USA Basketball Women Athletes to Participate in NCAA Next Generation at NCAA Women’s Final Four
-- NCAA to Honor 2018 Youth Olympics Gold Medalists at Women’s Final Four --
Six USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team gold medalists have accepted invitations to participate in the NCAA Next Generation for Women, a minicamp for select USA Junior National Team athletes and NBA Academies Women’s Program participants during the 2019 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Tampa, Florida. Additionally, the gold medal winning 2018 U.S. Youth Olympic Games Women’s 3x3 Basketball Team will be honored on court by the NCAA during the first semifinal game.
Participating in Tampa are 2018 U.S. Youth Olympics Games Team gold medalists Aliyah Boston (Worcester Academy/St. Thomas, USVI), Samantha Brunelle (William Monroe H.S./Ruckersville, Va.), Paige Bueckers (Hopkins H.S./St. Louis Park, Minn.) and Hailey Van Lith (Cashmere H.S./Wenatchee, Wash.), and USA gold medalists Maori Davenport (Henderson H.S./Troy, Ala.) and Haley Jones (Archbishop Mitty H.S./Santa Cruz, Calif.).
“We are appreciative of the NCAA and excited that they will honor our gold medal winning U.S. Youth Olympic Games Team during the semifinal games at the Final Four,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team director. “This is a weekend where everybody comes together and celebrates everything great about women’s basketball. We are also thrilled to have the opportunity to participate with the NBA Academies in the NCAA’s Next Generation initiative and continue to help grow the game worldwide.”
The NCAA, USA Basketball and the NBA will bring top male and female high school-age players from around the nation and world to the 2019 Men’s and Women’s Final Fours, offering potential future student-athletes extraordinary opportunities to celebrate the game of basketball and learn more about their sport within the context of higher education.
The players will travel to Minneapolis and Tampa, respectively, for a weekend of player development and educational programming as part of the NCAA Men’s Next Generation Sunday and, for the first time, NCAA Women’s Next Generation Saturday.
Hosted by the NCAA in partnership with USA Basketball and the NBA Academies program, and with support from the National Association of Basketball Coaches and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association, the collaboration provides young athletes with educational and life-skills sessions, allows them to compete against their peers from around the world, and lets them experience aspects of the Final Four from a player’s perspective, including attending Final Four national semifinal games.
Boston, Brunelle, Bueckers, Davenport, Jones and Van Lith will represent USA Basketball in a joint practice with NBA Academies participants on April 4. Led by NBA Academies Women’s Program technical directors, Jennifer Azzi and Blair Hardiek, the joint practice on April 4 will be followed by a speaker panel.
Later in the afternoon, the six USA Basketball athletes will tour Amalie Arena, home of the 2019 Women’s Final Four.
On April 5, the USA Basketball participants will attend the NCAA national semifinal games, where the four members of the gold medalist 2018 U.S. Youth Olympic Games Women’s 3x3 Basketball Team will be honored during the second quarter of the first national semifinal game.
Last year, Boston, Brunelle, Bueckers, Jones and Van Lith aided the USA to gold at the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, where Boston and Jones were named to the all-tournament team. The previous summer, Boston, Brunelle and Bueckers were members of the 2017 USA U16 National Team that earned a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship where Boston earned MVP honors; Brunelle also collected a bronze medal as a member of the 2016 USA U17 World Cup Team; and Davenport helped the 2018 USA U18 National Team capture gold at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, where she was named to the five-member all-tournament team.
All four members of the high school class of 2019 have committed to play for major NCAA Division I programs. Boston signed with the University of South Carolina, Brunelle will play for the University of Notre Dame next season, Jones has committed to Stanford University and Davenport signed with Rutgers University.
With one year of high school eligibility remaining, Bueckers and Van Lith remain undecided.