Thirty-Five Athletes Accept Invitations To 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Trials
The roster of athletes who accepted invitations to attend the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Trials features 35 of the nation’s top players from the high school classes of 2019 and 2020, including 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team bronze medalist Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.) and 2016 USA U17 finalist Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy/Worcester, Mass). The USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee issued the invitations.
Trials to determine finalists for the 2017 USA Women’s U16 National Team will take place May 25-29 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Players eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 2001.
In addition to the 35 invited athletes, the trials also will feature as many as 115 applicant athletes, and the complete trials roster is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
“We are excited to welcome back many athletes who have been to trials before, and to get to know the players who will be new to USA Basketball,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team director and chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee. “This is the first time we will have a player return to a U16 trials after having won a U17 medal and the first time we will have a U17 finalist returning to U16 trials. Taking all of that into account, we look forward to seeing the level of competition at trials continue to become stronger, as it has done in each of the five events in which we have had applicant athletes alongside invited athletes.”
The USA will compete in the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship from June 7-11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where it will be in the hunt for a gold medal as well as a berth into the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, which is awarded to the top four finishing teams.
The finalists selected on May 29 will remain in Colorado Springs for training camp, and the 12-member roster for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team will be announced prior to the team’s departure for the competition on June 4.
In addition to Boston and Brunelle, 13 players will arrive with previous USA Basketball trials experience.
Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty H.S. /Santa Cruz, Calif.) took part in the 2015 U16 and 2016 U17 trials.
Myra Gordon (LD Bell H.S./Fort Worth, Texas), Nyah Green (Bishop Lynch H.S./Allen, Texas), Taylor Jones (Dallas Christian School/Forney, Texas), Jordyn Oliver (Prosper H.S./Prosper, Texas), Ashley Owusu (Paul VI Catholic H.S. /Woodbridge, Va.), Te-Hina Paopao (La Jolla Country Day School/Oceanside, Calif.) and Sydney Parrish (Hamilton Southeastern H.S. /Fishers, Ind.) attended the 2016 U17 trials.
Finally, returning from the 2015 U16 trials are: Zia Cooke (Rogers H.S. /Toledo, Ohio), Katelyn Levings (Memorial H.S. /Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran H.S. /Valley Stream, N.Y.).
Also accepting 2017 trials invitations were: Sarah Andrews (MacArthur H.S./Irving, Texas); River Baldwin (Pleasant Home School/Andalusia, Ala.); Shaila Beeler (Warren Central H.S./Indianapolis, Ind.); Francesca Belibi (Regis Jesuit H.S./Centennial, Colo.); Cameron Brink (Southridge H.S./Beaverton, Ore.); Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./Eden Prairie, Minn.); Maddie Burke (Central Bucks H.S./West Doylestown, Pa.); Caitlin Clark (Dowling Catholic H.S./West Des Moines, Iowa); Cailyn Crocker (Los Alamitos H.S./Cypress, Calif.); Jordan Horston (Columbus Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio); Treasure Hunt (Hamilton Heights Christian Academy/Chattanooga, Tenn.); Rickea Jackson (Detroit Edison Public School Academy/Detroit, Mich.); Angel Jackson (Salesian H.S./Richmond, Calif.); Deja Kelly (Claudia Taylor Johnson H.S. /San Antonio, Texas); Jayla Kelly (Parkway Central H.S./Chesterfield, Mo.); Natalija Marshall (Christ the King Regional H.S./Forest Hills, N.Y.); Elizabeth Martino (National Christian Academy/Lanham, Md.); Jordyn Merritt (Plano Senior H.S./Plano, Texas); Javyn Nicholson (Collins Hill H.S./Lawrenceville, Ga.); Charisma Osborne (Windward School/Inglewood, Calif.); Angel Reese (St. Frances Academy/Randallstown, Md.); and Kylee Watson (Mainland Regional H.S./Linwood, N.J.).
Carla Berube (Tufts University) has been tabbed head coach of the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team, and Steve Gomez (Lubbock Christian University) and Vanessa Nygaard (Windward School, Calif.) complete the staff as USA assistant coaches.
Eighteen players will graduate high school in 2019, and 17 players are from the class of 2020.
The 35 players reside in 20 different states throughout the USA, including seven from Texas and five from California. Sending two players to trials will be Indiana, Maryland, New York, Ohio and Virginia; and represented by one player each are Alabama, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Tennessee.
Standing 6-foot-5, Baldwin is the tallest, while Andrews is the shortest at 5-foot-7.
Brunelle is the top-ranked player by ESPN in the class of 2019, while Green is second, Rickea Jackson is seventh, Boston is 10th, Haley Jones is 11th, Owusu is 12th, Cooke is 13th, Oliver is 15th, Baldwin is 22nd and Horston is 24th.
For the class of 2020, ESPN lists 45 players not ranked in order, and that list includes: Andrews, Brink, Bueckers, Burke, Clark, Gordon, Hunt, Deja Kelly, Levings, Martino, Merritt, Paopao, Parrish, Reese and Watson.
In addition to Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee includes: athlete representatives Tamika Catchings, a four-time Olympic and two-time World Championship gold medalist, and DeLisha Milton-Jones, a two-time Olympic and two-time World Championship gold medalist; AAU representative Kevin Lynch of the Philadelphia Belles; National Federation of High Schools representative Jill Rankin Schneider, a 1980 U.S. Olympian and head coach at Monterey High School in Texas; and at-large representatives Kirsten Moore, head coach at Westmont College (NAIA), and Mia Smith, head coach at Illinois Wesleyan University (DIII).
2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship
The 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship serves as the Americas zone’s qualifying tournament for the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, and the top four finishing teams earn a berth to the 2018 U17 World Cup.
The eight nations qualified to compete in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship are: Canada and the United States as the North American entries; Argentina (gold medalist), Venezuela (silver medalist) and Colombia (bronze medalist) qualified through the 2016 South American U15 Championship; and the top three teams from the Centrobasket U15 Championship will earn the final three berths.
Since FIBA Americas initiated the U16 Championship in 2009, USA teams have compiled a 19-1 record and won gold in 2009, 2011 and 2013.
USA U16 National Team players of note include: Lauren Cox (2013), Kaela Davis (2011), Aquira DeCosta (2015), Asia Durr (2013), Rebecca Greenwell (2011), Arike Ogunbowale (2013), Katie Lou Samuelson (2013), Breanna Stewart (2009) and Elizabeth Williams (2009).