Okogie Helps USA Basketball U19 Team to World Cup Quarterfinals
Tech sophomore averaged 7.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg in pool play, scored 6 vs. Mali in Round of 16
Cairo, Egypt - Georgia Tech sophomore guard Josh Okogie has been an integral part of the USA Basketball U19 team’s roll through pool play and its 48-point win over Mali Wednesday in the round of 16 at the FIBA U19 World Cup in Cairo, Egypt. The Americans have moved into the medal quarterfinal round Friday against Germany (2-1 in group B), who defeated New Zealand Wednesday to advance.
The rising sophomore from Snellville, Ga., scored six points with three rebounds and three assists in just 11 minutes Wednesday in USA’s 117-69 victory over Mali. The USA team finished pool play undefeated, scoring more than 100 points twice, downing Iran (108-48), Angola (109-68) and Italy (98-65).
“We’re playing kind of with units,” said USA head coach John Calipari of Wednesday’s game. “When we started the game that group didn’t have the intensity or fight, they were just playing. Well, Mali plays really hard. They’ve got a couple of really good players and then after that they’re not as good. But, they play hard so they can make you look bad. So, then we went to the other group and that group went in and played out of their minds, so I left them in. They got us up 20, so they stayed in.
“But then in the second half that group that I started played well and so I left them in. I’m not sure I want to play groups like this, but they are getting to learn to play together petty well and maybe it’s six or seven in a group, then I play the other guys and see how they are and give them some minutes.”
Okogie has come off the bench in all four games, and provided a big spark for the Americans against Angola with 17 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and two steals in 20 minutes. He went 6-of-12 from the floor and 4-of-4 from the free throw line.
The 6-4 guard made the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman team after leading the Yellow Jackets in scoring at 16.1 points per game in 2016-17, leading Tech to a 21-16 record and to the finals of the National Invitation Tournament. He finished the season with the fifth-highest scoring average for a freshman in Tech history, and his 596 total points were the third-most. Overall, he ranked 15th in the ACC in scoring, posting 32 double-digit scoring games, and was the team’s third-leading rebounder at 5.4 per game.
Okogie is the first Georgia Tech player, active or alumnus, to compete on a USA team in international competition at any level since Chris Bosh (2002-03) helped the American team win a Gold medal in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. He is the first active Tech player to make the USA U19 team since Michael Maddox competed for the United States in Athens, Greece.
The eight winning teams from Wednesday’s round of 16 will compete in the medal quarterfinals Friday, followed by the medal semifinals Saturday and the Bronze and Gold medal games Sunday.
— FIBA (@FIBA) July 2, 2017
2017 FIBA U19 WORLD CUP
The United States earned its berth into the 2017 FIBA U19 World Cup by virtue of claiming gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, while Iran earned FIBA Asia U18 gold, Angola won FIBA Africa U18 gold and Italy collected FIBA Europe U18 bronze.
Now titled the FIBA U19 World Cup and played every two years, the event originally was known as the FIBA Junior World Championship from 1979 through 2003 and as the FIBA U19 World Championship from 2005-2009, and it was played every four years from 1979 through 2007.
In the 12 previous U19 competitions held, the USA men’s teams have won six gold and three silver medals, including gold in three of the past four U19 championships (2009, 2013 and 2015). In 2015, led by Jalen Brunson, Terrance Ferguson, Harry Giles, Jayson Tatum and Josh Jackson, the USA men finished 7-0 to capture gold. USA U19 teams own an all-time win-loss record of 85-13 in the competition.
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Georgia Tech’s men’s basketball team is beginning its second year under head coach Josh Pastner after compiling a 21-16 record and posting a runner-up finish in the NIT. Tech has been a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference since 1979, won three ACC Championships (1985, 1990, 1993), played in the NCAA Tournament 16 times and played in two Final Fours (1990, 2004). Connect with Georgia Tech Men’s Basketball on social media by liking their Facebook Page, or following on Twitter (@GTMBB) and Instagram.