O Canada! We’re No. 1 with U19 men’s bas­ket­ball ti­tle

The Hamilton Spectator - - SPORTS - THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

Lis­ten­ing to “O Canada” at in­ter­na­tional bas­ket­ball tour­na­ments has al­ways meant a lot to Roy Rana. But af­ter coach­ing Canada’s men’s un­der-19 team to the coun­try’s first-ever world bas­ket­ball ti­tle, it reached a whole new level.

R.J. Bar­rett scored 18 points and grabbed 12 re­bounds as Canada roared past Italy 79-60 on Sun­day, to win the FIBA U19 World Cup, the first time Cana­di­ans of any gen­der or age group have brought home a bas­ket­ball world ti­tle.

“You’re on top of that podium and you know you’ve won it all,” said Rana in a con­fer­ence call from Cairo. “It hasn’t hap­pened be­fore and I think some of us just didn’t even know what to make of it. It’s al­ways beau­ti­ful to hear our an­them and to hear it in this con­text is so spe­cial.”

Nate Dar­ling of Lower Sackville, N.S., and Abu Ki­gab of St. Catharines each added 12 points for the team that up­set the U.S. 99-87 in the semi­fi­nals a day ear­lier.

A day af­ter he poured in 38 points against the U.S., Bar­rett, a 17-year-old from Mis­sis­sauga, was named tour­na­ment MVP.

Canada had never played for a medal at this tour­na­ment

Bar­rett and Ki­gab, who were also named tour­na­ment all-stars, con­tin­ued to pres­sure the Ital­ians.

Rana also guided a team that in­cluded An­drew Wig­gins, now with the NBA’s Minnesota Tim­ber­wolves, to a bronze at the 2010 world U-17 cham­pi­onship. Wig­gins posted a photo of Canada’s win­ning team on his In­sta­gram ac­count: “Con­grat­u­la­tions to Team Canada for mak­ing his­tory on win­ning the #FIBAU19 World Cup Cham­pi­onship.”

For­mer NBA su­per­star Steve Nash and cur­rent GM of Canada’s men’s se­nior team took to Twit­ter to con­grat­u­late them.

“BIG Con­grats Canada’s U19’s. World Champs! Lots of hard work from lots of peo­ple @CanBball for years. En­joy this Canada. #WeAreTeamCanada,” he tweeted.

FIBA.COM

Cana­dian play­ers cel­e­brate their World Cup vic­tory af­ter beat­ing Italy, 79-60.

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