Former Georgia Basketball Star Damien Wilkins Wins Bronze with Team USA


At 35 years of age, former Georgia basketball star Damien Wilkins made his international debut, bringing home the  bronze medal in the 2016 Pan-Am Games.

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On Saturday, Damien Wilkins scored 18 points for the United States National Team in an 87-82 win over the Dominican Republic in the Pan-Am Games bronze medal matchup.

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Wilkins shot 7-of-11 from the field, including his only 3-point attempt, and was 3-of-3 from the line. He also claimed five rebounds, made two steals, and blocked two shots in his 33 minutes of play.

Fifteen hours after an emotional overtime loss to Canada in the semi-finals, the Americans made a sluggish return to the court. The Dominican Republic took advantage to lead 26-15 after one quarter and increased its lead to 13 points by halftime. Down 11 to open the fourth quarter, Wilkins capped a US surge with a 3-point play at the 4:03 mark to give the Americans their first lead of the day at 78-75. A Wilkins putback with 1:05 left put the U.S. up for good, 83-81 to take the bronze.

Jul 25, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; United States forward Damien Wilkins (12) shoots the ball against Dominican Republic forward Manuel Guzman (11) in the men

In the semi-final matchup with Canada, USA faced a team that included NBA players Andrew Nicholson (31 points against the USA) and Anthony Bennett (18). The USA’s best player has been Bobby Brown, who has spent a little time in the NBA but played last year in China.

The Canadian team also included Jamal Murray, the 2015 recruiting class’ top ranked shooting guard, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

Canada is closing the basketball gap with the USA and they sent the better team to this tournament, but they are still well back when both teams bring their A-list players.

Against the US, Kentucky signee Murray epitomized the Canadian determination to beat the Americans and win the gold on home turf. Murray lead the Canadians into overtime and after Anthony Randolph hit a three-pointer to put Team USA up 106-104 with 1:45 remaining in the extra period, Murray’s back-to-back threes put Canada ahead 110-106 with just 55 seconds left. Murray will play his freshman season at Kentucky.

But Murray and the Canadians failed in the second portion of their mission, losing to Brazil in the finals 86-71.

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Wilkins, the oldest member of the team at 35, made his international debut representing the U.S. He averaged 13.2 points while shooting 54.8 percent from the floor, 75.0 percent from 3-point range and 70.8 percent from the line. Wilkins also chipped in 5.0 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per game.

Wilkins was a two-year letterwinner for the Bulldogs in 2002-03 and 2003-04 and was co-captain his senior season. In 2004, he made the Seattle SuperSonics as an undrafted free agent and eventually played nine seasons in the NBA with five franchises – Seattle, Oklahoma City, Minnesota, Atlanta, Detroit and Philadelphia. Wilkins has played in the NBA’s D-League, China and Puerto Rico during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

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