Brian Agler, Dan Hughes, Cheryl Reeve to Serve as Court Coaches at USA National Team February Minicamp
A trio of successful WNBA head coaches, Brian Agler (Los Angeles Sparks), Dan Hughes (Seattle Storm) and Cheryl Reeve (Minnesota Lynx), have been selected to serve as court coaches at the USA Basketball Women’s National Team training camp, scheduled for Feb. 9-11, 2018, at the University of South Carolina. The three coaches will assist Dawn Staley, USA National Team and South Carolina head coach with on-court drills and scrimmages during the three-day camp. The court coaches were selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Steering Committee.
“I’m extremely excited about working with Cheryl, Dan and Brian,” said Staley, whose Gamecocks currently are 13-2 and ranked No. 9/8 nationally (as of 1/10/18). “They are some of the best basketball minds in the game. I’m looking forward to working with them, picking their brains about the style of play in the WNBA, and also just working with them and talking basketball. Obviously, I have a certain way that I want to play, and we’ll discuss that. But also, they have been connected to most of the players, especially the top players that they coach. I want to know what’s the best way of utilizing them in certain situations. So, I’m looking forward to working with them, as I was with Jen Rizzotti, Sue Semrau and Jeff Walz during our training camp in September.”
“When looking at who to ask to be a court coach for the 2018 USA National Team minicamp, these three coaches were the most obvious choices to assist Dawn at our upcoming camp,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team director and chair of the USA Women’s National Team Steering Committee. “They all know what it takes to win, they’re all successful coaches in the league and they’ve worked with many of the athletes we will have at the camp. I can’t think of three better coaches to assist Dawn Staley and the USA National Team in February.
The minicamp will feature available members of the 2018-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool, which currently includes: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx); Sue Bird (Seattle Storm); Tina Charles (New York Liberty); Layshia Clarendon (Atlanta Dream); Napheesa Collier (University of Connecticut); Elena Delle Donne (Washington Mystics); Skylar Diggins-Smith (Dallas Wings); Stefanie Dolson (Chicago Sky); Asia Durr (University of Louisville); Sylvia Fowles (Minnesota Lynx); Brittney Griner (Phoenix Mercury); Tiffany Hayes (Atlanta Dream); Jantel Lavender (Los Angeles Sparks); Jewell Loyd (Seattle Storm); Kayla McBride (Las Vegas Aces); Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream); Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State University); Maya Moore (Minnesota Lynx); Chiney Ogwumike (Connecticut Sun); Nneka Ogwumike (Los Angeles Sparks); Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces); Katie Lou Samuelson (University of Connecticut); Odyssey Sims (Los Angeles Sparks); Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm); Diana Taurasi (Phoenix Mercury); Morgan Tuck (Connecticut Sun); Lindsay Whalen (Minnesota Lynx); Courtney Williams (Connecticut Sun); and A’ja Wilson (University of South Carolina).
As was the case over the past three quadrenniums, the 2017-20 USA National Team roster will be fluid. It is expected that the official, 12-member 2018 USA World Cup and 2020 U.S. Olympic teams, should the USA qualify to compete in Tokyo, will be comprised of players from the 2017-20 USA National Team.
The USA will train at 10 a.m. (EST) Feb. 9-10 and at 9 a.m. (EST) on Feb. 11 at the Carolina Coliseum, and the final roster of minicamp participants will be announced at a later date.
Collegiate members of the 2017-20 USA squad, Collier, Durr, Kelsey Mitchell, Samuelson and Wilson, as well as those competing professionally in Asia, which currently includes Fowles, Loyd and Stewart, will be unavailable to participate in the camp.
“It’s an honor to be involved in any capacity with USA Basketball,” said Agler, who as a head coach has captured two WNBA and two ABL championships. “To be selected to be a court coach is going to be a tremendous experience and a great privilege and I’m looking forward to it.
“Anybody who is in a position like I’ll be in is there to help, support and assist Dawn to bring a group of players to a level where they can also have success at that high level. The majority of the team will be professional players, players who have been in the WNBA, whether they’re players who have been on our teams or other great players in the league. So, with my experience in the league with some of these players, I think I can help Dawn and USA Basketball to reach their goals.”
In his 14 seasons (1999-2002, 2008-17) as a WNBA head coach, Agler has compiled a 252-203 record in the regular season (.554 winning percentage). In the past 10 seasons, Agler-led teams have advanced to nine WNBA playoffs, winning the 2010 WNBA title with the Seattle Storm and the 2016 championship with the Los Angeles Sparks. He is the first WNBA head coach to lead two different teams to league titles.
Agler began his professional coaching career at the helm of the American Basketball League’s Columbus Quest, where he led his team to a combined 82-22 record (.788 winning percentage) in the two-plus seasons the league was operational, won both available ABL crowns and was tabbed 1997 ABL Coach of the Year. During that time Agler also served as a member of the 1997-98 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team Committee.
