Texas Signee Ariel Atkins Added To 2014 Women’s U18 National Team Trials Roster
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Ariel Atkins (Duncanville H.S. / Duncanville, Texas), the 2014 Morgan Wootten National Player of the Year and University of Texas signee, will join the previously-announced 27 of the nation’s top 18-and-unders at the 2014 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trials, held May 24-26 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The trials will be used to select the 12-member team that will compete in the USA Basketball-hosted 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship at the USOTC from Aug. 6-10.
In addition to earning the 2014 Morgan Wootten award at the 2014 McDonald’s All-American Game, Atkins was the 2013 Gatorade Texas Girls Basketball Player of the Year, a finalist for 2014 Naismith National Player of the Year and earned 2014 Texas Player of the Year honors from the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches and Dallas Morning News. During her prep career, Atkins led Duncanville to a pair of University Interscholastic League Texas State Tournament titles and a 105-game winning streak.
University of South Carolina head coach and three-time Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley, who also will serve as an assistant to the 2014 USA World Championship Team, is the 2014 USA U18 National Team head coach. Joining Staley on the USA U18 team sideline as assistants are collegiate head coaches Kim Barnes Arico (University of Michigan) and Jeff Walz (University of Louisville). Jackie Carson (Furman University) and Stefanie Pemper (U.S. Naval Academy) will serve as court coaches during the U18 trials.
In addition to Atkins, the 2014 USA U18 National Team Trials participants include: Lyneé Belton (The Bullis School / Clinton, Md.); Monique Billings (Santiago H.S. / Corona, Calif.); Receé Caldwell (Homeschooled / San Antonio, Texas); Sierra Calhoun (Christ the King H.S. / Brooklyn, N.Y.); Batouly Camara (Blair Academy / New York, N.Y.); Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy / O’Fallon, Mo.); Mikayla Cowling (St. Mary’s College H.S. / Benicia, Calif.); Sophie Cunningham (Rock Bridge H.S. / Columbia, Mo.); LaJahna Drummer (Long Beach Poly H.S. / Inglewood, Calif.); Kortney Dunbar (Edwardsville H.S. / Edwardsville, Ill.);Jamasha ‘Meme’ Jackson (Blackman H.S. / Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Jazmine Jones (Florida A&M H.S. / Tallahassee, Fla.); Moné Jones (Riverside H.S. / Durham, N.C.); Paris Kea (Greensboro Page H.S. / Greensboro, N.C.); Kyra Lambert (Samuel Clemens H.S. / Schertz, Texas); Marina Mabrey (Manasquan H.S. / Manasquan, N.J.); Teaira McCowan (Brenham H.S. / Brenham, Texas); Beatrice Mompremier (Miami H.S. / Miami, Fla.); Mariya Moore (Salesian H.S. / Richmond, Calif.); Ali Patberg (Columbus North H.S. / Columbus, Ind.); Cierra Porter (Rock Bridge H.S. / Columbia, Mo.); Jessica Shepard (Fremont H.S. / Fremont, Neb.); Azura Stevens (Cary H.S. / Raleigh, N.C.); Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S / Pearland, Texas);Destinee Walker (Lake Highland Prep School / Ocoee, Fla.); Steph Watts (Weddington H.S. / Wesley Chapel, N.C); and A’ja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S. / Hopkins, S.C.).
Athletes participating in the May 22-26 USA U17 World Championship Team Trials are also eligible for selection to the USA U18 National Team and may be asked to contend to be a part of the 12-member roster.
The six trials sessions will be held in Sports Center 1, with two sessions on May 24, starting at 11 a.m. (all times are MDT) and 4 p.m. The May 25 sessions tip-off at 10:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.; while on May 26, trials will begin at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., followed by the U18 team announcement that evening.
The 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, including: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States. The top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
Players eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 1996.
In all, and including the three gold medalists, there are 12 athletes with prior USA Basketball experience among the trials participants.
