Eighteen Finalists Announced for USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team
After four days of trials that began on May 23 with 146 athletes at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, 18 finalists today were announced for the 2019 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team.
The finalists will remain in Colorado Springs for training camp through May 31, when the official 12-member USA roster is expected to be announced.
Named as finalists by the USA Basketball Women’s Development National Team Committee were: Janiah Barker (Tampa Bay Tech H.S./Panama City, Fla.); Lauren Betts (Grandview H.S./Centennial, Colo.); KK Bransford (Mount Notre Dame H.S./Cincinnati, Ohio); Sonia Citron (The Ursuline School/Scarsdale, N.Y.); Amari DeBerry (Williamsville South H.S./Buffalo, N.Y.); Sania Feagin (Forest Park H.S./Ellenwood, Ga.); Timea Gardiner (Fremont H.S./Ogden, Utah); DeDe Hagemann (Detroit Edison Public School Academy/Mount Clemens, Mich.); Jillian Hollingshead (Holy Innocents Episcopal School/Powder Springs, Ga.); Ashlon Jackson (Hardin Jefferson H.S./China, Texas); Raven Johnson (Westlake H.S./Atlanta, Ga.); Londynn Jones (Santiago H.S./Riverside, Calif.); Olivia Miles (Blair Academy/Phillipsburg, N.J.); Aaliyah Moore (Moore H.S./Moore, Okla.); Maya Nnaji (Hopkins H.S./Lakeville, Minn.); Saylor Poffenbarger (Middletown H.S./Middletown, Md.); Kiki Rice (Sidwell Friends School, D.C./Bethesda, Md.); and Payton Verhulst (Bishop Miege H.S./De Soto, Kan.).
“These trials were very competitive from the start with 146 athletes, and the committee is appreciative of all of the talent, energy and effort from everyone who took part,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball women’s national team director and chair of the selection committee. “It was a difficult task to narrow the list down to finalists, which is a good challenge for us to have. The 18 finalists who remain should give us the right mix at each position from which to select the 12-member roster.”
The USA will be led by Mark Campbell (Union University) with assistant coaches are Kelly Carruthers (James Bowie H.S., Texas) and Ruth Sinn (University of St. Thomas, Minn.).
“This group has been amazing, my coaching staff has been amazing, the staff has been amazing,” Campbell said. “This has just been an unbelievable experience, and I think the girls have felt the same way. I think it has been obvious by their effort.
“I’ll say this, an amazing start always gives us the ability to look forward and be really excited,” Campbell said of the finalists training camp. “This week is going to be a chance to get to know each person, because it is obvious they have a lot of character. And so, character and relationships equal trust, and this week will be all about trust, on and off the floor. And, that’s my favorite part about coaching.”
The 12 team members named on May 30 will return for training camp from June 5-13, before departing for the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship that will be played June 16-22 in Puerto Aysen, Chile.
The top four finishing teams at the 2019 FIBA Americas U16 Championship qualify for the 2020 FIBA U17 World Cup that will be played in Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
Ten athletes are from the high school class of 2021, and eight will graduate high school in 2022.
Ten have taken part in at least one previous USA Basketball event, and eight athletes will be new to USA Basketball.
Four athletes took part in the 2019 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Championship, including Bransford and DeBerry as members of Her-ricanes; Moore as a member of Cyfair; and Verhulst as a member of Blue Star 30 Stars.
DeBerry and Aliyah Moore also took part in the 2018 USA U17 World Cup Team trials, along with Barker, Gardiner, Johnson, Miles, Rice and Verhulst.
Finally, Betts took part in the 2018 USA Basketball 3x3 U18 National Championship.
Listed on the ESPN HoopGurlz Terrific 25 for the class of 2021 are: No. 2 DeBerry; No. 3 Miles; No. 9 Moore; No. 10 Verhulst; No. 12 Feagin; No. 15 Hagemann; and No. 22 Hollingshead.
The ESPN HoopGurlz watch list for the class of 2022 features: Barker, Betts, Gardiner, Jones, Nnaji and Rice.
This was the eighth year in which USA Basketball opened its USA women’s U16 or U17 national team trials to applicant athletes, as well as athletes invited by the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee.
Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens born on or after Jan. 1, 2003.
In addition to Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee includes athlete representatives Tamika Catchings (four-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist) and DeLisha Milton-Jones (two-time Olympic and two-time World Cup gold medalist); AAU representative Kevin Lynch; at-large representatives Kirsten Moore (Westmont College) and Mia Smith (Illinois Wesleyan); and NFHS representative Jill Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas).