Guard play carries Team USA 

July, 2, 2010
As the start of the summer evaluation period begins this month, many of the top players from the 2011 class will be noticeably absent with good reason. Twelve of the United States' best will be representing the our country in international competition at the FIBA U17 World Basketball Championship being held from July 2-11 in Hamburg, Germany.

For those unable to catch the United States' first game of the competition (streamlined live on at 7:30am EST), it was an 82-70 win against a feisty Argentina. Michael Gilchrist (Somerdale, N.J./St. Patrick) showed why he is the the No. 1 player in the 2011 class with an inspired 24-point performance.

The USA team struggled shooting the ball from the floor making only 38 percent (28-73) of their shots, including 4-of-13 from long distance, but they made up for it with aggressiveness attacking the rim and on the defensive end of the floor. Although Argentina put up a good fight, Gilchrist and Team USA's guard play led by Marquis Teague (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike) (eight points, six assists), Quinn Cook (Hyattsville, Md./Oak Hill) (14 points) and Bradley Beal (St. Louis, Mo./Chaminade) (11 points) proved to be the deciding factor. The athleticism and skill level of the American guards is impressive; Teague is so difficult to stay in front of and Cook is a high percentage decision maker.

This is a great opportunity for America's elite youth basketball players to gain international experience. Not only is the lane wider and the 3-point shot longer, but the style of play and the officiating is very different from what they are used to playing at the high school and summer circuit levels.