Spain, Greece Start 3-0
Spain and Greece are both off to a 3-0 start thus far and look strong early on. Spanish forward Pau Gasol is leading the tournament in scoring, averaging 23.7 points per game on 65 percent shooting, to go with a team-high 6.7 rebounds per contest. His brother, Marc, in addition to Rudy Fernandez and Serge Ibaka are also averaging double figures. Ricky Rubio has done a nice job as the primary distributor, shown in his six assists per game. Spain is looking like a serious threat to take down the USA.
Greece is still yet to play Croatia and Argentina, but has all but clinched a spot in the knockout round. Giannis Antetokounmpo may be the most talented player on the roster, but is still adjusting to international play, averaging 9.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Georgios Printezis is leading Greece with 11.7 points per game although it has been a well-balanced attack that has powered the Greeks thus far. They’ll have their biggest tests upcoming against Croatia and Argentina.
USA Shows Flaws
Although the USA is 3-0 with 59-point, 27-point and 22-point wins, the Americans showed some vulnerability against Turkey on Sunday. The USA trailed Turkey 40-35 at halftime before kicking it into gear and eventually earning their second win of the tournament. The biggest concern for the Americans came on the defensive end, as they allowed too much penetration inside the lane and left shooters open when collapsing to defend the pick-and-roll. We may be nit-picking in a blowout, but a similar performance in the knockout round could lead to an earlier than expected exit.
Blatche, Deng Standing Out
While the Philippines are off to a 0-3 start, Andray Blatche has been an early star in the tournament. The nine-year NBA veteran was a double-digit scorer for Brooklyn last season and has been the leader on a struggling FIBA squad. Blatche is averaging 21 points and 13.7 points per game on 43 percent shooting and has recorded a trio of double-doubles in all three contests.
Gorgui Dieng is entering his second NBA season and has been the centerpiece for a 2-1 Senegal team. The Louisville product is averaging 22 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game in the tournament and shows confidence as the primary offensive option. He’s shooting 54 percent from the field as Senegal has a good chance of advancing to the knockout stage.
Big Three in Group D
Group D has a trio of heavyweights in Slovenia, Lithuania, and Australia headlining the action. Slovenia is off to a 3-0 start while Lithuania and Australia stand at 2-1.
Slovenia has scored the biggest win thus far in a 90-80 win against Australia. Goran Dragic had a well-rounded effort with 21 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the win. He is averaging 19.5 points and five assists per game while his brother, Zoran, is contributing another 16 points per contest. They’ll cap the group stage against Lithuania on Thursday.
The Lithuanians have started 2-1 with wins over Mexico and Angola and an 82-75 loss to Australia.. Jonas Valanciunas is averaging team-highs with 14 points and nine rebounds per game.
Despite the early loss to Slovenia, Australia should be a team to follow into the knockout round. Aron Baynes is contributing team-highs in his 17 points and 8.5 rebounds per contest while Matthew Dellavedova is leading the tournament in assists per game (6.5). Australia’s win over Lithuania puts them in good shape before ending the group stage as heavy favorites against Mexico and Angola.
Any international players interested in coming to the USA to play in college, prep school or high school can contact us here. We are looking for interns and sales associates. If you’re interested contact us and forward your resume.