VCU's Smart on Sidelines as USA Basketball's U-19 Squad Takes Gold
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC – Two summers with USA Basketball. Two gold medals for VCU Head Coach Shaka Smart.
Smart was on the sidelines this past weekend as an assistant coach for USA Basketball's U-19 squad that took home gold at the 2013 FIBA World Championships in Praque, Czech Republic. Last year, Smart was an assistant on the U-18 squad that won the gold at the FIBA Americas Championship.
"It means a great deal to win the gold medal. It's been very rewarding the past couple years being able to work with USA Basketball," Smart said. "This tournament was much more challenging than last year's because we were playing against the world. We knew everyone was gunning for us. I'm proud of the guys for playing hard, especially at the end of the game, making the big plays when we needed them the most. Ultimately, that allowed us to come away with the gold medal."
The U-19 squad went a perfect 9-0 at the tournament with an average margin of victory of +39.6. Coach Smart's HAVOC style traveled across the water as the US forced an average of 22 turnovers per game, tallying 13.6 steals per night.
Smart sat on the sidelines with Head Coach Billy Donovan (Florida) and fellow assistant Tony Bennett (University of Virginia).
Originally known as the FIBA Junior World Championship, the tournament was held every four years between 1979-2007. FIBA now conducts the U19 World Championship every two years. USA men's teams are 78-13 in the U19/Junior World Championships and have now won five gold and three silver medals.