2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11
2014 USA 3x3 National Championship
Colorado Springs, Colo.
May 9-11

QUOTES: 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team Named

Colorado Springs, Colo. ē May 19, 2013

Katie Meier

USA head coach Katie Meier (University of Florida)
Are you pleased with the team the USA Basketball Junior National Team selected?
Iím thrilled. The length is incredible, the talent, the diversity. Everybody brings a little something different. That gives us a lot of choices as coaches in a lot of different ways that we can win basketball games.

How important is it to have some international veterans, including three from the last USA U19 World Championship Team, on this team?
Iím going to lean on them. They have experienced the (FIBA) U19 World Championship, and I have not. Iím going to really pick their brains and have them speak to the team about the experience, the pressure and the choices that you make while youíre out there.

Given the talent at trials, how tough of a decision do you think the committee had?
If they had asked me, I just donít know that I could have answered the question. So, I trust the committeeís decision. I trust that they have a deeper understanding of what is out there for us. They put together what I think is the team that answers any type of a question. We have speed. We have quickness. We have size. We have shooters. They really made sure that they gave us every weapon.

This is a very big team, how will that play into your game plan?
We need to start and end with the goal of being the leading rebounding team in the tournament. Thereís no question that thatís got to be what starts our break and answers some questions offensively. I think there are going to be a lot of shots in the paint, a lot of high-low action, obviously, but our bigs are versatile. Our bigs can slide over to the perimeter and give some real tough match-ups for us.

How excited are you about getting on the court with this group when it comes back together on July 1?
I think any coach in the world would love to be in my position right now, just to be able to work with this group, as talented as they are. Iíll tell you what, there were great displays of sportsmanship. They were great teammates throughout the trials, and thatís hard. Itís hard when you have all that pressure and you have a specific goal. You want something for yourself, and you have to show a care and concern for others. These 12 did a great job of that.

Candice Agee

Candice Agee (Penn State / Victorville, Calif.)
Youíve been through the selection process a few times now, were you still nervous?
I was up at like 5 a.m. this morning, I couldnít even sleep anymore, you know that feeling you get in your stomach, but I was thinking I did whatever I could this weekend and if I make it or not I know I worked hard. Itís always nerve-wracking because my last name is at the beginning and if my name isnít called first Iím done Ė so itís nerve-wracking. But I was really excited and I tried to keep my cool.

Youíve been through USA Basketball trials before, how much did that help this time?
Actually it was an experience for me to just take in and use for my freshman year and to try and get used to international play because itís so different from over here, itís so fast-paced and itís just going, going, going, so it helped me at the collegiate level of basketball. Iíve been training really hard and dying to come back and make the team. Iím really excited and happy about it.

What is your role going to be on this team, what can you bring to this yearís team?
Iím going bring a defensive post, I think Iím might mainly be a 5. What I need to do is to play to my strengths and not to try and do anything outside of what I know Iím supposed to do. Iím suppose to defend; Iím suppose to get rebounds; Iím suppose to get offensive rebounds and put-backs; I suppose to box out and take care of the paint.

Nia Coffey

Nia Coffey (Hopkins H.S./*Northwestern/Minneapolis, Minn.)
Were you nervous about learning if you had made the team?
Yeah, I was. This was my third time coming here and trying out so I knew what to expect and everything, but I just came in and played my hardest.

You mentioned you participated in two previous trials, what did you do differently or try to show the selection committee?
I came here just doing what I do best, not trying to do anything that Iím not comfortable doing. Just play my hardest and actually believe in myself and have confidence.

What is your role going to be on this team, what can you bring to this yearís team?
Iím an all-around player, Iím a good team player, so just bringing that team aspect to it and just being the best teammate I can.

Your brother, Amir, will be coming out in a few weeks to participate in the USA Basketball U16 Developmental National Team training camp, have you given him any words of advice?
I havenít, yet but I will be making a phone call to him. Iíll tell him just to play his game, be confident and just believe in himself and he can do it.

Bashaara Graves

Bashaara Graves (Tennessee/Clarksville, Tenn.)
Youíve been through the selection process a few times now, were you still nervous?
I was definitely still nervous.† When they were naming the names my heart was beating really fast, I was nervous and just really happy when I heard my name called.

Youíve been through USA Basketball trials before, how much did that help this time?
I think it gave me a lot more confidence coming into it because I already knew how Colorado was, I already knew how the trials go, so just being out here with the other girls this time I was able to be more of a leader then I was when I was trying out when I was younger.

What can you bring to this yearís team?
Definitely my leadership because Iím one of the oldest players on the team, my rebounding ability and just being a leader altogether, getting the team together and doing as much as I can to help us win.

Having the coaches and five players from last yearís U18 team obviously is going to be a big help, talk about how thatís going to be helpful this year?
It definitely helps a lot because we already know some of Katieís (USA head coach Katie Meier) plays, we already have that bond with the coaches and that bond with each other, so we just need to help get the rest of the girls together and have the team work together.

What is it that brings you back every year to play for USA Basketball?
Itís a great opportunity and even if I donít make the team it is a great opportunity to come out here and play with the best and if I do make the team itís just great. Being a part of USA Basketball is unbelievable and a great experience.

Gabby Green

Gabby Green (St. Maryís College H.S./Oakland, Calif.)
How did you feel when you heard your named called this morning?
Honestly, I wouldnít say I was shocked, I was hoping my name would be called and when it did get called it felt like my heart skipped a beat, I just blanked out and didnít hear anybody elseís name, I was just really happy for me.†

Were you nervous?
Yeah I was very nervous before.† I was talking to ĎNae (Linnae Harper) before the whole thing and I was like, ĎOh my God, five more minutes, five more minutesí Ė it was like the longest five minutes ever. It felt like forever.

Youíve been part of two previous trials, what did you focus on trying to do in this trials?
Just standing out and not just trying to play just one position, but trying to be as versatile as I can, get a lot of boards, push the ball when I can and to show that I can dribble, and just try to be different than a regular guard or whatever people think I am.

What do you see your role will be with this team?
Definitely rebounds, good defense and hitting open shots when I can.

When you put the USA uniform on this morning (for a team photo) did it hit you that you had done it?
Yeah it did.† When we were in the room (for a team meeting) I was like, Ďis this real?í† But then I put the jersey on and it was like a dream come true, I never imagined that this would actually happen to me.

Linnae Harper

Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S./*Kentucky/Chicago, Ill.)
How did you feel when you heard your name called for making the USA U19 Team?
Just being here the last day, everyone was anxious and ready to hear their name called and every year Iíve been here Iím always nervous, my stomach feels like it is dropping and spinning, lack of rest, then to hear my name called was a big relief. I was so excited. This is another opportunity to represent our country and be with another group of girls Iíve never played with, a mixture of college and high school, and I really canít wait to spend a nice month with them.

You have two USA Basketball experiences behind you, what do those experiences offer you and what can you bring to this team from those experiences?
Every year it gets harder in different ways and you gain more. I think this year tryouts for this team were very competitive and each player on this team brings something different and I think if we bring everything together we can be very successful this year and get the gold. I think to this team I can bring toughness and just be competitive, leadership, and do whatever I can do to make sure we get the gold.

What is it that brings you back every year to USA Basketball?
Every time I step on the court I give it my all and also do the little things. Being very aggressive on both ends of the court, just being smart and aware of things, and also getting to know everyone here because it is a wonderful experience and there are a lot people who wish they were here and to be here in this spot. Iím really honored and blessed.

Kelly Graves

Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut/Glenn Heights, Texas)
How did you feel when you heard your name called for making the USA U19 Team?
Coming out here, youíre playing with a bunch of great people and everybody is doing their best and going their hardest and you never really know until the last second when they call your name.

Youíre on the U19 team that includes the coaches and five players from last yearís U18 team, how is that going to be helpful this year?
It will help a lot because we already know what coach (USA U19 head coach Kate Meier) expects and we know a lot of the plays, so we can help the younger guys, and the people that just came in we can show what it is like to be on this team.

