Bexley Wallace Ready To Represent USA
On the seventh day of training camp for the 2015 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team on June 20, Bexley Wallace and her 11 USA teammates arrived to the gym at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and were greeted by the sight of their white, USA jerseys, lined up numbers four through 15 and ready for the official team photo.
“It was amazing,” Wallace said. “They had our names on it, and it really hit me. This is all becoming real. We are about to leave and go represent our country.”
The 12-member USA Women’s U16 National Team was named on May 25 after four days of trials that began with 149 hopefuls.
The team members went home after trials and then returned for training camp on June 14. Since then, they have been preparing with practices twice a day, with the exception of Wednesday night for dinner, bowling and laser tag, and Friday morning for a video session and visit to Garden of the Gods park.
Wallace isn’t unfamiliar with practicing twice a day, but the stakes at a USA Basketball training camp are higher than normal.
“For AAU, our coach would do that,” Wallace explained. “(Here) you are pushed to go as hard as you can all the time, so it’s like you are really giving everything you can every second you are on the court.”
The athletes, who are all 16 years old or younger, have been consistently reminded to rest and eat well, and of how to accomplish those things, too.
“I’m starting to go to sleep earlier and wake up later, because I need more sleep, and sleeping in between two-a-days and getting plenty of water, so my body can recover, and eating right,” Wallace explained.
She also said she has seen growth in herself as a team member and basketball player.
“I think I’ve become more of leader in some ways that I wasn’t before, because before I wouldn’t really put myself out there as much, but now I’m starting to.”
One of six children, including five girls, Wallace said she has learned about cooperation and teamwork in her own home. Her siblings include her sisters Bailey (19), Brooklyn (12), Berry (10) and Blossom (7) and her brother Garner (13).
“It shows you how to work well with people and figure out issues without your parents, like when they are not home. You have to step up and show them what is right.”
When asked who is her role model, she points to her father, Christopher Wallace. Chris Wallace was a baseball pitcher at Wright State University who was drafted in the 14th round of the 1997 MLB Amateur Draft and played five years in the minor leagues.
“He was in, not like a bad situation, but he was in a worse situation than I am,” Wallace said of why she is inspired by her father. “I should be able to get myself up there, especially with his help. He has been to the professional level, and recruiting and things. He’s helping me through it, because he knows the ropes already.
“He shows me how to be strong by yourself,” Wallace added.
That lesson seems to have resonated.
“I’m not always confident, but when I get on the court, and once I stop thinking, it just comes to me.”
The USA will open play in the 2015 FIBA Americas U16 Championship against Argentina on June 24 in Puebla, Mexico. (streamed live online at FIBAAmericas.com.)
Wallace said that while she is grateful that both of her parents will be in the crowd to support her as she plays for USA Basketball, she is more than ready to step on the court regardless of almost all outside factors.
“It is going to be unbelievable, with the crowd, with people cheering you on, playing for your country.
“It is nice to have their support, but it is not needed. I have the whole country behind me.”