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Saturday, December 20, 2014 | Last updated: 8:48am

Miller and Johnson lead U.S. to U18 FIBA Gold medal



USA basketball cruised to the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Americas men’s U18 Championship and future Wildcat Stanley Johnson won the most valuable player award.

The Americans beat Canada 113-79 Tuesday in the gold medal game in Colorado Springs, Colo. Johnson scored 19 points, grabbed five rebounds and had two steals.

The United States went 5-0 at the tournament, where Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller served as an assistant coach for the Yanks.

“I think that as a coach in this kind of event, you’re only as good as your players,” USA head coach Billy Donovan said in a press release. “I’ve been very fortunate that in he past three years, I’ve coached some great guys, great kids and have had some great coaches working with me.”

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Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood for FIBA / Americas USA U18 men's basketball assistant coach and Arizona men's basketball head coach Sean Miller, UA incoming freshman forward Stanley Johnson and Karen Taylor, Johnson's mother, pose for a photo after the Americans won the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Johnson won the tournament's most valuable award.

Johnson, one the Yanks’ three captains, along with Duke bound Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow, won the MVP award.

“It’s a team honor, really,” Johnson in a press release. “Anybody on the team could have gotten it; what’s more important is winning the gold medal and all of us playing hard to get it.

“It’s a great experience; it’s my third time doing it,” Johnson said. “Every team is different, every situation is different and it’s all been really good. Now we’re older and a lot of good coaching and it was tougher. Playing Canada last, it made us challenge ourselves and play better, so to win the championship here is amazing.”

Johnson led the USA in scoring with 14.0 points per game and averaged 5.4 rebounds.

“What an unreal experience winning a gold medal with @StanMan_5
Can’t wait to get back to Tucson. #BearDown #TeamUSA,” tweeted Miller.

Johnson will be a freshman on the 2014-15 Arizona men’s basketball team. The incoming freshman forward has won three gold medals competing for the USA.

The United States improved its record in the FIBA Americas tournament to 48-2 and improved its gold medal tally to seven.

The USA went 3-0 in pool play, winning every game by at least 54 points.

The Americans beat the Dominican Republic 90-56 in the semifinals. Johnson led all scorers with 15 points and led the Yanks in rebounding with seven.

Johnson scored seven points in nine minutes in the USA’s 118-64 win over Argentina.

In addition, Johnson led the Yanks in scoring in their 100-46 win over Mexico, with 18 points. He also added seven rebounds and four steals.

“I play for my personal best and my team’s personal best,” Johnson said in a press release after that game. “Every time I do my personal best, I can score 40 points, and still not be satisfied. It causes a hunger for the game and if I start doing that it will be contagious and that’s beneficial for the team.”

Johnson scored 11 points and seven rebounds in 14 minutes in the Americans’ 156-58 opening game win over Uruguay.

Last summer, former Wildcat Aaron Gordon led the United States to the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, earning the tournament’s most valuable player award.

—Follow James Kelley @JamesKelley520


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