CAIRO, Egypt - Ryerson men's basketball head coach Roy Rana guided the Canadian U19 Junior National Team to an historic gold medal on Sunday in Egypt as Canada defeated Italy at the FIBA U19 World Cup to claim the country's first championship in an international FIBA-regulated event.
"I don't think anything was going to stop us tonight in the championship game," said Rana following the victory. "Incredible tournament, like most world championships. Lots of ups and downs, twists and turns, but our guys stayed in it. They were mentally tough, they believed in themselves, and we found a way. Incredible moment for our country, for these kids…it's unbelievable to be able to say that we're the best team on the planet at the U19 age level. It's hard to express what we're feeling right now as a group.”
The Canadians lost just once throughout the tournament, a round robin game to Spain. Rana's team finished second in their group to face Angola in the round of 16 before taking on France in the quarter-final. A victory there set up a showdown with the four-time defending champion United States in the semifinal in which Canada dispatched their southern rivals 99-87 to advance to their first championship game. In the final, Canada trailed for all of one minute to start the game and then dominated Italy to win 79-60.
Rana will return from his triumphant summer looking to lead the Rams to their third straight provincial championship this season.