Playing without top-ranked Class of 2013 star Jabari Parker
, the USA throttled Latvia by 36 points Sunday and Australia by 25, 89-64, Monday to capture the Gran Canaria U17 International Invitational – a tune-up event for the competition in Lithuania later in the week.
The event was played in Las Palmas, Canary Islands.
Against Australia, tournament MVP Jahlil Okafor
pumped in 19 points (he put up 26 points and 15 rebounds against Latvia) and Stanley Johnson
added 15. Okafor, a 6-foot-10, 280-pound center, is a rising junior at Whitney Young (Chicago)
After leading by just two points at the end of the first quarter and nine at halftime, the USA pulled away in the third quarter by outscoring the Australians 29-17.
In addition to Parker, a 6-8, 225-pound small forward, the United States played without point guard Joel Berry
of Lake Highland Prep (Orlando)
. Both players are expected to be available for action in Lithuania.
The Americans will be one of six teams pooled into Group A in Lithuania along with Australia, China, Czech Republic, Egypt and France. The USA will play each of those teams in preliminary action with the top four teams in Group A and Group B reaching the knockout phase beginning July 6.
For more information on the FIBA U17 World Championship, click here
If there was any doubt, go ahead and install the United States as the favorite in the FIBA U17 World Championship, which begins Friday in Kaunas, Lithuania.