PRAGUE, Czech Republic — University of Louisville forward Montrezl Harrell earned a gold medal today as a member of the USA Basketball team, defeating Serbia 82-68 today in the title game of the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship in Prague, Czech Republic.
Harrell totaled a team-high 17 points, four rebounds, four blocked shots and hit 8-of-16 field goals in 28 minutes as the USA pulled away from a 40-38 halftime edge to claim its first U19 championship since 2009.
In nine games during the event, Harrell started every game and averaged 10.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, hit 42-of-73 field goals (.575) and added eight steals and 10 blocked shots while averaging 18 minutes a game for the deep USA squad, coached by Florida’s Billy Donovan.
Serbia’s only previous loss in the event had been to the USA on July 3 in a 71-62 decision. The USA had beaten defending champion Lithuania 100-60 on Saturday to reach the USA’s eighth U19 final game.
The USA (9-0) became the sixth team to win the tournament without a loss, a feat achieved on three previous occasions by the USA (1979, 1991, 2009) and once by both Yugoslavia (1987) and Greece (1995). Six different countries had won gold at the last six U19 World Championships. The USA has won five gold and three silver medals in the U19 World Championships, but did not earn a medal in the 2011 event when it finished fifth with a 7-2 record.
Harrell played all 40 games as a freshman in helping Louisville achieve its third NCAA title in April. During the postseason, Harrell averaged 6.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game. In the team’s BIG EAST title victory over Syracuse, He scored a season-high 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds in just 24 minutes of action.
A Tarboro, N.C., native, Harrell also won a gold medal with the USA at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, played in Sao Sebastiao de Paraiso, Brazil.