Someone had to come out and say it. Team USA assistant coach Jim Boeheim didn’t shy away from it.

While the focus of the team’s gold-medal success centers around perennial stars like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving, often the unsung heroes don’t get enough credit.

Kyle Lowry, the unsung hero

“(Kyle Lowry) was the best team player out of everybody,” Boeheim told Michael Rosenberg of SI.com. “He just really bought in and was a great leader and gave everything he had every time he went out there. That was important for our team.”

Lowry, standing at 6-feet tall and 180 pounds, was Team USA’s feistiest defender next to swingman Paul George. Lowry wreaked havoc on the defensive end, coming out with steals and loose balls to generate transition opportunities.

While he didn’t boast gaudy stats during the tournament, the Toronto Raptors All-Star was clearly more willing to share the ball and run offensive sets, while Irving was often looking for his own shot.

In reality, Lowry was the more-fitting point guard to run coach Mike Krzyzewski‘s offense, but one couldn’t imagine Coach K denying his former Blue Devil the starting spot.

While Lowry is no Chris Paul, his willingness to get that second unit involved was key to get production off the bench. His efforts helped Team USA lead every team in bench scoring.

The spoils of victory

Maybe Lowry didn’t get the credit he deserved during the tournament, but it seems like the Villanova product didn’t come home with only a gold medal, but also the gold-medal game ball.

“Don’t worry about it, that thing’s with me,” Lowry told Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. “That thing is going home. That thing’s going with me.”