2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Named
The 12-member roster for the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team today was named after two days of training camp with 18 finalists, which followed four days of trials that began on May 25 with 133 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.
Named to the team were: Fran Belibi (Regis Jesuit H.S./Centennial, Colo.); Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy/Worcester, Mass.); Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.); Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./Eden Prairie, Minn.); Caitlin Clark (Dowling Catholic H.S./West Des Moines, Iowa); Zia Cooke (Rogers H.S./Toledo, Ohio); Azzi Fudd (Potomac School/Falls Church, Va.); Jordan Horston (Columbus Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio); Diamond Miller (Franklin H.S./Somerset, N.J.); Jordyn Oliver (Prosper H.S./Prosper, Texas); Celeste Taylor (Long Island Lutheran H.S./Valley Stream, N.Y.); and Kylee Watson (Mainland Regional H.S./Linwood, N.J.).
The USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee is responsible for the selections, and players eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 2001.
“We are thrilled about these 12 players that the committee has chosen,” said USA head coach Carla Berube (Tufts University). “I think we bring a lot of athleticism, strength and a high-basketball IQ. I think they are going to play some really great defense, along with creating for each other. We are going to work the next five days, and get ready for Argentina and put together a strong team that plays together, plays hard, plays smart and represents the United States the way it should be. And, hopefully make our country proud.”
Steve Gomez (Lubbock Christian University) and Vanessa Nygaard (Windward School, Calif.) complete the USA staff as assistant coaches.
The team will continue training camp at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, through June 4.
Brunelle helped the USA to a bronze medal as a member of the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U17 World Championship Team, while Boston was one of 18 finalists for the 2016 USA U17 team.
Oliver attended the 2016 U17 trials; and returning from the 2015 U16 trials are Cooke and Taylor.
Additionally, Belibi played on Denver at the 2017 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Tournament this past April at the USOTC.
Eight of the team members will graduate high school in 2019, three are from the class of 2020 and Fudd will finish her prep campaign in 2021. The athletes hail from nine different states. New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia each are represented by two players, while featuring one athlete apiece are Colorado, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Texas.
At 14 years, six months and 27 days old on the first day of the 2017 FIBA Americas U16 Championship, Fudd becomes the youngest U.S. women’s player to take part in a U16 competition. In 2011, Receé Caldwell was 14 years, nine months and 4 days old on the first day of the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Brunelle is the top-ranked player by espnW in the class of 2019, Horston is eighth, Boston is ninth, Cooke is 14th and Miller is 20th.
For the class of 2020, espnW lists 50 players not ranked in order, and that list includes: Bueckers, Clark 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 DI), and Mia Smith, head coach at Illinois Wesleyan University (NCAA DIII).