By Bryan Meler
Ryerson men’s basketball head coach Roy Rana and recruit Jordan Henry helped Canada’s U19 men’s basketball team to its first world title on Sunday, beating Italy in the FIBA U19 World Cup Finals with a decisive 79-60 win.
It marks Canada’s first ever world title in any international FIBA event, and earning it required a monumental win over the U.S. team in the semi-finals of the tournament in Cairo.
“I don’t think anything was going to stop us tonight in the championship game,” Rana said.
Henry —an incoming point guard for the Rams—didn’t have the best outing, going 0-4 from the field for 0 points while also posting a rebound and an assist in just over 11 minutes of action.
Canada’s RJ Barrett, 17, put on another memorable performance Sunday, leading Canada with 18 points, 12 rebounds and four assists against Italy. It helped him secure tournament MVP honours after also posting 38 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in the semi-final game.
Canada held momentum throughout most of the championship match, going into halftime with a 51-36 lead that the team was able to maintain until the final buzzer.
Winning gold at the U19 World Cup is Rana’s latest accomplishment on the international stage. In 2010, he helped lead Canada to a bronze medal at the World U17 Championships, coaching a squad that featured NBA star Andrew Wiggins.
In the fall, Rana and Henry will try to lead Ryerson to the team’s third straight Ontario University Athletics title.