Louisville players find success on International stage

Louisville forward/center Chinanu Onuaku earned a gold medal as a member of the USA Basketball U19 team, defeating Croatia 79-71 in overtime in the title game of the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship in Heraklion, Crete, Greece on July 5.

Onuaku was one of a handful of college players on the Team USA U19 squad, and they were joined by multiple top prospects, including Duke-bound guard Jayson Tatum, uncommitted 5-star big man Harry Giles, and top guard prospect Terrance Ferguson, among others.

Onuaku totaled six points, eight rebounds and a team-high four blocked shots in 28 minutes as the USA pulled away in overtime to claim its second straight U19 World Championship, the first USA back-to-back titles in the event since 1983. One of his blocked shots early in overtime led to a USA dunk.

In seven games during the event, Onuaku started six games and averaged 4.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, hit 13-of-20 field goals (.650) and added 10 steals and a team-high 12 blocked shots while averaging 16 minutes a game for the deep USA squad, coached by Arizona’s Sean Miller.

Another current Louisville player — forward/center Mangok Mathiang — completed his participation with his Australian team in the 2015 World University Games in mid-July, as Australia finished 10th in the international event. Mathiang led the 23-team event in rebounding and finished tied for eighth in scoring, producing five double-doubles.

Mathiang started all eight games for Australia, averaging 13.5 points and 10.3 rebounds while shooting 56.1 percent from the field (46-of-82, fourth-best in the World University Games) and adding seven blocked shots. His top scoring effort was 23 points against Chinese Taipei and his best rebounding game was 17 against the home nation Korea.

The Cardinals’ 2015-16 team co-captain and a rising junior, Mathiang hit the game-winning jumper with 2.7 seconds remaining in Louisville’s 59-57 victory over No. 2 Virginia in the regular season finale this past March.

Mathiang’s participation in the World University Games is also part of the ACC Worldwide initiative that seeks to further the conference’s member institutions internationally through promotion, marketing and athletic competition.