Rising Coastal Carolina sophomore Amidou Bamba helped Canada win its first ever gold medal in a FIBA men’s basketball tournament, as the Canadians took gold in the U19 World Cup in Cairo, Egypt, last month.
The 6-foot-8, 240-pound Toronto native was among 21 players invited to try out for the team and one of 12 retained by coach Roy Rana, head coach at Ryerson University in Canada.
The team played three exhibition games in France against France, Spain and Lithuania before the 16-nation Federation of International Basketball Associations tournament.
In seven tournament games over nine days, the Canadians defeated Mali, lost to Spain, then defeated Japan, Angola and France before shocking the heavily favored U.S. team coached by Kentucky’s John Calipari 99-87 behind 38 points from 17-year-old phenom R.J. Barrett, who is expected to play in this year’s Beach Ball Classic at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in December.
A 79-60 rout of Italy earned the gold medal.
Bamba played in all seven games, averaged 10 minutes per game, shot over 40 percent from the field and averaged 2.3 points and 4.4 rebounds. He contributed six points and seven rebounds in the gold medal game.
During his freshman year at CCU, Bamba shot 54.5 percent from the field while averaging 16 minutes, 4.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 0.73 blocks per game. The international experience will likely help Bamba improve upon those numbers.
Bamba recently participated in several weeks of summer workouts with his CCU teammates.
“He’s more aggressive, more seasoned," Coastal Carolina head coach Cliff Ellis said. "Not many people have a gold medal. That's a big deal. He was just a freshman last year. You’ll see a step up from him this year, no question.”