By KYLE ITO
The United States Men’s Basketball team won gold at the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) World Cup in Spain on September 14, 2014. The tournament took place from August 30 to September 14. The United States cruised to first place out of 24 teams with a perfect 9-0 record. The final standings were first place USA, second place Serbia, and third place France. Throughout the tournament, it seemed obvious who the winner would be because of Team USA’s obvious skill compared to the other teams.
Although Team USA competed without many big name players (Lebron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George, who broke his leg in a team scrimmage and Carmelo Anthony), the team still dominated its opponents in a commendable performance. Many key American players may have pulled out of the tournament because of the risk of getting injured before the National Basketball Association (NBA) season starts. Even without the top NBA players, Team USA showed a high level of play and easily won gold.
The team’s players in the World Cup represented USA well. USA’s 12-man roster included Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, James Harden and Derrick Rose. The team was coached by legendary Duke University basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Team USA qualified for the quarterfinals with a victory over Mexico and proceeded to blow out Slovenia in the quarterfinals, advancing to the semifinals. Once again, USA won with a large margin against Lithuania to earn a spot in the finals against Serbia, who won against France with a five point victory in the semifinals. USA dominated in the finals, defeating Serbia 129-92. Although most of USA’s players played well in the medal winning game, Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers was ultimately named MVP with 26 points.
Although Team USA’s easy win showed how talented USA is at basketball, the predictability of the tournament resulted in indifference among many sports fans towards the FIBA World Cup. Watching Team USA shred through the competition did not interest many because most already knew USA was going to dominate over the other teams and win the entire tournament. However, the FIBA World Cup is still important global event.
Kameron Khorram (Sr.) said, “FIBA World Cup is important because it gives all the countries a chance to compete and shows the culture of each country.” Despite Team USA’s crushing performance, the FIBA World Cup is still important because it showcases how far basketball has spread and how talented other players from different countries are. Even though Team USA could have won against any team it played in the tournament, the FIBA World Cup allows other countries to compete on an international level and play against teams of different skill levels.
Hopefully, other teams will improve their play and earn a chance to challenge Team USA and contend for a gold medal at the next FIBA World Cup, in 2019.