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July 2022
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The best of FIBA U17 WC 2016: Sexton stars, Turkish delight, Barrett, Musa, Air Pons

MIES (Switzerland) - Following a couple of scares in Dubai two years earlier, USA once again exerted their total dominance and rolled to the title at the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup 2016 with little resistance. The tournament also featured some Turkish delight, a historic Dzanan Musa performance, more U17 World Cup heartbreak for Spain and Canada and a truly special showing by Yves Pons.

The best team: USA

Rank Team W-L
1. USA USA 7-0
2. TUR Turkey 5-2
3. LTU Lithuania 5-2
4. ESP Spain 5-2
5. CAN Canada 6-1
6. FRA France 4-3
7. AUS Australia 3-4
8. KOR Korea 3-4
9. BIH Bosnia and Herzegovina 5-2
10. CHN China 3-4
11. DOM Dominican Republic 2-5
12. FIN Finland 2-5
13. ARG Argentina 2-5
14. TPE Chinese Taipei 1-6
15. MLI Mali 2-5
16. EGY Egypt 1-6

USA's first-game jitters from past U17 World Cups were non existent in Zaragoza as they opened against Chinese Taipei and won by 74 points. They were never really challenged in the second game against Turkey with an 18-point victory and followed that with wins by 47, 53 and 52 points before brushing aside Lithuania by 28 points in the Semi-Finals and then walloped Turkey a second time around by 40 points - 96-56 - for their fourth straight undefeated title.

The best video: re-watch the Final between USA and Turkey

Check out the full game between United States and Turkey. The Americans watched Turkey take a 6-0 lead and shortly thereafter reeled off 19 straight points to lead 21-8 and never looked back.  

The best players: Collin Sexton MVP

 MVP Collin Sexton

Collin Sexton was easily the Most Valuable Player of the tournament as he led USA in scoring with 17.0 points per game while also averaging 4.2 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest.  In the Final victory over Turkey, the guard collected 16 points, 8 assists and 2 steals.

From left to right - Sergi Martinez (ESP), Sexton, Arnas Velicka (LTU), Dzanan Musa (BIH), Wendell Carter Jr (USA)

Sexton was joined on the All-Tournament team by teammate Wendell Carter Jr, Arnas Velicka from bronze medallists Lithuania, Sergi Martinez from fourth-placed finishers Spain and leading scorer Dzanan Musa of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The best game: Turkey vs Spain - Semi-Finals

The first Semi-Finals game was between first-timers Turkey and hosts Spain - with one team about to make history by clinching their first-ever U17 World Cup medal. Spain were looking good with a 15-point lead late in the first half and it was still a 14-point cushion (49-35) with under 6 minutes left in the third quarter. Turkey fought back into the game and Onuralp Bitim's tip-in with 3 seconds left forced overtime where Turkey disappointed the home side 83-79 to reach the Final.

The best performance: Dzanan Musa - Bosnia and Herzegovina vs Chinese Taipei

Dzanan Musa not only led the tournament in scoring but he also set a new single game scoring record - and it was after shedding tears of disappointment. The Bosnia and Herzegovina star dropped 50 points against Chinese Taipei in the Classification 9-16 a day after the Europeans lost to Australia in the Round of 16. Musa made 18-of-26 shots from the field, went 11-of-15 from the free-throw line, grabbed 7 rebounds, handed out 4 assists and drew 12 fouls in 27:15 minutes. He broke the record of 41 points set by Isaac Humphries of Australia in 2014 and matched by Jaylen Hoard of France earlier in the tournament.  

More heartbreak: Semi-Finals for Spain, Quarter-Finals for Canada

The FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup has become something of a curse for Spain and Canada. Both storied countries have suffered some major heartbreak over the course of the tournament's history and it was repeated in 2016 in Zaragoza.

The hosts Spain came into the competition having lost in the Semi-Finals in 2012 (to United States) and 2014 (to Australia) and then left empty-handed by losing in the bronze medal game both editions (2012 to Croatia and 2014 against Serbia). History repeated in 2016 as the Spanish lost to Turkey in the Semi-Finals and then were beaten by Lithuania to finish fourth for a third straight edition.

Canada meanwhile had actually took third place in 2010 but since then the North Americans have seen red at the Quarter-Finals stage. Canada were defeated in the 2012 quarters by United States and then fell to Serbia in 2014. In 2016, Canada had their eyes set on a showdown with the rival United States in the Final but they were tripped up by Turkey two games before that.  And Turkey would end up taking home the silver medal in their debut.

The decision: RJ Barrett for OQT or U17 World Cup

RJ Barrett almost played the 2016 OQT over the FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup

Days before Canada were to start the FIBA  U17 Basketball World Cup 2016, the team did not know if a wildly talented youngster would be playing for them in Spain or not. In the build-up to the tournament, RJ Barrett, who at the time was a year younger than the rest of the competition, was actually working out with the Canadian senior national team for the  2016 FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila.

Barrett, who celebrated his 16th birthday during the senior team training camp, even played in Canada's warm-up game against Croatia and scored 5 points. In the end, Barrett joined the U17 team and was the team's leader, averaging 18.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.3 assists.  

The best show: lift off for Air Pons 

One of the biggest showstoppers in the tournament was Yves Pons, a freak athlete for France who came up with some of the most electric dunks and blocks seen in the history of the competition.  Pons' performance was also featured - titled "When Yves Pons took the world's breath away" - in which his outings in Zaragoza were broken down in detail.      

The only U17 World Cup triple-double: Aljosa Jankovic

Aljosa Jankovic made FIBA U17 World Cup history against Dominican Republic

Trying to guess who the only player in FIBA U17 Basketball World Cup history to register a triple-double was would take a long, long, long time. Those who remembered Aljosa Jankovic doing it deserve some major respect. Not only did Jankovic come off the bench for Bosnia and Herzegovina in their Classification 9-12 game against Dominican Republic to pick up 15 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists - to go with 5 steals - but the performance was actually overshadowed by Dzanan Musa pouring in 34 points with 10 rebounds, 3 assists, 4 steals and 2 blocks.

Stats leaders

Player Points Per Game
BIH Dzanan Musa 34.0
FRA Jaylen Hoard 22.4
TPE Ting-Chien Lin 21.3
ESP Sergi Martinez 19.9
KOR Lee Junghyun 18.9
Player Rebounds Per Game
EGY Ahmed Khalaf 14.0
ESP Sergi Martinez 12.9
TUR Ahmet Can Duran 12.0
EGY Esam Mostafa 11.6
AUS Sam Froling 10.4
Player Assists Per Game
LTU Arnas Velicka 4.7
TPE Yu-Wei Chen 4.3
USA Collin Sexton 4.2
ESP Carlos Alocen 4.0
BIH Sani Campara 3.9
KOR Lee Junghyun 3.9

If you liked this content, please make sure to check out the reviews of previous FIBA U17 Basketball World Cups: