Alexis Gray-Lawson Honored By Peers As 2009 USA World University Games Team Flag Bearer
July 1, 2009 - Belgrade, Serbia
|Alexis Gray-Lawson leads her U.S. teammates into Opening Ceremonies.|
- Opening Ceremonies Photo Gallery
University of California rising senior Alexis Gray-Lawson of Oakland, Calif., was elected on June 30 by the 2009 USA World University Games Team delegation to represent the United States of America as the USA's flag bearer for the 2009 World University Games. Gray-Lawson, whose father was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer, carried the United States flag and led the U.S. delegation into Opening Ceremonies, which included 88 different countries, on Wednesday night.
-For me it's a day-to-day process, trying to stay focused, understanding the importance of being one of the oldest in my family, trying to carry on the legacy of my dad," said Gray-Lawson, the third of nine siblings who range from 11 to 26 years old. -He's pretty happy right now. He's his old self and as long as I'm making him happy by being here, I'm going to do it. I talked to him yesterday and I told him I get to carry the flag. He's so excited for me. I'm glad to see him happy.
-My dad taught me how to play basketball. He was my high school coach. He's at every game. He's definitely been a big support in my life, he and my mom. Me, being close with my dad, I can talk to him about pretty much anything. I've always had a close relationship with him and my mom. I'm probably the most spoiled out of all the kids."
Competing on her first USA Basketball team this summer, Gray-Lawson was named in 2006 as a finalist for the USA Women's U20 National Team, but was forced to withdraw from consideration for the team after injuring her left MCL. A few months later she tore the ACL in her right knee nine games into her sophomore season at Cal.
-It's the worst feeling in the world," said Gray-Lawson, who will return as a redshirt senior in 2009-10. -Anytime you get an opportunity to get to do something and you're not at full strength to do it, obviously you kind of wonder â€˜should I come back?' My dad and mom definitely taught me that things come your way for certain purposes. I've learned so much from them. Hurting my knee that summer and tearing my ACL later that year, I grew up. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to come back this year and play with these girls, meet them and learn about new people. I'm just excited and I'm glad that I did go through all the obstacles that I had to go through to be on this team."
Gray-Lawson and her USA teammates began World University Games play today with a 115-30 victory over France. She posted 14 points, dished out three assists and was credited with two steals.
The 2009 USA World University Games Team is being coached by Arizona State University's Charli Turner Thorne. Turner Thorne is being assisted by collegiate head coach Suzy Merchant of Michigan State University and Julie Rousseau of Pepperdine University.
Featuring three two-time USA Basketball gold medalists in Jantel Lavender (Ohio State / Cleveland, Ohio), Maya Moore (Connecticut / Lawrenceville, Ga.) and Kayla Pedersen (Stanford / Fountain Hills, Ariz.), the USA team also includes Tina Charles (Connecticut / Jamaica, N.Y.); Tiffany Hayes (Connecticut / Lakeland, Fla.); Ashley Houts (Georgia / Trenton, Ga.); Danielle McCray (Kansas / Olathe, Kan.); Jacinta Monroe (Florida State / Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); Ta'Shia Phillips (Xavier / Indianapolis, Ind.); Jeanette Pohlen (Stanford / Brea, Calif.); and Danielle Robinson (Oklahoma / San Jose, Calif.).
The U.S. squad continues preliminary play against Great Britain on July 2 at 12:30 p.m. (6:30 a.m. EDT); followed by host Serbia on July 3 at 5:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. EDT). Second round action takes place July 5-7, the medal semifinal round will be played on July 9 and the medal finals will be played on July 11.