Bria Smith Survives, Succeeds In First USA Training Camp
June 14, 2010 - Colorado Springs, Colo.
Bria Smith, a 5-10 guard out of Christ the King High School in New York, may be one of the new girls on the 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team, but just a week into training camp, Smith says those distinctions no longer matter.
Named on June 11, the 2010 USA U17 World Championship squad includes nine members of the 2009 USA U16 National Team and three who will don their first red, white and blue jersey in 2010. Smith says all 12 players are quickly becoming a team, and she would know something about a team. A 2010 Parade Magazine All-America third team honoree and a member of the 2010 ESPN Rise All-American first team, Smith has won two high school state championships and is looking for her first gold medal in the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Women, which will be played July 16-25 in Toulouse and Rodez, France.
Before the team concludes its first of two training camps on June 15, USA Basketball.com sat down with Smith to talk about her resilience, her state titles and her first week of training camp.
Can you go back to 2009, when you weren't selected following the U16 National Team Trials, how did you handle that?
I just used it pretty much as motivation, just to keep me going. It just pushed me to work harder.
Before they announced the team, did you feel like you had a better trials this year?
I thought my effort was better this year. But the way I was playing, I didn't feel like I played up to my potential.
What did it feel like when they announced your name as a member of the 2010 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team?
It felt good because now I know that some of my hard work paid off.
What has training camp been like? Harder or easier than you expected?
It's been harder. It's a lot of new stuff that I never even heard before like, playing up the line (on deny defense). I had never heard that defensive aspect before. So, I'm just taking this all as a learning experience. It's actually good for my game, too, because now I'm going deeper on my cuts (on the wing), and it's helping me get open.
As you are learning the style of USA head coach Barb Nelson, are the girls who played in 2009 helpful?
Yes. They know some things that I don't know, and I feel like I'm a little slower on some of the drills because it's my first time learning it. But, I'm just trying to do my best, and they are helping a lot. I'm appreciative.
You have won two state championship, including 2009-10 when you averaged 18.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.0 steals per game as a junior. What did that most recent title feel like?
It felt great. It feels so good when all your hard work pays off. Since the preseason, the team had been working really hard. It just felt great to finally be paid off and have all the doubters be silent because we won.
It does sound like you are working hard. Are you pretty tired?
I'm exhausted, but this ice is helping a lot.
Are you enjoying your time off the court?
The dorms are so much fun. We're all friends, so we just hang out together, talk, act crazy sometimes. It's fun. It's a lot of fun.
Is that the most enjoyable part of this experience?
No, playing is the most enjoyable. But being here, being around good players, everything is enjoyable. Having fun with your friends, it's just great.
What's the hardest part?
The hardest part is running so much and trying to meet the expectations of being a part of a USA Basketball team. It feels like a lot of pressure to try to work to get to the gold.
Are your friends and family back home telling you they are proud?
Everyone is supporting me. My parents, my grandparents, my whole family is supporting me. My friends. Everybody, since I've been out here, has been supporting me, so I'm very happy about that.
You've played under international rules for almost a week now. What do you think of the international game?
I think it's still going to take me a little bit more time to get totally adjusted, but I'm getting used to it.
Is there something you like or don't like about the international game?
It's faster. It's a whole bunch faster. You pretty much just have to push the ball. You only get eight seconds in the back court. It's just faster. I love pushing the ball, so it's good for me.
The USA has a few weeks off before training camp resumes on July 6. What are you going to do with your time until then?
I'm just going to work out. There is nothing in the way of me training hard and coming back in good shape. I'm going to try and do some college visits during that time, but besides that, I'm just going to be working out.