Additional Quotes >> 2012 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team Named
USA head coach Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas)
On the team:
I’m really excited about our team. I think we’ve got an excellent team with a lot of depth. I’m really excited about our guard play, the inside play and the athleticism of our perimeter players. I think we’ve got great size on the perimeter, in addition to inside. So, just with the athleticism and the talent involved, I think the committee did a great job.
The drama of finding out if you made the team or not didnít take long did it?
I was the first one called, and I knew I would be because my last name is Allen, so when they said ĎLindsay Allení I was like ĎYes, thank you.í It was great, but it was really nerve racking.
How much did it help that you participated in the trials last year?
I knew what they wanted; I kind of knew what the coaches wanted from their point guards. I knew how to control the team, stuff like that, so it really helped me in preparing myself for this year.
What did you focus on at this yearís trials?
Talking, effort, running the team, feeding the ball to the posts, everything the coaches wanted.
How gratifying is it for you to make the team this time around?
Extremely gratifying. It feels like a dream right now, it feels like Iím dreaming or something. Itís just amazing.
What would it mean to you to come back with the U17 World Championship gold medal?
It would mean a lot. It would be like this experience -- it would kind of be like a dream.
Oderah Chidom (Bishop O'Dowd H.S./Oakland, Calif.)
How nerve-wracking is it to sit there waiting to hear if your name gets called out?
Oh my gosh, last night it was tough for me sleep. My heart was pounding, it felt like it was in my stomach, Carol (Carol Callan- USA Basketball Womenís National Team Director) kept talking, and I was like Ďwould you just get to the list already.í Being here for my first time was extremely nerve-wracking.
When you hard your name how did you feel.
I felt like Ďis that my name?í It kind of felt surreal. Iím still in shock. It was a cool feeling, I was one of the first couple of people called, so I was excited but I was trying to hide my emotions, but itís just a good feeling.
What did you try and focus on at the trials?
Iíve had some teammates who were here before and the main thing that they told me was the elevation, so coming in I was like 'I got to get my conditioning up.í It got me, itís (Colorado Springs altitude) something you canít really prepare for. The first couple of days I was nervous, I saw all the names and saw all the big bodies and all the people.
What did you try and focus on, whatís can you bring to team?
Iím not as tall as some of these other girls, Iím not as strong, but I do have quick feet, so I can use my speed as an advantage.
Have you thought about traveling and competing in a World Championship?
It hasnít even hit me yet, now that you just brought it up itís the first time Iím actually considering it. To see it on TV, to read about it in articles, just to be a part of it is really something special.
Kaela Davis (Buford H.S./Suwanee, Ga.)
How did you feel when you heard your named called this morning?
I was just excited, I was really, really excited. I wasnít too happy about my try out but obviously I did something right, so Iím just so excited to be representing the USA once again. Itís an amazing experience no matter what team youíre playing for. Iím excited.
Youíre one of six players returning from last yearís U16 team. How much did last yearís experiences help you?
I think it helps tremendously, just coming in with that experience. Itís nerve-wracking, coming in here and being watched, knowing every little thing is being watched, so I think it helps when youíve been here before. A lot of girls are asking questions, Ďwhat happens in this, what happens in that,í so to kind of know how the process goes helps.
What did you try and focus on?
I think the main thing was being vocal, just kind of being a leader, showing you can play aggressive and at the same time be a leader and be aware of whatís going on around you.
Your know from the U16 championship what it takes to win a zone championship, do you think that helps you to know what it will take to win the U17 World Championship?
Definitely. I think the process is probably the same, thereís a lot of preparation and they said itís like an extra weekend of training camp and things like that. I think it will be a process where we take it day by day, but I definitely think last year will help a lot.
How nerve-wracking is the process of waiting to hear your name called?
Oh my gosh, itís the worst thing ever. Itís the worst thing ever! Itís so hard to sit there and watch Carol (Carol Callan- USA Basketball Womenís National Team Director) walk over and youíre like Ďdear God please let my name be on this list.í Itís nerve-wracking but once itís over with, the moment you hear your name, you just want to yell but you canít.
Diamond DeShields (Norcross H.S./Norcross, Ga.)
After playing in the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship last summer, were you nervous about being selected to this team?
Honestly? This is the most shocking selection that Iíve been a part of yet. This is the most nervous, the most anxious that Iíve been. You may think like, Ďwhy is she nervous?í But, there was such a high expectation for me coming in and then everyone just showed up. Everyone played amazing throughout the trials. So, I was really expecting some surprises and there were some surprises, but Iím very happy and excited for this team. I know weíre going to go out and get the gold medal.
There are seven players on this team with international experience, but none have played in a FIBA World Championship. What can you pass along to this team in terms of your knowledge of the international game?
Iím definitely going to try to put an emphasis on playing through fouls, because international ball is a little bit different. Itís way more aggressive than how we play here in the States. Kaela (Davis) and I were talking about that, about how thereíre not many of us who have played overseas. Basically, the ones of us who have played, our job is to be teachers, be leaders and coaches on and off the court. We need to teach the new people so that theyíre not caught off guard when weíre overseas playing against these teams.
You played in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, where the USA outscored the competition by an average of 55.8 ppg., and then at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship the competition really stepped up. You lost to Canada and the USAís overall scoring margin was just 16.6 ppg. What did you learn from the difference in the competition from the qualifier to the actual world championship?
I definitely learned that countries take a lot of pride in what they do and what theyíre competing for. This (FIBA U17) World Championship is more than a gold medal for them. We have to take the same mind-set. Being the USA, we are the best in the world. So, people are going to give us the best theyíve got. Teams make a lot of improvements from one year to the next. You canít sleep on a team you blew out last year when you play them again this year because they might come back 10 times better, just like Brazil did last year.
