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USA Midwest tops Canada to win Nike Global Challenge

USA Midwest wins Nike Global Challenge

7:34 PM, Jul. 15, 2012 EDT


Led by James Young's 29 points and 10 rebounds, USA Midwest defeated Canada 100-86 Sunday to win the Nike Global Challenge.

The event came during the first of three five-day evaluation periods this month for Division I men's basketball coaches, 37 of whom attended at least a portion of the three-day tournament. Included in that number were all the coaches from the 2012 Final Four.

However, none was able to see the end of every game Sunday. The evaluation period officially ended at 5 p.m. ET, which came with about 39 seconds left in Midwest's win.

Tournament organizers alerted the coaches to the deadline, leading to a quick exodus of those still around, including Kentucky's John Calipari.

The win helped make up for an embarrassing loss for Team USA this month to Canada in the under-19 International Federation of American Football World Championship in Austin.

"We wanted to represent the United States," said Midwest coach David Boyd of Milton, Ga. "Even though these kids from Canada have played a lot together, we took a lot of pride in that we played hard and got after them and made up for our lack of being together with effort."

Young, a 6-6 forward from Troy, Mich., who was chosen MVP of the three U.S. teams, was familiar with the Canadian players because most play for U.S. high schools and on the U.S. summer club circuit.

"I've played these guys a bunch of times," Young said. "I played them in EYBL (Nike Elite Youth Basketball League) and they beat us, so I felt like we had to get revenge."

Unlike the Canadian team, which has many players who also compete for the AAU team CIA Bounce, Team Midwest had to come together quickly. The squad practiced 45 minutes Thursday before its first game in a tournament that included eight teams from six countries.

"Off the court, we hung out with each other to bind together," Young said.

"I wanted to win this game for my country," said Bobby Portis, a Hall High (Little Rock) center who had 18 points and 10 rebounds. "Our intensity in our defense helped us get the lead, and then we started playing together more."

USA Midwest players had a scary moment with less than a minute left when Nick King of Memphis East fell face first. The game was stopped for several minutes as King, bleeding from his nose, was wheeled out on a stretcher. King had 23 points and 10 rebounds before leaving.

"Nick had a concussion," Boyd said via text message. "Is alert and talking."

Andrew Wiggins, ranked the No. 1 player in the 2014 class by Rivals.com, led Canada with 24 points and said after the game that he thought Canada could win the 2016 Olympics in basketball.

Wiggins played last season for Huntington (W.Va.) Prep. His father, former NBA and Florida State player Mitchell Wiggins, is American, but his mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, won two silver medals on Canadian track relays in the 1984 Olympics.

Though Canada is producing more good basketball players, most of the top ones still hone their skills south of the 49th parallel for part of the year.

"That's an ongoing debate in our country," Team Canada coach Roy Rana said. "We do have some quality programs and some great coaches. I think there was a little bit of a flood that began with Tristan Thompson (now with the NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers) and Cory Joseph (with the San Antonio Spurs), and those guys found it was the thing to do.

"I think we're seeing more kids who will choose to stay home. If you're Andrew Wiggins, it may make sense to go to the United States. But if you're just a solid talent, maybe it makes more sense to stay close to your family and home."

USA West took third place in the tournament, defeating Brazil 88-63 Sunday as Nigel Williams-Goss of Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) had 18 points and six assists.

Wiggins and Trey Lyles of Canada were named co-MVPs of the International teams. Lyles was born in Saskatchewan but played for Indianapolis Tech last season.

The rest of the U.S. all-tournament team included Portis, Williams-Goss, Theo Pinson of Wesleyan Christian (Greensboro, N.C.), Troy Williams of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and Sindarius Thornwell of Oak Hill.



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