The spotlight on Chris Livingston grew even brighter over the weekend.

An Akron resident who will be a sophomore on the Buchtel boys basketball team in 2019-2020, Livingston led USA Basketball to the championship at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Belém, Brazil, on Sunday. He scored 23 points, grabbed six rebounds and had two assists in USA's 94-77 win over Canada in the gold medal game at the Guilherme Paraense Arena.

Livingston made 10-of-15 field goals, including 1-of-3 3-pointers, and both of his free-throw attempts in 25 minutes against Canada en route to being named MVP of the tournament.

“It feels great,” Livingston said of the MVP award in an article on usab.com. “It’s really a tribute to the team because I couldn’t do it without the team. They were getting me open shots and things like that.”

Playing in five of USA Basketball’s six games, Livingston scored 74 points, grabbed 40 rebounds and had nine assists, five blocks and five steals in 98 minutes.

“Chris’ motor and his energy and effort were contagious, and we saw that when we got to the tournament,” USA U16 coach Mike Jones told usab.com. “I don’t know who else you could have given that to just because of the way he played and how he affected everyone else’s energy.”

Livingston averaged 14.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 block and 1.0 steal per game. He made 30-of-65 field goals and 10-of-10 free throws.

USA Basketball has won the gold medal in all six editions of the biennial event, which was first held in 2009, and has compiled a 31-0 record during that time.

The five-man all-tournament team this year featured Livingston, USA teammate Jalen Duren of Roman Catholic High School in Pennsylvania, Caleb Houston and Ryan Nembhard from Canada and Jean Montero from the Dominican Republic.

Duren had 10 points and eight rebounds in the final game. Also scoring in double digits in the final for the U.S were AJ Griffin (Ossining, N.Y., 18 points), Jabari Smith Jr. (Tyrone, Ga., 14 points), Amari Bailey (Chatsworth, Calif., 12 points) and and Richard Isaacs Jr. (Las Vegas, Nev., 11 points).

“Chris came up big [on Sunday],” Duren told usab.com. “Chris has played very well throughout the whole tournament and he deserved [the MVP].”

USA went 6-0 in the tournament, followed by Canada (5-1), the Dominican Republic (4-2), Brazil (3-3), Argentina (2-4), Puerto Rico (2-4), Mexico (1-5) and Uruguay (1-5). The Dominican Republic earned the bronze medal with a 80-77 win over Argentina. The top four teams qualified for the 2020 FIBA U17 World Cup.

The United States opened the tournament with Group A wins over Argentina (83-57) on June 3, Mexico (104-52) on June 4 and the Dominican Republic (122-71) on Wednesday. Livingston had eight points and four rebounds against Argentina, and 14 points and 11 rebounds versus the Dominican Republic.

The Americans then topped Puerto Rico (102-51) on Friday and Argentina (90-58) on Saturday before defeating Canada. Livingston had 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists against Puerto Rico, and 16 points and 12 rebounds versus Argentina.

Livingston joins five previous USA U16 MVPs: Bradley Beal (2009), Jabari Parker (2011), Malik Newman (2013), Gary Trent Jr. (2015) and Vernon Carey Jr. (2017).

 

Michael Beaven can be reached at mbeaven@thebeaconjournal.com.