With the FIBA Americas tournament less that a week away, the U16 National Team has been hard at work preparing during a weeklong training camp in Colorado Springs. In the mix is 5-5 point guard Crystal Dangerfield, who is continuing her family tradition of representing the United States. Both of her parents served in the U.S. Army and have been a big influence on the work ethic and discipline Dangerfield brings to the table.
This season Dangerfield averaged a team-high 14.5 points, 3.4 assists and 3.3 steals per game as a freshman for nationally ranked Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, Tenn. We caught up with Crystal to see how her USA experience is going.
Full Court: What was it like finding out that you made the U16 USA National Team?
Crystal Dangerfield: It was nerveracking, to say the least, but I’m just really happy that I accomplished my dream. I've been working toward this for two years.
FC: Now that you’ve made the team, how has your focus shifted and what are you working on?
CD: Just being able to run the team, getting them where they need to be, and being the point guard that coach needs me to be.
FC: Who is your roommate at training camp; and what is she like?
CD: I have two, Nancy Mulkey and Asia Durr. They are hilarious. You wouldn’t think that they are that outgoing, but they’re some of the funniest people I know.
FC: I’m sure you’re matching up with Asia defensively in practice at the point guard spot. What has that been like going up against one of the best players in the country?
CD: It’s definitely getting me better defensively. I’m glad I get to guard her in practice, because I don’t get that much competition back at home and she’s probably the top point guard in her class. So I’m glad.
FC: Describe your game -- what would your scouting report say about you?
CD: In high school, I’m a clutch player; I want the ball in my hand when the clock is winding down. In AAU, I want to get everybody where they need to be and work the ball to the side and score that way.
FC: What are you working on this summer to improve your game?
CD: Pressure defense and making the right pass, because that’s something I’ve fallen off of a bit.
FC: Let’s talk recruiting. What colleges are showing you a lot of attention?
CD: Louisville and Tennessee are the ones that keep popping up, and my high school coach keeps telling me about Purdue.
FC: Is there a college player or WNBA player that you look up to?
CD: In college, it’s Moriah Jefferson at UConn and in the WNBA, Seimone Augustus.
FC: Do you have any hobbies?
CD: I like to watch movies -- if I’m not at the gym I’m watching movies.
FC: So what’s you’re favorite movi,e or is there an actor whose movies you always have to see?
CD: Sparkle -- my mom made me watch that and I fell in love with it and every time it’s on I have to watch it. And just about any horror movie -- I don’t really have a top favorite on those. As far as actors, Kevin Hart, I gotta watch him.
FC: What’s something we don’t know about you?
CD: I used to play the drums and I like to dance. I played the drums my sixth grade year in band and then I had to stop because it interfered with basketball.
FC: Do you have any pregame rituals?
CD: I have to listen to a certain song, South Dallas Swag, and in high school, I have to do a dance with a teammate.
FC: What would it mean to you to win gold with the U16 team?
CD: It would mean a lot, because for one, we are representing our country, and then, I don’t want to let anyone down, here or at home.