What is your role going to be on this team, what can you bring to this yearís team?
Leadership, point guard experience and trying to get everybody into their position. And also defense, thatís one of the main things I take pride in, so I can come out and try to push the tempo a little bit with my defense.

What is it that brings you back to USA Basketball each summer?
I just love it. You come out here and get a lot of great experience, you get in shape with the altitude, you meet a lot of great people and thatís just the basketball part of it and you want to represent your country, but outside of that you meet a lot of great people and have a great time while youíre here.

Alexis Jones

Alexis Jones (Duke/Irving, Texas)
What did it feel like when you heard your named called and knew you had made your third USA Basketball team?
It felt really good to know that I made the team again. We all worked hard in the tryouts to make the team. Coming out here and making the team again, I really felt good and Iím happy about making the team.

How tough was the competition this weekend?
The competition was really tough. There were a lot of guards out there, there were a lot of good posts, but it was fun and exciting.

At the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship you were one of the youngest players on the team. How will your role change with this team?
I think my role is changing. Iím more of a leader now than sitting back watching, standing and watching the other top players who I played with. Now Iím more of a leader, and Iím trying to guide people in helping them out during the situation weíll be going through because Iíve been there before.

Knowing what you know about international competition, how tough do you think it will be in Lithuania?
Itís going to be real tough. The games are going to be really fast. They all play as a team. A lot of the teams have been playing together for a real long time, so itís going to be tough.

Whatís the best thing about playing for USA Basketball?
The best thing is just that youíre representing your country, and you have that jersey on. Youíre out there showing everyone that youíre going to represent the right way, and youíre going to get the gold medal for them.

Kelsey Plum

Kelsey Plum (La Jolla Country Day/*Washington/Poway, Calif.)
What kind of emotions were you feeling when you heard your name called as one of the USA U19 World Championship Team members?
This is like a dream come true. Itís like a blessing from God that one, I get invited, and then two, you play your best basketball at the right time. Itís a great opportunity. Iím kind of at a loss for words.

You participated in the 2012 USA U18 National Team trials. Did that experience help you this weekend?
Absolutely. I think the first time I came, I had a lot of pressure on myself. I was really nervous. Youíre playing with great players and youíre trying to push and push. I think this weekend it was like ĎIím going to have fun. Itís the best pick-up basketball in the world. So, make it or not, Iím going to have a lot of fun.í I think that really helped.

How tough was the competition this weekend?
Oh, itís ridiculous. Freak athletes. Probably four of them on the team can dunk, right? So, being 5-8 and everything, itís one of those things that you kind of have to step back and be like, Ďwow.í Theyíre so amazing.

What does it mean for you to be able to represent your country and have the opportunity to play for a gold medal?
Itís an honor. Itís an absolute honor. Iím just going to take it a step at a time. Itís an absolute honor, but I have a lot of work to do between now and when I come back.

What do you think about your teammates?
Theyíre great. Theyíre all super unselfish. The main goal is to win. We donít have any Ďmeí type people, and I think itís going to be really beneficial in the future. Down the line making that extra pass goes a long way.

Breanna Stewart

Breanna Stewart (Connecticut/North Syracuse, N.Y.)
This is your sixth USA Basketball team, what keeps you motivated to keep coming back?
USA Basketball is the best thing about my summer. Thatís what I look forward to, creating new experiences with new people. Sometimes theyíre with the same people, but itís just really fun. And I enjoy going for the gold medal.

At the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship you were one of the youngest players on the team. How will your role change with this team?
Itís funny how my role is changing, because this is my second U19 team. Last time I was one of the younger ones. This time Iím one of the older ones, and itís weird. But, I have to be a leader because Iíve been in these situations before and some people havenít. I have to help show them the ropes.

What does it mean for you to represent your country in this manner?
Itís an honor. I appreciate everything USA Basketball has done for me in letting me keep coming back to try out again and again, and continuing to go for gold medals. I donít think thereís anything else you can ask for.