“It’s an absolute joy and honor to be involved on the court with these players that represent the United States,” said Hughes, who served on the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee from 2009-16. “And it’s also really special to be on the court with Dawn Staley. When I got my first opportunity to be a head coach, she was my point guard for 20 games. To now be circling back and watching the coach that she’s become and to have a chance to step on the court and assist in any way possible, it’s pretty special. When you think back over the years and then realize that you’re going to step on the court with these players that I’ve worked with, coached against, and at the same time the head coach is Dawn Staley, I’m going to enjoy those couple of days immensely.”
Named on Oct. 4, 2017, as head coach for the Seattle Storm, Hughes previously spent 16 years as a WNBA head coach. He began his career in the league as the Charlotte Sting head coach in 1999, served as the Cleveland Rockers head coach from 2000-03 and more recently was at the helm of the San Antonio Stars from 2005-09 and 2011-16. Owning a 237-287 overall record, Hughes directed teams to the playoffs 10 times and advanced to the 2008 WNBA Finals after guiding San Antonio to a first-place finish in the Western Conference with a 24-10 record.
“I’m excited about this opportunity,” said Reeve, who returns to USA Basketball after serving as an assistant coach for the 2014-16 USA National Team that claimed gold medals at the 2014 FIBA World Cup Team and 2016 Olympic Games. “In working with Dawn and the last USA National Team staff at the World Cup and the Olympics, we were able to forge a coaching relationship. I had known her before, I was on the coaching staff (with the Charlotte Sting) and she was a player, but this was a chance to be on the coaching side and exchange basketball ideas, so I’m excited to be able to support her in her efforts as the USA National Team coach. As a court coach it’s exciting to say, ‘What do you want us to do and how do you want us to do it?’ And just soak up her vision for the team. So, I’m excited to help her do that.
“Obviously I have had a great deal of experience with Dan Hughes, having had a chance to work for him in Cleveland a long time ago, but we’ve been able to stay in touch and have a tremendous respect for one another, coaching against one another. Dan brings out the best in people, so I’m excited to be on the court with him and not coaching against him, and the same would be true for Brian. It’s a little more challenging when you’re competitors in WNBA Finals series for two years in a row. They’re the nemesis, so it’s always interesting to come together and learn about each other’s styles. At the end of the day, when you walk through the door it’s about USA Basketball. That’s what all of us will do. I always look for a chance to learn, learn different ways to do things and Brian and Dan are two of the best to do that with.”
At the helm of the Lynx for eight seasons (2010 to present), Reeve, who recently took on the role of Lynx general manager, has compiled a 195-77 (.717 winning percentage) overall record, and captured WNBA championships in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017.
After a 13-21 finish in 2010, Reeve helped orchestrate the second-best turnaround in league history, capping the regular season with a 27-7 record and then winning the WNBA title. For her efforts, Reeve was named the 2011 WNBA Coach of the Year.
Prior to being named head coach at the Lynx, Reeve spent nine years as an assistant in the league at Charlotte (2001-02, 2004-05), Cleveland (2003) and Detroit (2006-09), where she aided the Shock to a pair of WNBA titles.
USA Basketball Women’s National Team
Members of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team will compete in the 2018 FIBA World Cup (Sept. 22-30 in Tenerife, Spain) and, if the USA qualifies, the 2020 Summer Olympic Games (July 24-Aug. 9 in Tokyo), as well as additional USA training camps and exhibition games.
The U.S. and Staley first will look to capture the title at the 2018 FIBA Women’s World Cup of Basketball, with an automatic berth to the 2020 Olympic Games being awarded to the gold medalist. Should the U.S. not finish with the gold medal in 2018, it would have two additional opportunities to qualify for the Olympics: the 2019 FIBA AmeriCup (dates and site TBD) and the 2020 FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament (dates and site TBD).
In addition to Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Steering Committee includes three-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist Katie Smith as the athlete representative; two-time Olympic and 1998 World Cup gold medalist Ruthie Bolton is the at-large representative; representing the WNBA is senior vice president of WNBA league operations Ann Rodriguez; and University of Connecticut head coach Geno Auriemma, who coached USA teams to gold medals at the past two Olympics and FIBA World Cups, serves as a special advisor.
FIBA World Cup of Basketball
The USA owns a record nine gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in FIBA World Cup play, while compiling an all-time 103-21 record at the event. In 2014, the most recent World Cup, the U.S. took the gold medal, while Spain captured silver and Australia won bronze.
Automatically qualified for two of the 16 World Cup slots are host Spain and the USA as defending Olympic champion.
Qualified from the Africa Zone are Nigeria and Senegal; Australia, China, Japan and South Korea qualified out of Asia; Argentina, Canada and Puerto Rico qualified out of the Americas; while Belgium, France, Greece, Latvia and Turkey qualified out of Europe.
The 18th FIBA World Cup format will feature a round-robin competition in preliminary round play with four groups comprised of four teams each. Following the preliminary round, the first-place team in each group will advance directly to the quarterfinals, while the second- and third-place teams in each group will compete in quarterfinal play-in games. Quarterfinals winners will advance to the semifinals, and the gold medal game will be played on Sept. 30.