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U.S. under-18s represent for America

7/1/2010

Or Ameribrah. Whichever you prefer.

Sure, the U.S. men's national team didn't make it past the round of 16 in the World Cup, leaving a potentially world-changing (or, to those of you who have no interest in soccer whatsoever, at least mildly intriguing) run to the semifinals on the table. That was a bummer.

But guess what, world? We're still way better than most of you at basketball. Such was the case again Wednesday, when the U.S. basketball under-18 team took home the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U-18 championships in San Antonio. The gold medal game, an 81-78 win over Brazil, came down to a three-pointer by power forward Quincy Miller with 25 seconds remaining. Miller is the No. 4 overall recruit in the class of 2011; he's still undecided on his college future.

The U.S.'s two best players throughout will likely ring a bell. One was Kyrie Irving, the much-lauded incoming Duke point guard, who scored 21 points in the title game. The other was Austin Rivers, the No. 2 overall recruit in the class of 2011, and another who is yet to decide his college future. Most consider Kentucky commit Michael Gilchrist the best player in 2011, but Rivers' impressive performance for the national team has gradually shrunk the perceived distance between the two.

In any case, sorry, global sporting community. We Americans may be a few decades behind the rest of you in cultivating soccer talent, but we're still really awesome at hoops. Finally, my smug sense of American superiority is rightfully restored. All together now: USA! USA! USA!