Six WNBA Draft Picks Named to 2010 USA Basketball Women's Select Team
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (April 8, 2010) -- Ten of the nation's elite college players, including seven with USA Basketball experience, have been named to the 2010 USA Basketball Women's Select Team, USA Basketball today announced. Additionally, USA Basketball veterans Debbie Ryan of the University of Virginia and Dawn Staley of the University of South Carolina, who played collegiately for Ryan at Virginia, will act as court coaches for the 2010 USA Select Team.
With a gap in the international calendar this summer for college-aged players, USA Basketball will conduct the USA Select Team training camp April 15-18 in Hartford and Storrs, Conn., in order to continue preparing its historically strong pipeline of athletes for future USA National Team events. Comprised of future USA National Team hopefuls, the collegians will scrimmage against the USA National Team.
"This unique experience will give these elite athletes a chance to continue to work on their skills in a USA Basketball setting, where they'll also get a valuable glimpse into the USA National Team program," said USA Basketball Executive Director/CEO Jim Tooley.
Members of the 2010 USA Select Team include: Kalana Greene (Connecticut / Saint Stephen, S.C.), Kelsey Griffin (Nebraska / Eagle River, Alaska), Allison Hightower (LSU / Arlington, Texas), Jantel Lavender (Ohio State / Cleveland, Ohio), Jacinta Monroe (Florida State / Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.), Nneka Ogwumike (Stanford / Cypress, Texas), Andrea Riley (Oklahoma State / Dallas, Texas), Danielle Robinson (Oklahoma / San Jose, Calif.), Jasmine Thomas (Duke / Fairfax, Va.) and Monica Wright (Virginia / Woodbridge, Va.).
"I had a chance to work with a select team years ago when Tara (VanDerveer) was coaching the Olympic team," said 2009-12 USA Basketball Women's National Team head coach Geno Auriemma of the University of Connecticut. "I thought it was a great opportunity for those young kids to get a feel for what USA Basketball is and what it entails to be part of that special group. For those young players to be in that environment, I think it's a great learning experience for them. It's a great opportunity for us as coaches to evaluate them, see where they are now and let them know where they need to be down the road. It's something that I'm glad we're able to do and I hope we keep doing it in the future. It's a great group. They're all distinguished players from great programs with a history of winning. That's certainly one of the most important things about being with USA Basketball, making sure that we get character kids who know nothing but winning.
"I couldn't be happier that Dawn and Debbie have agreed to do this. Dawn has had such a long and distinguished career with USA Basketball and had so much success on the playing side winning gold medals, on the coaching side winning gold medals, she's a natural. And then having Debbie, who's been doing this for so long, who coached Dawn and who I have tremendous respect for and I'm so fond of, is great. I think it'll be a great learning experience for the two of them, as well as for me to be around the two of them."
While Ryan and Staley will serve as court coaches, the USA Select Team will be directed by the USA National Team coaching staff, which also includes DePaul University head coach Doug Bruno (DePaul) and Los Angeles Sparks head coach Jennifer Gillom.
USA National Team members confirmed to attend the spring training camp are: Seimone Augustus (Minnesota Lynx), Alana Beard (Washington Mystics), Swin Cash (Seattle Storm), Tina Charles (University of Connecticut), Kara Lawson (Connecticut Sun), Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream), Renee Montgomery (Connecticut Sun) and Maya Moore (University of Connecticut).
Additionally, USA National Team hopeful Jayne Appel (Stanford University), who attended the team's 2009 fall training camp, but was injured and unable to participate, will practice alongside USA National Team members in the hopes of being added to the squad.
Seven of the USA Select Team members have prior USA Basketball experience, including FIBA U19 World Championship gold medalists Lavender (2007), Ogwumike (2009), Thomas (2007) and Wright (2007). Lavender, Monroe and Robinson aided the 2009 USA World University Games Team to a gold medal last summer; Lavender (2006) and Ogwumike (2008) earned gold medals at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, qualifying the U.S. for the following summer's U19 World Championship; while Hightower (2005), Ogwumike (2007) and Wright (2005) participated in a USA Basketball Youth Development Festival.
Three members of the USA Select Team competed in the 2010 Final Four where Greene and the University of Connecticut earned the NCAA title. Additionally, Ogwumike and Robinson earned All-Final Four honors.