After each led USA U19 World Cup Teams to perfect, 7-0 records and gold medals this past summer, Cori Close (UCLA) and Jamie Dixon (TCU) will share the 2021 USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year Award.
Under Close’s guidance, the USA women defeated opponents by an average of 47.0 points per game at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup from Aug. 7-15 in Hungary.
“I think the biggest honor is just to be included in USA Basketball,” Close said. “To be honored as the Developmental Coach of the Year, it’s something that I immediately would say thank you to Greg Callan, who managed our trip, Joni Taylor and Aaron Johnston (assistant coaches). That’s something that no individual does, so I’m incredibly honored, but I really just say thank you to the people that surrounded our group, that said, ‘Hey, gold medal habits were the most important thing. USA across the front of our chests is the most important thing.’ It almost makes me uncomfortable to have an individual name associated with the award, because that’s not how USA Basketball is built, but I still consider it a great honor and I’m so thrilled to be a part of it.”
The USA men topped teams by an average of 29.7 ppg. at the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup from July 3-11 in Latvia.
“It’s an honor to be a part of the winning tradition of USA Basketball,” said Dixon, who was the 2009 USA Basketball National Coach of the Year after he led the 2009 USA Men’s U19 World Cup Team to a gold medal. “It’s always a goal to continue to grow and develop and be a part of great programs. I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to be around great players and great coaches.”
USA Basketball has awarded its Developmental Coach of the Year award since 1996 to a USA Basketball head coach who during the year of the award made a significant impact on the performance of an athlete or team on a level other than the senior national level in a manner consistent with the highest ethical, professional and moral standards.
“The leadership of Cori and Jamie this past summer helped USA Basketball win gold medals in two of FIBA’s most competitive tournaments, and USA Basketball is grateful for their investment in our U19 national teams,” said Jim Tooley, USA Basketball CEO. “The 2021 USA Men’s and Women’s U19 Teams each featured the tournament MVP and an all-tournament selection, and they played outstanding basketball.”
The USA women featured MVP Caitlin Clark (Iowa/West Des Moines, Iowa), who was joined on the all-tournament team by USA guard Sonia Citron (Notre Dame/Scarsdale, N.Y.); while the USA men boasted of tournament MVP Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga/Minneapolis, Minn.), who was joined on the all-tournament team by USA guard Jaden Ivey (Purdue/Mishawaka, Ind.).
Among the 16 teams in the 2021 FIBA U19 World Cup, the USA women led in points per game (94.9 ppg.), total points (664), field goal percentage (.489), 3-point percentage (.363), rebounds (382), rebounds per game (54.6 rpg.), blocks (47), blocks per game (6.7), assists (182) and assists per game (26.0).
The 2021 USA Basketball Women’s U19 World Cup Team also featured Lauren Betts (Grandview H.S./Centennial, Colo.), Amari DeBerry (Connecticut/Buffalo, N.Y.), Sania Feagin (South Carolina/Ellenwood, Ga.), Azzi Fudd (Connecticut/Arlington, Va.), Diamond Johnson (NC State/Philadelphia, Pa.), Te-Hina Paopao (Oregon/Oceanside, Calif.), Jewell Spear (Wake Forest/The Colony, Texas), Payton Verhulst (Louisville/De Soto, Kansas), Lauren Ware (Arizona/Bismarck, N.D.), Jersey Wolfenbarger (Arkansas/Fort Smith, Ark.) and assistant coaches Aaron Johnston (South Dakota State) and Joni Taylor (Georgia).
Among the 16 teams in the men’s FIBA U19 World Cup, the USA led in points per game (95.0 ppg.), total points (665), field goal percentage (.477), assists (177) and assists per game (25.3).
The 2021 USA Basketball Men’s U19 World Cup Team also included Patrick Baldwin Jr. (Wisconsin-Milwaukee/Sussex, Wis.), Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee/Memphis, Tenn.), Jonathan Davis (Wisconsin/La Crosse, Wis.), Caleb Furst (Purdue/Fort Wayne, Ind.), Harrison Ingram (Stanford/Dallas, Texas), Ryan Kalkbrenner (Creighton/St. Louis, Mo.), Kenneth Lofton Jr. (Louisiana Tech/Port Arthur, Texas), Mike Miles (TCU/Highland Hills, Texas), Adam Miller (LSU/Chicago, Ill.), Peyton Watson (UCLA/Long Beach, Calif.) and assistant coaches Jerod Haase (Stanford) and James Jones (Yale).