Destiny Slocum Named To 2015 USA U19 World Championship Team
-- USA U19 Team To Begin Defense Of Title Against Spain On July 18 --
2015 Gatorade and USA Today Idaho Player of the Year, 5-foot-7 guard Destiny Slocum (Mountain View H.S./Meridian, Idaho) was today named to the 2015 USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team. One of 34 of the nation’s top 19-and-under athletes who participated in the May 14-17 USA U19 World Championship Team Trials, Slocum replaces University of Connecticut signee Katie Lou Samuelson (Mater Dei H.S./Huntington Beach, Calif.), who returned home during the USA’s training camp due to a family illness and will not be able to participate in the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The USA U19 squad is on a quest to capture a sixth-consecutive gold medal at the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, hosted from July 18-26 in Chekhov, Russia. The American women, which posted a 3-0 record in an exhibition tournament in Murcia, Spain, against U19 teams from Australia, Canada and Spain, arrive in Russia on July 16, and will have two final days of preparations prior to its July 18 tip-off against Spain (1:15 p.m. EDT live on YouTube.com/FIBA).
“It’s disappointing that we won’t have Katie Lou on our trip, someone who has so much USA Basketball international experience winning gold medals,” said USA U19 and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley. “You can’t really substitute someone who’s been through it at the U16 level, U17 level, 3x3. She is a seasoned vet and it’s going to be hard to replace someone like her. But, Destiny is willing to come in and help us challenge for a gold medal. It’ll be her first stint with USA Basketball, but she’s the type of player who is always in attack mode on both sides of the ball. So, what we lose in Katie Lou’s experience and her ability to stretch the floor, we gain with someone like Destiny who is able to shoot it from the outside. She’s got great court vision and she doesn’t mind playing defense on the other side of the ball. We look forward to getting her up to speed and her helping us win a gold medal in Russia.
“It was kind of crazy, because I didn’t think this was going to happen,” said Slocum, who will join the team in Russia on July 18. “The first alternate had already been picked up and to have a second one is pretty rare. I just started crying when I heard; I was so excited. I think it’s everything, it’s the honor you always want to have, you want to do something for your county and (as an athlete) this is the No. 1 thing you want to do.
“As happy as I am, I really feel bad for Katie Lou,” added Slocum. “I feel like it’s her spot, but I’m happy that I can come in and she can be home and support her family. I really feel bad. If I could switch and she could play and not go though what she is going through, I would switch in a heartbeat.”
In addition to Slocum, the 2015 USA U19 World Championship Team features: Kristine Anigwe (Desert Vista H.S./Phoenix, Ariz.); Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O’Fallon, Mo.); Lauren Cox (Flower Mound H.S./Flower Mound, Texas); Crystal Dangerfield (Blackman H.S./Murfreesboro, Tenn.); Mariya Moore (Louisville/Richmond, Calif.); Gabbi Ortiz (Oklahoma/Racine, Wis.); Ali Patberg (Columbus North H.S./Columbus, Ind.); Azurá Stevens (Duke/Raleigh, N.C.); Shakayla Thomas (Florida State/Sylacauga, Ala.); Chatrice White (Illinois/Shelby, Neb.) and A’ja Wilson (South Carolina/Hopkins, S.C.).
As a junior in 2014-15, the reigning Idaho Statesman Idaho Class 5A Player of the Year led Mountain View High to the program’s first Idaho 5A state championship in program history and a 26-1 record. She scored 26 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the 2015 state championship game and averaged 25.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 2.9 steals per game this past season. After leading her team to a 19-7 record as a freshman in 2012-13, the best mark to that date in Mountain View history, Slocum paced the Mavericks to a third-place finish in the 2014 Idaho 5A State Tournament.
Assisting Staley and the U19 squad are collegiate head coaches Kim Barnes Arico of the University of Michigan and Jeff Walz of the University of Louisville.
2015 FIBA U19 World Championship
The FIBA U19 Worlds will feature 16 teams with athletes 19 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1996). The 16 teams will be seeded following the July 18-21 preliminary play and advance to the knockout phase with the round of 16 on July 22. The quarterfinals are scheduled for July 24, semifinals are on July 25 and the tournament will end with the medal games on July 26.
Competing in Group A are host Russia, Argentina, the Netherlands and Japan; Group C consists of Belgium, Canada, and Mali; while Group D includes Australia, Brazil, Serbia and South Korea.
First held in 1985 and known as the FIBA Junior World Championship through 2001, the U19 World Championship features the world’s top players who are 19 years old or younger. Held every four years through 2005, FIBA now holds U19 World Championships every two years.
USA women’s teams are 66-12 in the U19/Junior World Championships, capturing a fifth-consecutive gold in 2013 with a 9-0 record. In all, the USA own a record six gold medals and one bronze medal and have stood on the podium in each of the past seven FIBA U19 World Championships.
Notable players to represent the U.S. include: Angela Aycock (1993); Alana Beard (2001); Essence Carson (2005); Tamika Catchings (1997); Crystal Langhorne (2005); Erlana Larkins (2005); Jantel Lavender (2007); Lisa Leslie (1989); Rebecca Lobo (1993); Maya Moore (2007); Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2009); Vickie Orr (1985); Courtney Paris (2005); Cappie Pondexter (2001); Katie Smith (1993); Dawn Staley (1989); Breanna Stewart (2011 and 2013); and Diana Taurasi (2001).