Tyus Jones and the favored USA Under 17s have opened World Championship play in Lithiania with 3 decisive victories over Australia, the Czech Republic and Egypt. The USA (in Group A) and Croatia (in Group B) are the only undefeated teams after 3 rounds of play, and appear to be headed for the World Championship game onSunday, July 8.
Jones, Apple Valley point guard, started for the USA in all 5 of its recent games--2 in an exhibition in the Canary Islands and then the 3 World games to date. In the 5 games, Jones is scoring 6 points per game with 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 turnovers. He is shooting a respectable 14-of-26 (54.5 percent).
Here's a quick rundown of the 5 USA games to date:
USA 111 Egypt 73. USA outscored Egypt 36-15 in the 3rd quarter to stretch a 13-point half-time lead to rout proportions (86-52), then cruised home. Jabari Parker (Chicago Simeon) and Connor Frankamp (Wichita North) scored 18 points each, Jahlil Okafor (Chicago WhitneyYoung) snared 7 boards and Jones led in assists with 5.
USA 95 Czech Republic 57. USA pulled away from the start, but a 31-12 4th quarter margin accounted for the blow-out. Dakari Johnson (Monteverde Academy) led with 16 points and 12 boards. Jones played just 13 minutes due to foul trouble, and his backup, Joel Berry, led the way with 4 assists. Frankamp added 4 steals.
USA 89 Australia 67. USA pulled away from a narrow 6-point half-time lead with a 36-14 3rd quarter. Okafor scored 16 points, Parker grabbed 8 boards and Frankamp had 5 assists.
This was the 2nd time that the USA dominated the Aussies, having whipped 'em a week ago in an exhibition tournament in the Canary Islands 89-64. This came after USA had hammered Latvia 108-72. In those 2 games Jones scored 10 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while leading USA in assists in both games with 10 and 5, and also had 5 rebounds and 6 turnovers.
Okafor had 26 points and 15 boards vs. Latvia and 19 points vs. the Aussies. D. Johnson added 10 boards vs. Australia. Okafor leads the USA in scoring with 16 ppg across 5 games while Frankamp leads with 42 points (14 ppg) at the Worlds.
If forced to do so, I'd rate the USA players at this point as 1) Okafor, 2) Parker, 3) Frankamp, 4) Jones, 5) D. Johnson though he has been inconsistent, following his big game vs. Czech with 0 points vs. Egypt. Coming on strong has been back-up point guard Barry (Lake Highland Prep, Apopka, FL) with 9 points, 4 boards, 3 assists, 3 steals and 2 turnovers per the 3 World games.