Nobody Can Stop Charli Collier
Elliott Collier used to talk to his daughter, Charli, before all of her games. He used to offer her some final tips to keep her motivated and focused.
For Charli Collier (Barbers Hill H.S./Mont Belvieu, Texas), she chose one of those inspirational remarks moving forward as her basketball credo moving forward: “Nobody can stop you, but yourself.”
She plans to carry her father’s sentiments with her for the rest of her playing career.
“Nobody can stop you, but yourself and that’s my motto. That’s what I live by now. When I step on the floor I think nobody can stop me,” said Collier.
Charli’s father passed away on April 4, 2016, about two months before Charli would compete and ultimately make the USA U17 team. He was 53 years old.
Collier, the No. 1 ranked recruit in the class of 2018 according to ESPN.com, admits the last couple of months have been difficult, as expected, but her emotions ran wild in pure joy after making the team last week.
“He wanted me to be here,” Collier said after the team’s first practice concluded on June 8. “This is one of the things that we talked about, and that’s kind of why I was so emotional last week (after learning she had made the USA roster), because this was something for him.”
Elliot Collier played in the collegiate ranks at Eastern Montana College before a brief stint in Honduras. Charli’s mother, Ponda Collier, played at Southwestern University. Being around the game for so long has made the game appear easy to Collier.
The stats prove it as well for Collier, who has started all 63 games of her high school career through her freshman and sophomore campaigns. Despite her early success, including increasing her scoring average from 17.3 points per game to 24.6 ppg. in only one year, one of the youngest members of this USA U17 team says the game always provides a challenge.
“The game of basketball isn’t always going to be easy, because you’re always going to have someone that’s working close to your level or is working harder than you,” Collier said. “Everyone is going to compete and that is what makes the game tough.”
After a week off relaxing and enjoying time with family and friends, Collier and her teammates reassembled Wednesday in Colorado for a week of practice. It is the first time the 12 athletes will train and compete as a team
It was only a week ago that Collier mentioned this team has what it takes to win a gold medal. That is something she is waiting for and excited to prepare for.
“As far as winning gold, that’s a goal that has been set throughout all of USA Basketball,” Collier added.
The USA U17 team departs for their endeavor on June 15 and practices the following day in Anglet, France. The team will scrimmage France on June 18 and then complete the journey to Zaragoza, Spain on June 19.
Sunday, June 19 also happens to be Father’s Day. Collier said she will be as focused as her other 11 teammates will be when they arrive in Spain, but she knows she will be thinking of her late father as well. Someone that was not only a father, but a friend and a mentor as well.
“We were very close. We were best friends.”
When it comes time for the first game to tip against South Korea on June 22, Collier will walk on the court knowing that she cannot be stopped; a lesson instilled in her by her father and one that she hopes will carry her team to a gold medal.