Kenneth Lofton Jr. may not have won the MVP, but he played for the US team

Within a year or two, Kenneth Loveton Jr. will see some FIBA ​​U-19 World Championship players, including some of his teammates, become NBA lottery shows.

He will have a lot of basketball in the future, but there are not many 6-7, 275-pound forwards who usually stand out in the draft. But Loveton will always have this day: the day he became the FIBA ​​U19 World Cup world champion, the day he became the most important reason for the victory of Chet Holmgren and Patrick Baldwin Jr. and the other American teenagers.

Loveton scored 15 of the 16 points in the second half, helping the United States overcome the 5-point gap-reaching 8 points in the third quarter-and defeating a talented team 83-81 in Sunday’s final. , A competitive French team.

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Gonzaga forward Chet Holmgren and Purdue sophomore Jaden Ivey were summoned to the podium on the Centre Court after the game to select all the championship prizes, which is very appropriate. Everyone is a well-deserved member of that team. But when Lofton was clearly the team’s best and most important player in the semifinals and finals over Canada and France, it was strange to see Holmgren named the tournament MVP.

As if to symbolize the gold medal is the most important thing, Loveton stepped onto the sideline and became the first player to congratulate Holm Glen, and he walked back to his teammates.

The United States has won the last four finals, including in 2019, when a team composed of Cade Cunningham and Jalen Suggs won the most recent championship. There has never been a loss at this stage since 2007, when teams including Stephen Curry and Patrick Beverley could not overcome Serbia’s home court advantage.

This became the fifth U.S. title won in the U-19 since 2009, when Jamie Dixon-then in Pitt, now in TCU-coached Gordon Hayward, Klay Thompson and their teammates won gold medal. Dixon came back to manage this team and did it again.

The US team looked at the French victory in the second semi-final on Saturday, so they knew that the French team had an excellent backcourt, including Matthew Strazel, Jayson Tchicamboud and Rudy Demahis-Ballou, as well as a lineup that Victor Wembanyama might offer. . However, in the defeat of Serbia, Umbanyama was limited to 9 minutes and did not affect the game because of troublesome fouls.

However, in the first 20 minutes, the US team did not move the basketball like the French team did, so it was impossible to put Wimbanyama into so many annoying situations. At the end of halftime, the US team committed 8 turnovers, shooting only 38% from the field, 5 times behind. They have won the game by an average of 34 points in the previous six games and have never fallen behind at halftime.

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Wimbanyama acted as if he wanted to make up for what happened on Saturday, and he also accepted the challenge of facing the No. 1 American home Glenn. 7-2 Umbanya immediately scored 18 points at halftime, including 2 three-pointers, and blocked 4 times before the intermission. The Americans worked hard to control his amazing length. However, he only scored 4 points after halftime and fouled with almost 3 minutes left in the game.

Dixon insisted that his players play through Loveton, even though he was defended by the 9-inch Wimbanyama.Loveton used his patience, strength, understanding of the post and unremitting efforts to dominate the third and fourth quarters

He helped the team recover from being behind by 8 points in the third quarter, tied the score to 59 points, and then teamed up with Holm Glenn to occupy the fairway in the final four minutes.

With the U.S. team leading only 77-74 in the fourth quarter, Loveton received Holm Glen’s high and low passes and scored with a strong left hand. Lofton steals Tchicamboud, and Ivey turns it into a coast-to-coast dunk.

It’s not easy, not against a team like France, but when the French team’s three-pointer narrowed the lead to 2 points with 29 seconds left in the game, the US point guard Kennedy Chandler late. If France rebounds, there is a chance to win or tie.

Loveton grabs the ball.

The only thing he didn’t catch this afternoon was the MVP trophy.

The square gold medal hanging around his neck will have to be made.



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