Awaka Shines Statistically for Team USA at FIBA U19 World Cup

Awaka Shines Statistically for Team USA at FIBA U19 World Cup

Rising Tennessee sophomore Tobe Awaka was a top contributor—and a rebounding juggernaut—for Team USA during its fourth-place showing at the 2023 FIBA Men’s U19 World Cup in Debrecen, Hungary.

The United States (5-2) fell to Turkey in Sunday’s bronze-medal game, one day after losing to France in the semifinals. Spain defeated France in Sunday’s gold-medal game.

Awaka started six of seven games for Team USA and was the squad’s second-leading scorer, averaging 11.6 points while shooting .600 from the field. His 10.6 rebounds per game led Team USA and were the second-most among all players in the tournament.

Had France’s Zacharie Perrin not totaled 20 rebounds in the gold-medal game, Awaka would have finished as the event’s top rebounder. Awaka’s 20.4 rebounds per 40 minutes far and away led all players who logged significant minutes during the tournament.

In total, 35 of Awaka’s 74 rebounds came on the offensive glass (5.0 orpg). No other player in the field grabbed more offensive boards, with the next-closest player having 31.

Awaka—who averaged just 20.7 minutes per game—was the only player in the field to record four double-doubles. His 18.1 FIBA efficiency rating for the tournament was the best on Team USA and fifth-best among all players at the elite global event.

The United States team was coached by Colorado’s Tad Boyle, with Oklahoma State’s Mike Boynton Jr. and Boise State’s Leon Rice assisting.

All games from the 2023 FIBA U19 World Cup can be rewatched HERE.

Thanks in part to his valuable international experience this summer, Awaka appears poised to step into a larger role for the Vols this coming season after averaging 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game as a true freshman last year.


June 24 – USA defeats Madagascar, 136-69
In his USA Basketball debut, Awaka came off the bench and recorded 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting. In close to 16 minutes of action, he blocked two shots and hauled in seven rebounds—including four offensive boards.

June 25 – USA defeats Slovenia, 77-72
Promoted into Team USA’s starting lineup, Awaka logged a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Six of his rebounds came on the offensive glass, as the immense talent for extending possessions that he flashed as a freshman at Tennessee extended into FIBA international play.

June 27 – USA defeats Lebanon, 122-70
Awaka recorded a plus/minus rating of +14 during this 52-point victory for the Americans. In less than 12 minutes of action, he totaled five points, eight rebounds and a steal.

June 28 – USA defeats China, 92-69
With China threatening to take the lead during a third-quarter run, Awaka took over the game with a 10-point outburst during a game-changing 17-0 run by Team USA. He finished with a team-high 15 points and also grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for his second double-double of the tournament.

June 30 – USA defeats Japan, 105-61
Awaka made his fourth consecutive start, but his efficient play fueled Team USA to such an overpowering performance, he was only needed for 15:15 of game time. Despite the light workload in terms of minutes, he still produced another double, totaling 14 points and 10 rebounds. He shot 6-for-9 from the field, made both of his free-throw attempts and gobbled up six offensive boards in the win.

July 1 – France defeats USA,
Despite the disappointing result for Team USA, Awaka did a bit of everything in 24 highly efficient minutes. He shot 6-for-8 from the field, and his final line featured 14 points, 11 rebounds, four steals and a block. The game marked his tournament-leading fourth double-double of the tournament.

July 2 – Turkey defeats USA, 84-70
Awaka led the United States with 13 rebounds while also chipping in seven points and a steal. His putback slam midway through the third quarter brought the trailing U.S. squad to within one point, but Turkey immediately reeled off an 11-2 run to restore its double-digit lead. His 30 minutes played were his most in any game at the U19 World Cup.

-UT Athletics

Vols F Tobe Awaka / Credit: UT Athletics

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