USA Basketball will hold open tryouts to select the 2014 USA Women's U17 World Championship Team, the Colorado Springs-based organization announced today. Trials will be held May 22-26, 2014, at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The USA U17 squad selected from those tryouts will compete in the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, scheduled to be held in Bratislava, Slovakia from June 26-July 6.
USA Basketball has held open trials for its past two U16 teams, and the success of those experiences led the organization to extend open trials to the selection of this year's U17 squad. "Through our previous two open trials, we have found success in expanding USA Basketball's reach to develop the total athlete," said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women's National Team Director and non-voting chair of the USA Developmental National Team Committee. "We are looking to identify potential current and future USA Basketball team members and to continue to get our message out to these young athletes about the responsibilities and rewards of representing their country. We feel this is an integral component that has contributed to the great success enjoyed by the USA Basketball Women's National Team program through the years."
The tryouts are open to up to 150 athletes age 17-or-younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1997). Athletes wishing to participate should complete and submit their application to USA Basketball by March 3, 2014 (www.usabasketball.com/about/usa_basketballforms.html). Participants will receive confirmation of acceptance by April 18. Should the number of applicants exceed 150, the USA Developmental National Team Committee will determine the final roster of participating athletes.
In addition to the application process, the USA Basketball Women's Developmental National Team Committee will issue invitations to attend trials to approximately 35 athletes. However, this should not discourage other athletes from applying, as past experience has shown that those who have not received individual invitations to the trials still have a fair shot at making the team. For example, both Sabrina Ionescu and Taylor Murray were selected to the 2013 USA U16 National Team out of the applicant pool and went on to win gold medals representing the United States at the 2013 FIBA Americas Women's Championships in Cancun, Mexico. In addition, even applicants who did not make the team they tried out for have, in the past, received future invitations to trials for other squads. In 2012, for instance, 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 and Jessica Washington earned spots on the 2012 squad and helped the U.S. capture the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship gold medal.
The upcoming five-day U17 trials will begin with an evening skills session on May 22 and continue with a morning skills session on May 23. The skills sessions will include individual drills and position work. While the committee will evaluate athletes throughout the process, trials sessions begin on the afternoon of May 23 and conclude on May 25. Due to the number of participants, players will be divided into two groups for the skills sessions and the first few trials sessions. Roster reductions may begin following the completion of the second trials session, and the team is expected to be announced on May 26.
In 2011, 115 young athletes participated in the USA U16 National Team Trials. That list was pared to 53 by the third day of trials, to 34 on the fourth day and on the fifth and final day the 12-member team was selected. In 2013, a total of 124 athletes took to the court to vie for a spot on the USA U16 National Team. Following three cuts - from 95 to 70 to 43 - the final 12-member USA squad was announced on May 27.
In addition to Callan, the 2013-16 USA Basketball Women's Developmental National Team Committee is comprised of National Federation of High School Associations (NFHS) appointees Jody Patrick (Flint Hill School, Va.) and Jill Rankin Schneider (Monterey H.S., Texas); AAU appointees Bill Larson (North Tartan Basketball AAU, Minn.) and Sherri Pegues (GBL Cal Sparks AAU, Calif.); as well as athlete representative Yolanda Griffith, a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
The 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship will feature 16 national teams comprised of athletes age 17-and-under from around the world. Qualified to compete are Australia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Hungary, Italy, Mali, Mexico, Spain, USA and the top three finishing nations from the 2013 FIBA Asia U16 Championship, scheduled for Nov. 23 - 30 in Sri Lanka.
2010 marked the inaugural FIBA U17 World Championship for Women, which is held every two years. USA Basketball's U17 National Team captured the 2010 FIBA U17 World Championship gold medal after defeating opponents by a 37.4 points per game scoring margin. Further, seven of the USA's team members went on to capture the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship gold medal. The 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team averaged a 35.0 ppg. margin of victory and went 8-0 to extend the USA's winning record to 16-0 at the event, while collecting a second gold medal. The USA qualified for the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship by virtue of capturing gold at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
Source: USA Basketball Press Release.