Seventeen-Year-Old Lauren Betts Hopes to Lead USA Women’s U19 World Cup Team to Gold Medal in Hungary.
High school senior Lauren Betts is the class of 2022’s top rated player nationally. The title is not enough for the goal hungry hooper. Betts thirst for success soon will outgrow her 6-foot-7 stature.
At 17, Betts was recently named to the USA U19 World Cup Team, and is of the youngest players on the 12- person roster.
“Being the youngest of the group is honestly just a huge opportunity,” said Betts “I get to learn from these girls who I really look up to. So, I know that being here, they're not going to take it easy on me, and they're going to push me to work even harder to help this team win the gold, which is definitely the expectation for this team, a super talented group. And I think we all individually have our own skills that are going to bring something special to the team. So, I really think that just being here is a huge opportunity for me to learn,”
Despite her young age, Betts is no stranger to wearing the red, white and blue and USA across her chest. She was a force to be reckoned with on the USA team at the 2019 FIBA Americas USA U16 Championship. Starting in all six games, she averaged 12.2 ppg, 13.5 rpg and 2.5 bpg to help the USA earn a 6-0 record and a gold medal. Betts also was named to the all-tournament team.
“Definitely going into this, I know what it's going to take to win. It's never about individual play. It's really about this team, how we’re all going to work together to get this goal we all want,” said Bett’s on her past experience with USA Basketball. “So, it's going to be tough, but I know that when we're at a tournament and we win gold, it's going to make it all worth it.”
Betts started playing basketball at the age of 10 and she never looked back. Her father Andrew Betts played professional basketball in Europe and is the root to her drive for success and passion for the game.
“My dad has always been my biggest inspiration, basketball-wise,” said Betts. “He always teaches me to work my hardest, and he’s always going to support me 100% and push me to my limits. And I think his work ethic and positivity has always helped my confidence go up. And it's helped me be the player I am today,” said Betts
Following the 2021 season at Colorado’s Grandview High School the Junior was named Gatorade Colorado Player of the Year, MaxPreps All-America first team, MaxPreps Colorado Player of the Year. Bett’s aided her team to a 17-1 record and the Colorado Class 5A State Tournament semifinals, and she averaged 17.5 ppg., 11.0 rpg. and 2.6 apg. during the state tournament.
In Betts’s sophomore season in 2019-20 she led the Wolves to the state championship game, which was canceled due to COVID-19, averaging 17.8 ppg., 11.2 rpg. and 3.9 bpg. This upcoming 2021-22 season Betts main goal is to take her team to the finals and check a State Championship off her list.
“This season, definitely, the goal is to win state,” she stated.
After her senior season Betts will take her talents to Stanford University, where she committed to play. Betts was heavily recruited by many other top universities such as UConn, Baylor, South Carolina, Oregon, Louisville and Notre Dame.
“Stanford was my best choice at the end of day because of, obviously, with the academics and the amazing basketball over there, but also it's the Pac-12 (Conference) . I'm going to play the best-of-the-best every game,” said Betts on her commitment to Stanford. “And I know that it's never going to be easy, but I'm also surrounded by the best-of-the-best. And I know my teammates and my coaches are going to push me to become the best basketball player I can be.”
In the past four years, Betts will be the third Colorado girls’ basketball player to be Stanford bound. At Stanford, she will team up with former Colorado prep greats Fran Belibi (Regis), Jana Van Gytenbeek (Cherry Creek), and Ashten Prechtel (Discovery Canyon). She also will get at least one season to play alongside Belibi (’19) and Prechtel (’19).
“It definitely helps, that's for sure. Knowing that I'm going to have a little bit of home with me as I'm out there,” said Betts. “I think that's definitely one of the reasons why I wanted to go over there. I'm close with all of them.They’re all super amazing people and super amazing basketball players, and I'm just excited to learn from them and play with them and hopefully win a national championship with them, which would be huge for me.”
In the upcoming FIBA Women’s U19 World Cup, which features 16 nations from around the world, Betts is eager to show her devotion to team play and her ability to play big, but smart.
“Obviously, my height gives me a huge advantage,” she stated. “But I would say, I think I'm a smart post player. I think I just I love playing with other people. I love making the next play. I love making those good passes. I love using my teammates. So, I think I'm a smart big. I know which shots to take. I know how to play off my defender. I know how to use my teammates.”
Betts hopes her experience and drive can help her and the squad earn another gold medal. The USA will open play against Italy on Aug. 7, then face Australia on Aug.8, and the USA will wrap up preliminary play versus Egypt on Aug. 10.
“I'm really excited for the challenge, to be honest. The U19 tournament, it's like one of the hardest. So, I know that it's going to be a huge challenge, but I'm know that this team can do it. I'm super confident in our abilities. So, I'm just excited to go to training camp and work my butt off. And once we get to the tournament, just winning gold, that would be huge honor.”