COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Napheesa Collier, Katie Lou Samuelson, Azurá Stevens and Gabby Williams will join 36 student-athletes at the 2017 USA Basketball Women’s U23 National Team Training Camp, which will take place July 31-Aug. 4 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Head coach Geno Auriemma, who was the head coach of the National Team from 2009-16, will serve as the lead clinician during training camp, guiding all of the sessions except the team practices and games.
The 12-member team that will represent the USA in an inaugural U23 Four Nations Tournament for college-aged women this summer in Tokyo, Japan, is expected to be announced on Aug. 4. Players selected to the team will continue training at the USOTC through Aug. 7 before departing for Tokyo. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 23 years old or younger and currently are freshmen, sophomores or juniors in college.
The UConn contingent will not be eligible for selection to the team though as the Huskies are booked for a foreign tour of Italy from Aug. 12-23. However, all four are excited to participate in the training camp regardless of that fact.
In addition to the four Huskies, those participating in camp include; Kristine Anigwe (California/Phoenix, Ariz.); Ariel Atkins (Texas/Duncanville, Texas); Monique Billings (UCLA/Corona, Calif.); Erin Boley (Oregon/Hodgenville, Ky.); Kalani Brown (Baylor/Slidell, La.); Lexie Brown (Duke/Suwanee, Ga.); Tyra Buss (Indiana/Mt. Carmel, Ill.); Jordin Canada (UCLA/Los Angeles, Calif.); Natalie Chou (Baylor/Plano, Texas); Sophie Cunningham (Missouri/Columbia, Mo.); Asia Durr (Louisville/ Douglasville, Ga.); Katelynn Flaherty (Michigan/Point Pleasant, N.J.); Channon Fluker (CSUN/Pasadena, Calif.); Rebecca Greenwell (Duke/Owensboro, Ky.); Linnae Harper (Ohio State/Chicago, Ill.); Myisha Hines-Allen (Louisville/Montclair, N.J.); Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon/Walnut Creek, Calif.); Marina Mabrey (Notre Dame/Belmar, N.J.); Tynice Martin (West Virginia/Atlanta, Ga.); Brooke McCarty (Texas/League City, Texas); Teaira McCowan (Mississippi State/Brenham, Texas); Brittany McPhee (Stanford/Normandy Park, Wash.); Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State/Cincinnati, Ohio); Mariya Moore (Southern California/Hercules, Calif.); Jamie Nared (Tennessee/Portland, Ore.); Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame/Milwaukee, Wis.); Teniya Page (Penn State/Chicago, Ill.); Mercedes Russell (Tennessee/Springfield, Ore.); Jessica Shepard (Notre Dame/ Fremont, Neb.); Kristen Simon (Southern California/Gardena, Calif.); Destiny Slocum (Oregon State/ Meridian, Idaho); Hallie Thome (Michigan/Chagrin Falls, Ohio); Victoria Vivians (Mississippi State/Carthage, Miss.); Jatarie White (Texas/Charlotte, N.C.); A'ja Wilson (South Carolina/Hopkins, S.C.); and Jackie Young (Notre Dame/Princeton, Ind.).
"We are very excited about the group of players coming out to Colorado Springs for the U23 training camp," said Jennifer Rizzotti , chair of the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee and head coach at George Washington University. "We believe they represent the best players returning to college basketball this coming season. There is depth at every position, and we anticipate a highly competitive camp. It's important to recognize the young talent that has potential to be in the USA National Team pool in a few years. They will get invaluable experience during those five days and learn from some of the best on what it takes to progress to the highest levels of women's basketball."
Leading the 2017 USA Basketball Women's U23 National Team will be Jeff Walz of the University of Louisville as head coach, with Courtney Banghart of Princeton University and Michelle Clark-Heard of Western Kentucky University as assistant coaches.
During training camp, athletes will take part in sessions dedicated to skill development and to understanding the culture of success that is an important aspect of playing for the USA Basketball Women's National Team. Additionally, the participants will be divided into four teams that will compete in a round-robin tournament that results in semifinals and gold and bronze medal games.
Training camp begins on July 31 with a session at 5:45 p.m. (all times listed are MDT). On Aug. 1, training camp will continue at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., while Team 1 will play Team 2 at 4:30 p.m. and Team 3 will take on Team 4 at 6 p.m. Aug. 2 will begin with Team 1 versus Team 3 at 9:30 a.m. and Team 2 against Team 4 at 11 a.m., and after a training camp session at 3 p.m., Team 1 will play Team 4 at 5 p.m. and Team 2 will meet Team 3 at 6:30 p.m. On Aug. 3, the day will start with semifinal games at 8 a.m. and 9:30 a.m., followed by a training camp session at 12:30 p.m. and then one-hour team practices for each of the teams from 4-8 p.m. The final day of training camp on Aug. 4 will feature a bronze medal game at 8 a.m., a gold medal game at 9:30 a.m. and the official USA U23 National Team expected to be announced early that afternoon.
The 2017 U23 Four Nations Tournament, which will include the USA, Australia, Canada and Japan, will be a round-robin tournament played Aug. 12-15 in Tokyo (arena TBA).
The 2017 U23 Four Nations Tournament will provide meaningful competition and development opportunities. The USA's participation in the tournament is intended to help further develop the USA Basketball athlete pipeline and to help prepare athletes for possible future participation in the USA Basketball Women's National Team pool.
With four gold medals, Ogunbowale and Samuelson own the most gold in the group. They earned top finishes at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (3x3), the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2013 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship. Ogunbowale also earned a silver medal at the 2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship.
Four players have won three gold medals, including Collier, Harper, Russell and Wilson. Collier and Wilson were teammates on the gold-medal winning 2015 USA U19 World Championship and 2014 USA U18 National Teams. Collier also finished in first place at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games (3x3), while Wilson was a two-time U19 participant, winning gold in 2013 as well. Harper and Russell each won gold medals at the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship and 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Harper also collected gold at the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, bronze at the 2016 FIBA 3x3 World Championship, silver at the 2015 Pan American Games and an honorary bronze at the 2011 FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship. Russell won her third gold medal at the 2015 World University Games.
Six players own two gold medals, including Anigwe, Canada, Durr, Greenwell, Ionescu and Moore. Anigwe won gold at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship and the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship, as well as silver at the 2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship. Canada won gold at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and 2015 World University Games. Durr and Ionescu finished in the top place at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship. Greenwell earned gold at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship and the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship, as well as an honorary bronze medal at the 2011 FIBA 3x3 Youth World Championship. And, Moore won gold at the 2014 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The remaining 11 gold medalists include 2014 USA U18 National Team teammates Atkins, Mabrey, McCowan and Shepard; and 2015 USA U19 World Championship Team members Slocum and Stevens. Kalani Brown won gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U16 Championship; Lexie Brown earned gold at the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship; Chou won gold at the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship, and she and Boley won silver medals at the 2015 FIBA 3x3 U18 World Championship; while White won gold at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship.