his versatility in 5 reb., 8 assists and 4 steals in just 28 minutes. SF /PF Tian who is born in 92 ! showed some promise in 12 pts. and 8 reb. he is more than worth to keep an eye on if he can do this on that stage at such a young age. France has yet to face someone that really can play them face to face.
USA 90 - Lithuania 81
USA Coach decided to bench his super talents Michael Beasley and Jordan for the start against Lithuania and it paid off. He relied heavily on his college seasoned players and David Lighty 19 pts. and Deon Thompson 17 pts. answered the call and led team USA to a victory against European power house Lithuania. USA used intense pressure to haunt Lithuania into numerous turnovers, especially Gecevicius who was exposed as a poor ball handler. USA relied heavily on their superior athletism and depth but the real difference in this game came at the free throw line where Lithuania was a horrendous 37% missing 12 foul shots. Lithuania played below their usual level and got into trouble when players got frustrated over their poor play and started blaming each other for their mistakes. When USA Coach Jerry Wainwright finally decided to play Beasley he was off, but during a stretch he flashed his vast abilities as he scored on a put back dunk, had a steal and a break away and a huge post up play to score 6 points in just 30 seconds, only to loose his focus again and was benched. While on the bench he preferred to sit at the end looking detached. it's the maturity for him that really needs to improve if he is going to realize his great potential. DeAndre Jordan had a short stint in the first half being benched again after only two minutes but showed why many people are so high on him in the second half when he scored 6 points in a row on post up baseline moves. The first one wowed the crowed since he drop stepped and just took off finishing with a highlight, rim-rocking dunk displaying his immense athletic possibilities. He scored four more points as his coach ran two more consecutive post ups for him which he converted only to later be benched once again.
In the consolidation round Puerto Rico got overwhelmed by Nigeria's superior overall athletism. Center prospect Solomon Alabi had 14 pts. 15 reb. 6 blocks flashing glimpses of why he his high on scout's radar. Egedu 23 pts. and Yussuf 22 pts. again paced Nigeria's scoring.
In the other game Mali got exposed by lowly Lebanon, not good.