Marcus Smart established a five-game USA U18 record for steals with 18.
June 20, 2012
Sao Sebastiáo Dos Paraiso, Brazil — Marcus Smart scored 10 points and collected a tournament-high six steals as he and the USA U18 team defeated Brazil 81-56 and secured the gold medal at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championships here Wednesday evening.
Smart, an incoming freshman for the Oklahoma State men's basketball squad, had 20 assists and 18 steals in the five-game tournament, both highs for the Americans. In fact, Smart's 18 thefts surpassed the five-game record of 16, set by Andre Iguodala in 2002. Smart is also one of just four Americans to record 20 or more assists in the five-game tournament, joining Kemba Walker (25 in 2008), Kyrie Irving (21 in 2010) and Jonny Flynn (21 in 2006).
Smart played a team-high 24 minutes in his fifth start for the USA team, and was 4-of-8 from the floor, including 1-of-2 from beyond the three-point arc. He also connected on 1-of-2 free throws and grabbed three rebounds.
The gold medal is the USA U18 team's sixth at the FIBA Americas Championship. This year's squad defeated its opponents by an average of more than 38 points per game. The victory also assures the Americans of participation in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championships next summer.
A few quotes from Marcus Smart following the USA's win over Brazil in the gold-medal game:
How does it feel to win the gold?
"It feels great; this is probably the highest level any of us have played on and it was difficult to get a group of guys that in their own state were the man and put them on a team together and have them unify together to come out here and do what we accomplished today and that’s to win a gold for our country."
Was it worth all the hard work to all put into this?
"Oh, definitely. We all gave up a lot. A couple of us that are going into (our) freshmen year at college, we gave up our summer school, but it was all worth it because this is way bigger than what any of us has ever done, it's way bigger than ourselves. We’re coming out here to represent our country. We’ve got people over in Iraq fighting and dying, kids our age, so this is the closest thing we can get to representing our country, and that’s what we tried to do."