Caldwell won a gold medal with the 2011 USA U16 National Team at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship, while Turner and Wilson teamed up to aid the USA to gold at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship. Turner has the most experience with USA Basketball as she also collected gold at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship and owns a trio of 3x3 gold medals, winning at the 2012 and 2013 FIBA U18 3x3 World Championships and the 2013 FIBA Americas 3x3 U18 Championship.
Belton, Calhoun, Cowling, Drummer, Moore and Turner participated in the 2011 USA U16 National Team Trials; Belton, Calhoun, Drummer and Wilson were on the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team Trials roster; and Drummer was moved up from the 2012 U17 trials to compete in the 2012 USA U18 National Team trials.
Last summer Cunningham, Collier and Porter’s Primus team finished in second place at both the 2013 USA Basketball 3x3 National Championship and USA 3x3 U18 National Championship; while Dunbar was a member of the Black Venom squad that finished in third place at the 2013 USA 3x3 U18 National Championship.
The 28 athletes hail from 13 states, with Texas being represented by five athletes; California and North Carolina boast four athletes each; Florida and Missouri list three; New York has two athletes on the list; while Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Tennessee and South Carolina have one apiece.
A total of 13 athletes will graduate high school this year, 12 will graduate in 2015 and one athlete is a rising junior who will graduate in 2016. At 6-foot-7, McCowan lists as the tallest on the roster and Caldwell and Kea are the shortest at 5-foot-8. The oldest is Stevens, who was born on Feb. 1, 1996, while the youngest is Watts, born on April 16, 1997.
Chaired by University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster, USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Melanie Balcomb (Vanderbilt University), Lindsay Gottlieb(University of California) and Joi Williams (University of Central Florida); and 2008 Olympic gold medalist Kara Lawson serves as the athlete representative.
FIBA Americas U18 Championship
Originally known as the FIBA Americas Junior World Championship Qualifying Tournament, the event was held every four years from 1998-2004. FIBA changed its calendar following the 2004 championship; and the tournament is now conducted every other year, followed in the next summer by the FIBA U19 World Championship.
USA women’s teams boast of a remarkable 43-2 overall record in U18 / Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, while capturing silver medals in 1992 and 1996.
Numerous future stars have competed for USA Basketball at the U18s, including: Jayne Appel (2006); Alana Beard (2000); Kelsey Bone (2008); Tamika Catchings (1996); Marissa Coleman (2004); Skylar Diggins(2008); Sonja Henning (1988); Niesa Johnson (1992); Rebecca Lobo (1992); Maya Moore (2006); Chiney Ogwumike (2010); Nneka Ogwumike (2008); Candace Parker (2004); Courtney Paris (2004); Cappie Pondexter (2000); Nicole Powell (2000); Breanna Stewart (2012); Diana Taurasi (2000); Morgan Tuck(2012); and Candice Wiggins (2004).
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball, chaired by Jerry Colangelo, is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men’s and women’s basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the U.S. by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA-sponsored international competitions, as well as for some national competitions, and for the development of youth basketball initiatives that address player development, coach education and safety.
During the 2009-12 quadrennium, 1,273 male and female players and 235 coaches participated in USA Basketball, including USA Basketball teams and trials, and USA Basketball 3x3 FIBA championships.
USA Basketball men’s and women’s teams between 2009-12 compiled an impressive 262-35 win-loss record in FIBA and FIBA Americas competitions, the Pan American Games, the World University Games, the Nike Hoop Summit and in exhibition games.
USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions in the Olympics; men’s and women’s FIBA World Championships (Basketball World Cup); men’s and women’s FIBA U19 and U17 World Championships; men’s and women’s U18 and U16 FIBA Americas Championships; the FIBA 3x3 Women’s World Championship; and the FIBA 3x3 Women’s U18 World Championship. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA’s world-ranking categories, including combined, men’s, women’s, boys and girls.
For further information about USA Basketball, go to the official Web site of USA Basketball at www.usab.com and connect with us on facebook.com/usabasketball, twitter.com/usabasketball, plus.google.com/+usabasketball, instagram.com/usabasketball and youtube.com/usab.