Rebecca Greenwell (Owensboro Catholic H.S./Owensboro, KY.)
How did it feel when you found out you had made the USA U17 World Championship Team?
Amazing. I was actually really shocked. I didnít think I played that well throughout the trials. I just feel really blessed that my name was called. Itís an awesome feeling.
After the year youíve gone through, tearing your ACL at the 2011 FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship and missing this past season, does it feel like all the work you put in to get back here has paid off?
Yes, definitely. After I got here I really didnít know what I was going to be like when I came back to playing. Especially missing the season and everybody else having a lot more playing time and experience this year. I knew the competition was going to be tough, especially because I was behind in playing time and everything. But, once my name was called it definitely made me feel that all the hard work has paid off.
Does it feel good to be back on a team with some of your U16 and all of your 3x3 teammates from last summer?
Yeah, definitely. A lot of my good friends made the team, so we should have a lot of fun this summer.
What can you contribute to this team?
Definitely the 3x3 and winning the gold medal (at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship) gives me a lot more experience. The 3x3 gives me more experience than some of the players. So, Iím going to try to be a leader with my USA Basketball experience. Hopefully thatíll benefit the team in the end.
Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.)
You played on two USA Basketball teams last summer, did that give you confidence or were you still very nervous this morning?
Oh yeah. My stomach just dropped when she called my name. Even though I made it last year, it was really tough. It was challenging, and I had no idea who was going to make the team because this weekend was very challenging. Everyone played their hardest. So, I was so nervous. To hear my name again is just an honor.
Do you think your past international experiences with USA Basketball will help you and the team this summer?
Yes, I think it will help. Also, it gives me another chance to represent my country and play with a few girls from last year. Itís really amazing. It will be a great summer.
Do you think thecompetition at trials was tougher than last year?
Yes, the competition was amazing. Every drill and every session was hard and important. We all played our best.
What do you think you can contribute to this team to help the USA win a gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championship?
My toughness and being really physical on the court; trying to lead the team and help them in any way possible I can to help the USA get the gold.
Kai James (William T. Dwyer H.S./West Palm Beach, Fla.)
How does it feel to make the roster at your first USA Basketball trials?
Itís very surprising. It shows that all your work, your hard work in the gym, it pays off.
How do you feel trials went for you?
I have really high expectations for myself, so I believe that I could have done a lot better in just about every area. I think it went well, but there is always room for improvement.
How excited are you to travel with this team?
It feels great; Iím really excited. There are a lot of great players I get to play with. Once we start practicing, Iíll get to play against them and get better.
How does it feel to be able to represent your country and wear the USA jersey?
I love America, everything about it. Using (basketball) as an outlet (to represent) America, itís wonderful.
Erica McCall (Ridgeview H.S./Bakersfield, Calif.)
What does it feel like to make your second USA Basketball roster?
It just feels great to have this experience again. I was really nervous; everybody played great and it was going to be a hard decision. Just being here again is a great opportunity.
How excited are you to travel with this team?
Iím extremely excited. We have a really good team and just to spend this time with these girls, my whole summer is going to be great.
How do you feel trials went for you?
I was nervous, especially I think it was the first scrimmage, I did really bad, so I was afraid that was going to mess me up. But Iím here and Iím happy to be here.
Taya Reimer (Hamilton Southeastern H.S./Fishers, Ind.)
How does it feel to make your third USA Basketball roster?
Iím so excited. I honestly didnít think that I was going to make it, so itís awesome and itís a great group of girls. Itís so exciting, and Iím just really excited for us to go to the Netherlands and hopefully win a gold medal.
How do you feel trials went?
I felt like it went well, but I feel like everybody played really well. It was just up in the air, but Iím glad that I made it and I guess I did well enough that they thought I should be on the team.
At last yearís FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship, you sprained your ankle early in the tournament and werenít able to compete; because you missed out on that, is making this team more special?
It definitely is. In 3x3, we were definitely expecting to win the gold and that was our goal. For us to fall short of that, Iím definitely glad to play for another USA team and get a gold medal hopefully to even that out.
Mercedes Russell (Springfield H.S./Springfield, Ore.)
How does it feel to make your second USA Basketball roster?
It means a lot. Itís a great opportunity.
How do you feel you played at trials?
I think at the beginning it was kind of a slow start, but at the end it felt good.
Do you feel like you have improved from last year?
Yes, I definitely did. Iíve been working ever since the end of last year.
Have you been to Europe before?
Is traveling to Europe and the Wide World of Sports at Disney World part of why making this team is so exciting?
Definitely, I canít wait to be there.
Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas)
How does it feel to hear your name called and make the team?
Unbelievable, like I hope I donít wake up soon because Iím dreaming.
How do you feel you played at trials?
I thought in the beginning I didnít play too solidly, but as it went on I think I improved a lot.
What does it mean to represent your country and travel with this team?
Itís amazing. Iíve never been out of the country before, so thatís just amazing. Then I get to represent the USA. How many kids get to say they represent their own country?
You were here last year and didnít make the roster; did you come back motivated after that?
I tried to improve on anything I thought I could improve on, and I did.
Jessica Washington (Jenks H.S./Tulsa, Okla.)
How does it feel to make your first USA Basketball roster?
Honestly words cannot describe my feeling right now. I donít know; itís amazing.
Did you feel like you had played well at trials?
Yes, I was really positive about making the team. There is a lot of great competition here, but I just had a really good feeling that I would make the team.
What does it mean to get to travel to Amsterdam and the Wide World of Sports at Disney World?
Iím just so excited. Iím looking forward to it so much. Itís a great opportunity.
Have you been out of the country before?
Not really, Iíve been to Mexico. Just to be able to go out of the country and to these places and play basketball, what I love, itís just so amazing. Iím so excited.