Courtney Vandersloot Shines at Team USA Camp


By Ben York / @bjyork

My original thought for today was to write a thorough recap of how practice went while placing a more detailed emphasis on Chicago Sky players Sylvia Fowles, Shameka Christon, and Courtney Vandersloot.

However, Courtney Vandersloot’s thrilling performance today trumped that idea. Fast.

There is no other way to say it; day two of the USA Basketball Women’s National Team training camp in Las Vegas belonged to rookie point guard, and third overall pick, Courtney Vandersloot. Sky fans, trust me, you have a lot to be excited about in 2011.

In case you were wondering, here are the exact notes I wrote down in my notebook after seeing Vandersloot play today:
- “Vision is incredible.”
- “Use of angles is terrific. Impressive.”
- “Doesn’t play like a rookie.”
- “Natural. Can’t teach this stuff.”

It wasn’t just that she was making shots or taking care of the ball; it was how she created multiple scoring opportunities for her teammates and meticulously placed her passes so they could shoot right away. Good point guards get the ball to open players; great ones get the ball in the precise spot they like to receive it – Vandersloot does exactly that.

Furthermore, she played like a veteran against the best in the world without skipping a beat. Vandersloot has unanimously been one of the biggest stand-outs at camp thus far and has impressed her fellow teammates and coaches. Still, the humble Vandersloot just wants to soak up everything she can during this unique experience.

“It’s exciting and I’m just trying to learn,” says a smiling and modest Vandersloot. “It is everything I expected it to be. All of the players have been so great and willing to come up and help give me pointers.”

Not that she needed them…

During a scrimmage towards the end of practice, Vandersloot accounted for eleven straight points for her team. The first was an amazing assist to Seimone Augustus off the break, followed by a dish to Jayne Appel in the lane, then another amazing pass to a cutting Augustus, a twelve-foot jumper beating three defenders up the court, and ending with a three-pointer in the corner to seal the victory for her team.

Folks, this was done by a rookie against the best in the world.

“It has been a little overwhelming,” says Vandersloot of how intense the training camp has been. “I’m just trying to compete to the best of my ability and learn from the best. It really has been a great learning experience so far.”

Vandersloot says she is already developing some chemistry with Sylvia Fowles, but expects that to blossom even more during the Sky’s training camp next week.

“We had a chance to play together yesterday,” Vandersloot says. “We won both games so I think that’s a good sign.”

A very good sign, indeed.

Check back for more Sky updates from Ben York at Team USA training camp throughout the week.