What can you teach some of the younger players about USA Basketball, both on and off the court?
USA Basketball on the court, obviously youíre going to go out, youíre going to play your heart out, youíre going to leave everything on the court because this is 12 people who are considered at the top of high school and college basketball for their age group. Teams are coming after us, and they want to beat us. We have to know that every teamís going to play us the best they can, and we need to just keep our composure.

Off the court, you really have to represent the United States and show people in other countries who we are, create our own image of ourselves. We need to try to change their minds about the United States in a positive way.

Morgan Tuck

Morgan Tuck (Connecticut/Bolingbrook, Ill.)
How does it feel to be returning to USA Basketball for another chance at a gold medal?
It feels really great. Every time just gets better and better. We have a different group. We have a couple Iíve played with before with USA Basketball, but I think itís more exciting because we have a lot of new people on this team.

At the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship you were one of the youngest players on the team. How will your role change with this team?
Definitely being more of a leader. When I was on the team the last time I just tried to fit in and try to make my mark. Now I need to take more of a leadership role and try to make sure that the younger players who havenít been here before understand the international game and they feel comfortable with it.

What can you contribute to this team?
I think I can help with the low post presence. We are a really big team and Iím the smallest post, but I feel that I can use my physicalness around the basket. I think I can be a good leader out on the court.

You already have three gold medals in international competition. Can you describe the feeling of winning a gold medal and why it keeps you coming back for more?
Itís a great feeling. It makes you feel like youíre the best in the world. When I get up there, I think of the pictures of the Olympic team when theyíre on the podium, and thatís my dream one day. I feel like Iím slowly getting closer. I just love coming back. You get to play with the best players in the country. You play with people at school and your same team, but to come out in the summer, get together, practice a little bit and then go play, itís a great feeling.

Brianna Turner

Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S. / Pearland, Texas)
What kind of emotions were you feeling when you heard your name called as one of the USA U19 World Championship Team members?
I was actually in complete shock. I had lots of doubt about making this team this year, playing against the older college girls. Especially since Iím a post player, theyíre a lot stronger than me.

What do you think you did well that stood out in front of the committee?
Probably my perimeter defense because I know I didnít have a really good offensive session. So, I tried to play hard defense, block shots, pick up whoever had the ball if no one was on them.

What does it mean for you to have the chance to play for a third gold medal playing for USA Basketball?
This is unbelievable. You canít put words to this feeling. This is just like, this is me, Ďreally? I get this opportunity?í This shows that all my hard work, all of those nights in the gym, is really paying off.

What does it mean for you to have the opportunity to represent your country in this way?
This is great. Iím 16 years old, and Iím representing my country. Itís just a really cool experience. I like meeting people from other countries, too. Like last year I met people from Australia and from Japan. I would never get to meet those girls if I wasnít on this team.

What do you think about the team?
I love my teammates already. We have a really great group of girls, lots of length, and I really think weíre going to win this gold medal.

A'ja Wilson

Aíja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S/Hopkins, S.C.)
What kind of emotions were you feeling when you heard your name called as one of the USA U19 World Championship Team members?
Oh my gosh! It was a great feeling. At first I was shocked, to tell the truth because this weekend I felt that I had the roughest time. I did not feel that I played really well. But, when my name was called and my named being Wilson, it was the last name. I was just like, Ďuh oh.í And then finally she said Aíja Wilson, and I was like, Ďoh my gosh, this is such an honor.í Iím really excited.

What do you think stood out to the committee this weekend, what do you bring to the team?
I guess, me being so young, I kind of bring the energy sometimes. Iím not saying that everybody else is old, but I guess I can bring the energy. We have height, of course, and then we also have versatility. I think I also bring those things to the team, and being a good teammate.

What does it mean for you to be able to represent your country?
It means a lot. It really does. Iíve watched these girls on TV. Iíve gone to some of their games, and just to play with them, it means a lot. Playing the sport that I love and playing for the country that I love, itís just a great feeling to have.

Are you excited about learning from the coaching staff and the rest of your teammates?
Definitely I am. Iím very excited.

*Has signed a National Letter of Intent to attend and compete for school indicated.