Collier Among 28 Players Headed To U-18 Trials

UConn Class of 2015 commit Napheesa Collier is among 28 players that have accepted invitations to take part in the USA Basketball Women’s U-18 National Team Trials, USA Basketball announced today. The trials will be held at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. May 24-26 and will be used to select the 12-member team that will compete in the USA Basketball-hosted FIBA Americas U-18 Championship Aug. 6-10.

Invitations were issued by the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee, chaired by Tennessee-Chattanooga head coach Jim Foster.

“I think we have a group of players that will allow us to choose a very representative team for this qualifying tournament,’’ Foster said. “Anytime you can combine a team that has players who have won a gold medal and players who aspire to do so, it’s a good combination in terms of preparing for the future. You’re always adding to the mix and creating new opportunities for young players to advance and have opportunities to win gold medals and potentially continue to become Olympians.’’

Athletes invited to participate in the USA U-17 National Team Trials, including UConn 2015 commit De’Janae Boykin, UConn 2015 targets Kalani Brown, Asia Durr, Arike Ogunbowale and Katie Lou Samuelson and 2016 targets Erin Boley and Lauren Cox, are also eligible to be selected to the U-18 National Team and may be asked to contend to be a part of the 12-member roster.

The trial sessions will be held in Sports Center 1, with two sessions May 24 starting at 11 a.m. (MDT) and 4 p.m. The two sessions May 25 will be 10:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., while the sessions May 26 will be held at 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The U-18 team announcement will be on the evening of May 26.

The 2014 FIBA Americas U-18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States. The top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2015 FIBA U-19 World Championship for Women.

“Looking at the list of players who will be at the trials makes me so happy that I am not on the committee,’’ USA U-18 National Team and University of South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said. “To be able to get this group of talented players down to 12 and maybe three alternates is going to be a challenge in itself. I hope I can play a small role of putting all the players in a position to play their best basketball and to give the committee a hard challenge to get this group down to just 12.

“I’m looking forward to working with some of the best talent in our country. They’re young. They’re driven. They are talented. They are hopefully future Olympians who we can help grow in USA Basketball at the international level to where one day they can live out some dreams that I’ve lived out in becoming an Olympian. It all starts with these younger teams.’’