USA Basketball Set To Host 27 Elite High School Athletes at the 2010 USA Women's U18 National Team Trials
With the addition of Ariya Crook-Williams (Long Beach Poly H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.), 27 of the nation's premier prep athletes, including 12 of the top 20 senior prospects, are ready to participate in the 2010 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team Trials, June 8-11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The 27 players will vie for one of 12 roster spots on the 2010 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team that will compete in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women, June 23-27 at the USOTC in Colorado Springs. Players eligible for this competition must be a U.S. citizen born on or after Jan. 1, 1992.
Included in the field of 27 " which consists of 18 members of the high school Class of 2010 and nine players in the Class of 2011 " are 14 McDonald's All-Americans, eight USA Today All-Americans, 16 Parade Magazine All-Americans and seven Gatorade State Players of the Year.
-I am very excited to head to Colorado Springs for the start of the trials and to work with 27 of the best high school players in the country," said Jennifer Rizzotti, USA U18 and University of Hartford head coach. -I really, truly trust the committee's judgment to choose which 12 plays are the best. And from past experience, coaching the same team as an assistant, I know the kids they'll pick are going to be the best for this team."
Rizzotti, an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning 2006 USA Women's U18 National Team, will be assisted by Florida State University head coach Sue Semrau and University of Central Florida head coach Joi Williams, both of whom are first-time USA coaches.
They'll be helped at trials by court coaches Sue Syljebeck, head coach at Siena Heights University in Michigan, and Toby Wynn, head coach at Seward County Community College in Kansas.
Of the 27 athletes set for trials, only three " Crook-Williams; Chiney Ogwumike (Cy-Fair H.S./Cypress, Texas) and Samarie Walker (Chaminade-Julienne H.S./West Carrollton, Ohio) " have previous USA Basketball experience.
Crook-Williams participated in the trials for the 2009 USA U16 National Team, which eventually won a gold medal in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship for Women in Mexico City.
Meanwhile, Ogwumike, who earned numerous 2010 National Player of the Year honors, took part in the trials for the 2008 USA U18 National Team despite being just 16 years old at the time. That team eventually won the 2008 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
And a year ago, also at 16, Walker was the youngest player to participate in the trials for the 2009 USA U19 Women's World Championship Team, which eventually won a gold medal - its third straight - in the FIBA U19 World Championship last summer in Bangkok, Thailand.
Joining Ogwumike and Walker as the 2010 graduates at trials are USA Basketball newcomers Stefanie Dolson (Minisink Valley H.S./Port Jervis, N.Y.); Karla Gilbert (A&M Consolidated H.S./College Station, Texas); Cassie Harberts (San Clemente H.S./San Clemente, Calif.); Bria Hartley (North Babylon H.S./North Babylon, N.Y.); Kaneisha Horn (Ramsay H.S./Birmingham, Ala.); Richa Jackson (Midwest City H.S./Midwest City, Okla.); Sara James (Oak Ridge H.S./El Dorado Hills, Calif.); Afure Jemerigbe (St. Mary's H.S./Stockton, Calif.); Kayla McBride (Villa Maria Academy/Erie, Pa.); Shanece McKinney (LeFlore H.S./Mobile, Ala.); Laurin Mincy (University H.S./Newark, N.J.); Haley Peters (The Peddie School/Red Bank, N.J.); Theresa Plaisance (Vandebilt Catholic H.S./Marrero, La.); Lindsay Sherbert (Great Oak H.S./Temecula, Calif.); Meighan Simmons (Steele H.S./Cibolo, Texas) and Alyssa Thomas (Central Dauphin H.S./Harrisburg, Pa.).
The Class of 2011 members joining Crook-Williams at trials are Brittany Boyd (Berkeley H.S./Berkeley, Calif.); Raven Ferguson (Africentric Early College/Columbus, Ohio); Reshanda Gray (Washington Prep H.S./Los Angeles, Calif.); Morgan Jones (Lake Mary H.S./Altamonte Springs, Fla.); Allyson Malott (Madison H.S./Middletown, Ohio); Amber Orrange (Westbury Christian H.S./Houston, Texas); Erica Payne (Carondelet H.S./Danville, Calif.) and Cassie Peoples (Cy-Fair H.S./Houston, Texas).
All sessions will be held at the training center's Sports Center I. The first session will take place June 8 at 6:30 p.m. (All times are MDT); followed by sessions on June 9 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 6:00-8:00 p.m.; and June 10 from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. and 5:30-7:30 p.m. The 12-player 2010 USA Women's U18 National Team will be announced on the morning of June 11 and will remain in Colorado Springs for training through the start of the FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women on June 23.
Selection of the USA U18 National Team will be made by the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Sue Donohoe, Vice President of NCAA Division I Women's Basketball. In addition to Donohoe, the committee includes Joanne Boyle (University of California head coach), Coquese Washington (Penn State University head coach), Connie Yori (University of Nebraska head coach), and athlete representative Beth Cunningham (1999 USA Pan American Games Team member).
Fourteen of the 18 players set to graduate this spring played in the 2010 McDonald's All-American game in March, including Dolson, Gilbert, Hartley, Horn, Jackson, Jemerigbe, McBride, Mincy, Ogwumike, Peters, Plaisance, Sherbert, Simmons and Walker. Coming off the bench, no less, Simmons scored a game-high 21 points in only 14 minutes, leading the West team to an 84-75 win over the East. While Simmons was named the East's MVP, Gilbert (15), Ogwumike (14) and Jackson (12) all scored in double figures for the West.
Eleven players " Harberts, Hartley, Jackson, Simmons, Walker, Gilbert, Horn, Jemerigbe, James, Ogwumike and Sherbert " also played in the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) All-America Game in April. Ogwumike led all scorers with 24 points, but Simmons scored 21 of her own to lead the Red team to a 101-81 win over Ogwumike's White.
Additionally, Parade recognized Hartley, Jackson, Ogwumike and Thomas as All-America first team members; Gilbert, Horn, James, Jemerigbe, McBride, Peters and Walker as second team members; Crook-Williams, Harberts and Sherbert as members of third team; and Dolson and Simmons as members of the fourth team.
USA Today also named Horn and Ogwumike to its All-USA first team, choosing Ogwumike as its Player of the Year. Hartley, Jemerigbe and Simmons made the All-USA second team; and Dolson, Thomas and Walker were All-USA third-team members.
While Ogwumike was named both the Gatorade National and Texas State Player of the Year, Hartley (New York), Horn (Alabama), Jackson (Oklahoma), McBride (Pennsylvania), Peters (New Jersey) and Plaisance (Louisiana) also earned Gatorade Player of the Year honors in their respective states.
Overall, the 27 players on the trials roster represent 10 different states, and eight of the athletes are from California. Five players are from Texas, and three more from Ohio, while Alabama, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania each claim two. Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma have one player each.
The trials roster also features a pair of accomplished teammates, Ogwumike and Peoples, who together led Cy-Fair to a Class 5A Texas state championship and a No. 6 national ranking by USA Today.