Alexis Morris Is Loving The Competition At USA U16 Training Camp
After four days of practicing with the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team this week at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Alexis Morris (Legacy Christian Academy/Beaumont, Texas) says she feels right at home.
“I love USA (Basketball),” she said. “I’m learning a lot from the coaches. I’m learning a lot here, and I love it here.”
Specifically, the 5-foot-6 guard said she is improving upon her leadership skills on the court.
“They are teaching me how to be a point guard – being a vocal leader and getting my teammates involved, telling my teammates where to be on the court,” Morris explained. “They are really teaching me a lot about the point guard position.
“I’m picking it up, and there are growing pains as well, because I feel like some stuff I should know.”
When asked about her favorite part of training camp so far, she answers that she loves the competition, which is a good thing considering Morris is working with and against some of the best girls basketball players who are 16 years old or younger twice a day in practice.
“You get to show your skill,” Morris said of why she loves to compete. “You get to go against your opponent, and if your opponent thinks she is better than you, than you get to prove that you are better than her.
“I love winning.”
There was a time when Morris was proving herself better than the boys. After first picking up a basketball at 3 years old, Morris said she fell in love with the game almost immediately.
“When I was little I played for coach Rideaux at the YMCA in Beaumont, and I used to play with guys and I was the smallest one,” Morris explained. “They used to boss me around. As I got older, I started bossing them around. Boys made me tougher.”
As a sophomore in 2014-15 at Legacy Christian, Morris averaged 28.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 4.4 steals per game to help her team to a 29-7 record and a district title. She was named to the 2015 Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools 3A All-State first team.
Morris also runs the 100-meter and plays volleyball at Legacy Christian, and was named her volleyball team’s offensive player of the year in 2013-14.
“Volleyball is a team sport,” Morris explained of why she enjoys the game. “If you don’t have a back row, then how are you going to hit? So, it teaches you to play as a team.”
When asked what she enjoys about running, she has a different answer, “I don’t.” She quickly admits she does that to stay in shape and to keep herself busy with a positive activity.
“It definitely keeps me out of trouble. It keeps me busy, and it keeps me conditioned.”
There is a reason Morris is focused on managing her time well, including maintaining a 3.6 GPA, and that is because she has high hopes for her future.
“I want to be a professional athlete, so I know that I have to continue to work,” Morris said. “I have to think like … there is another point guard that is just as good as me. And if I take a day off, then she is working in the gym. So, I have to continue to work and push myself.”
This week at the United States Olympic Training Center, Morris is doing just that while staying at a complex where Olympians from many different sports come to train.
After staying at the USOTC for trials May 21-25, Morris was selected to the 12-member USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team. She and her teammates returned for training camp on June 7.
“It is an honor to play for the USA team,” said Morris. “No every body gets this opportunity. So I thank God, because this is a blessing to be picked out of like 150 girls. And to be in the final 12, I’m definitely blessed.”
On June 21, however, the USA U16 women will depart for the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship from June 24-28 in Puebla, Mexico. While the USA will be looking to capture a fourth-straight gold medal at the event, the top four finishing teams also will earn a berth into next summer’s 2016 FIBA U17 World Championship.
“It means a lot. It could be pressuring, because you don’t want to represent your country in a bad way. And it’s not just representing your country on the court, you are representing your country off the court, so you have to act a certain way.”Watch the USA Women’s U16 National team live online at FIBAAmericas.com beginning on June 24, when the USA takes on Argentina