Dec. 14, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina senior forward A’ja Wilson is among 29 athletes named to the 2017-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool, from which the 2018 USA World Cup Team is expected to be selected. The pool, which includes 13 Olympic and/or FIBA World Cup gold medalists and five collegiate members, was selected by the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee.
Under the direction of head coach Dawn Staley, available members of the group will continue preparation for the 2018 FIBA World Cup of Basketball and future USA Basketball Women’s National Team events by participating in a minicamp Feb. 9-11 at the University of South Carolina. It will mark the second camp under Staley, 2017-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team and South Carolina head coach.
“I’m incredibly pleased with the pool of players that make up the 29 and the different experiences that they bring to the team,” said Staley, whose Gamecocks are currently 9-1 and ranked No. 4/5 nationally. “I’m looking forward to putting my stamp on this training camp, because it’s new, it’s different. Yet, you can give the 29 members of the pool anything to run, and they’re going to make you look good. We just have to get together to form some chemistry. Many of us have been together and worked together, just not in this capacity. So, anytime we can get the USA National Team together and work for a few days, it’s only going to benefit us in the long run.
“Anytime you can assemble the best players in our country together in one place, it always is an incredible thing. I think USA Basketball has done a great job of making things convenient for everyone in bringing people together in a place in which, I think everyone who comes will be pleasantly surprised at what Columbia has to offer and what our university has to offer. It’s a tremendous time that will be spent wisely and it’ll be enjoyable.”
As was the case over the past three quadrenniums, the 2017-20 USA National Team roster will be fluid. It is expected that the official, 12-member 2018 USA World Cup and 2020 U.S. Olympic teams, should the USA qualify to compete in Tokyo, will be comprised of players from the 2017-20 USA National Team.
The USA will train at 10 a.m. (EST) daily Feb. 9-11 at the Carolina Coliseum, and the final roster of minicamp participants will be announced at a later date. Collegiate members of the 2017-20 USA squad as well as those competing professionally in Asia, which currently includes Sylvia Fowles, Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart, will be unavailable to participate in the camp.
“This is a very talented group, from four-time Olympians Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, to the younger players who are hoping to compete in their first USA National Team competition,” said Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team director and chair of the USA Women’s National Team Player Selection Committee. “As we looked toward the future, the committee first had to look at the past. We acknowledged that what has made the USA National Team program such a resounding success over the past two decades was the way our teams have seamlessly blended youth with veteran leadership. And because of that, we wanted to make sure we continued with that recipe in building a team. We can’t say enough about the veterans, we win simply because our best players want to play over and over again.
“We are happy to be able to take advantage of this time and I want to thank the University of South Carolina for allowing us to train there in February. USA Basketball is blessed with an array of talent, but that means that our athletes are in demand around the world in many different professional leagues. But, that is also a challenge for us in that we need to be able to find small pockets of time to train in order to be fully prepared to defend the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA World Cup in Spain. We are hoping to be able to get together for another minicamp prior to the start of the WNBA season, where we will continue to prepare and hope to have even more athletes available. We appreciate everyone who is able to participate in our training camps as we feel it’s invaluable to everyone to become more familiar with Dawn’s style of coaching and continue to build on the team culture that has been one of the hallmarks of our success.”
2017-20 USA Basketball Women’s National Team Pool
2017-20 USA National Team Head Coach:Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina
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