N.S. players help Team Canada to gold medal win at FIBA Under-19 World Cup
Two Nova Scotian teens helped Team Canada become world champions in Egypt Sunday, as Canada defeated Italy in the gold medal game of the FIBA Under-19 World Cup.
The 79-60 victory was our country’s first gold medal in a FIBA sanctioned tournament.
NBA stars like Steve Nash and Andrew Wiggins tweeted their congratulations, as Canada proved it's an up and coming basketball powerhouse, with talent that extends from coast to coast.
Dartmouth's Lindell Wigginton and Bedford's Nate Darling represented Nova Scotia as players on the team, while legendary St. Francis Xavier coach Steve Konchalski was an assistant coach.
Wigginton, the team's captain, scored 11 points in the final, after missing the previous two games with injury.
Darling scored 12 points in the final and had 13 in Canada's semi-final upset win over the two time defending champions from the United States.
“We're all super happy for him because he's made so many sacrifices and put so much time in,” says Jason Darling, Nate’s father. “This has been a goal of his to play for the national team.”
Both guards are now heading south of the border to play university basketball.
Darling is going into his second year at the University of Alabama Birmingham, while Wigginton is entering his freshman year at Iowa State as the team's top recruit.
Wigginton spoke to CTV Atlantic last summer about the pride he feels in playing for his country.
“Just knowing I can represent Canada and have that on my chest is a great feeling,” says Wigginton.
Wigginton comes from a basketball family and his parents are overjoyed by their youngest son’s success.
“I'm very proud of him, he's accomplished a lot for his age, he knows what he wants and he's going after it,” says Nicole Wigginton-Downey, Lindell’s mother.
“When you hear them talk, they have goals for themselves and they work their tails off to follow those goals, and that's why it's so gratifying for me and for the Nova Scotia basketball community and the Canadian basketball community, these guys work so hard,” says Jason Darling.
While they are both still teenagers, Wigginton and Darling are now role models for Nova Scotia's basketball stars of tomorrow.
“For these young men to come out of Nova Scotia and make such a big wave on the international scene, is such a great thing for our basketball community and the game in general,” says David Wagg, executive director of Basketball Nova Scotia.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Allan April