Bruce Weber and Shane Southwell are bringing home gold from Greece.
Weber and Southwell helped the United States complete an undefeated run through the FIBA U19 World Cup on Sunday, beating Mali 93-79 in the championship game.
Weber, Kansas State’s head men’s basketball coach, served in the same position at the World Cup, guiding Team USA to its seventh gold medal at the U19 World Cup — the first since 2015 — with a 7-0 record. Southwell, recently promoted as the Wildcats’ director of student-athlete development, was Team USA’s video coordinator. Other members of Team USA’s coaching staff included college head coaches Mike Hopkins (Washington) and LeVelle Moton (North Carolina Central).
“Obviously, it’s a real honor, and I think our player appreciate it, too,” Weber said in a release. “When the national anthem starts playing and you have a gold medal on, it’s special. I know it brought a little bit of tears to me. You’re just so proud to be part of it.”
Team USA averaged more than 100 points per game, winning its seven contests by an average of 28.7 points. It consisted of victories over New Zealand (111-71), Lithuania (102-84) and Senegal (87-58) to first place in Group A, followed by wins over Latvia (116-66) in the group of 16, Russia (95-80) in the medal round, Lithuania (102-67) in the semifinals and Mali in the finals.
Mali led 42-40 after a back-and-forth first half Sunday. But the Americans started the third quarter on 12-0 run that eventually became a 17-2 stretch, taking a 59-42 lead with 5:42 left in the period. Mali never drew closer than seven points the rest of the way.
“Our guys have been great since Day 1. They bought in,” Weber said. “Everyone said we played hard, but it was the team that played hard, and man they played hard. When we shared the ball and played hard, and played good defense, we were unstoppable.”
Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry won the most valuable player award for the tournament, averaging 13.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. Weber and the Wildcats will face Perry and the rest of his Bulldog teammates during the upcoming season as part of the Never Forget Tribute Classic at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Dec. 14.
Iowa State’s Tyrese Haliburton joined Perry on the five-member all-tournament team.
Dating back to 1979, the U19 World Cup is played every two years and features the world’s top players 19 years old and younger. Team USA now boasts seven gold medals, three silver medals and one bronze medal in 14 U19 competitions, including gold in four of the past six U19 World Cups (2009, 2013, 2015 and 2019).
An active participant with USA Basketball for close to two decades, Weber was a court coach at Pan American Games team trials in 1991 and spent time with the Men’s World University Games in 1989 as well as the R. Williams Jones Cup team in 1985, which were led by K-State alum and former Purdue head coach Gene Keady. Weber most recently served on USA Basketball’s Men’s Junior National Committee, which selects coaches and players for its college-aged competitions.
Heading into his eighth season at K-State, Weber owns an overall record of 150-89 (.628), with five NCAA Tournament appearances (2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, 2019) and two Big 12 regular-season championships (2013, 2019). His 150 wins are the third-most (after Hall of Famers Jack Hartman and Tex Winter) in school history, and the most since Hartman retired as the school’s all-time winningest coach (295 victories) in 1986.
With Weber at the helm, the Wildcats have put together back-to-back 25-win campaigns for the first time in school history, with an Elite Eight run in 2017-18 and a share of the Big 12 regular-season title last year.
Southwell spent the past two seasons as a graduate assistant. During his playing career, he was part of 92 wins and four NCAA Tournament appearances with the Wildcats. He also played professionally in Mexico, Australia and Switzerland.