USA Basketball will conduct open trials for the Women’s U16 National Team, which will be held from May 23 through May 27 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., the organization announced Thursday. The squad selected will compete in the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship where they will vie with teams representing seven other North, Central and South American nations for a berth in next year’s U17 World Championships.
After the success of open trials for the 2011 U16 team, USA Basketball has decided once again to open the doors to as many as 200 applicants. Athletes must be aged 16 or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1997) to be eligible (click here for additional eligibility information) and must apply to USA Basketball no later than April 12 (click here for application form). Applicants will receive confirmation of their acceptance by April 26, with the USA Developmental National Team Committee determining the final roster of participants should more than 200 apply.
“Given the success that USA Basketball saw with the 2011 USA U16 National Team Trials, we felt that we should continue with the same format, said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director and the non-voting chair of the USA Developmental National Team Committee. Callan also urged potential applicants not to be discouraged by the fact that some of those competing for a berth will have been invited to try out.
“While the committee will issue invitations to some athletes, that in no way guarantees that the entire team will be comprised of those invited athletes. In 2011 a number of the open applicants made the third cut, while several of the invited athletes did not. We have always felt that competition and a large pool of talented athletes are important reasons for our success. While we like to think that we know who most of the top players are, it’s not always possible to evaluate each and every athlete across the country, especially within the younger age groups. USA Basketball does not want to overlook anyone and this is one way to be able to evaluate many more athletes over the course of the weekend.”
Callan also emphasized that even those participants who are not ultimately selected for the U16 team can benefit from the opportunity for skills development the trials provide. “I think it is … important to note that the first part of the process the athletes will be working on , including skills, fundamentals and educational seminars, are designed to develop their individual talents. In 2011 we brought in 1996 U.S. Olympic Team assistant coach Ceal Barry, who did a tremendous job as our lead clinician. The athletes learned what it takes to make it to the next level, and the skills and educational sessions were very well received by the parents as well.”
This year’s trials will begin with an evening skills session on May 23 and continue with morning and afternoon skills sessions on May 24. The skills sessions will include individual skills, position work and scrimmage opportunities. While the committee will evaluate athletes throughout the process, the first trials session is on the evening of May 24, followed by trials sessions the mornings, afternoons and evenings of May 25 and 26. Due to the number of participants, players will be divided into two groups for the three skills sessions and the first four trials sessions. Roster reductions may begin following the completion of the second trials session, and the team is expected to be announced on May 27.
In 2011, 115 athletes participated in the U.S. U16 National Team Trials. That list was pared to 53 on the third day of trials, to 34 on the fourth day, with the final 12-member team roster announced on day five.
In 2012, several of the applicants from the 2011 U16 National Team Trials were invited to participate in the USA U17 World Championship Team Trials, two of whom, Lindsay Allen (St. John’s College H.S. / Bowie, Md.) and Jessica Washington (Jenks H.S. / Tulsa, Okla), earned spots on the 2012 squad and helped the U.S. capture the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship gold medal.
The inaugural U.S. Women’s U16 National team dominated at the 2009 FIBA Americas U16 Tournament in Mexico City, Mexico, and returned home with the gold medal and a qualifying berth in the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship. Cruising undefeated through the tournament, the U.S. won its five games by an average of 70.0 points and listed No. 1 in 13-of-19 statistical categories.
The 2011 U.S. squad was not much different, dominating opponents in Merida, Mexico, by an average margin of 43.2 points per contest en route to a perfect 5-0 mark, the gold medal and the USA’s 2012 U17 World Championship berth.
With the field for the 2014 U17 Worlds now expanded from 12 to 16 teams, at least the top three finishers from the 2013 U16 Americas tournament will earn berths at next year’s world championships. FIBA has yet to announce which zones will receive an extra berth.
The 2013-16 USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee, which will determine the make-up of this year’s U16 squad, is still being finalized, but will include two representatives selected by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), two representatives assigned by the AAU and one athlete representative.
2013 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team Trials Schedule Thursday, May 23 4:30 p.m. Orientation 5:00 p.m. Skills Session #1 & Performance Seminar Friday, May 24 8:30 a.m. Skills Session #2 & USADA Seminar 1:00 p.m. Skills Session #3 & Recruiting Seminar 5:00 p.m. Trials Session #1 Saturday, May 25 8:30 a.m. Trials Session #2 1:00 p.m. Trials Session #3 5:00 p.m. Trials Session #4 Sunday, May 26 9:00 a.m. Trials Session #5 1:45 p.m. Trials Session #6 5:45 p.m. Trials Session #7 Monday, May 27 8:30 a.m. 2013 USA U16 National Team Announcement
Source: USA Basketball Media Release