South Carolina forward A’ja Wilson is among 40 elite college athletes, including 22 international goal medalists, to accept invitations to attend 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, Colo.
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 for 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 are currently freshmen, sophomores or juniors in college.
“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. “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 Louisville as head coach with Courtney Banghart (Princeton) and Michelle Clark-Heard (Western Kentucky) as assistant coaches. Geno Auriemma (UConn) will serve as the lead clinician during training camp, guiding all of the sessions except the team practices and pgames.
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.
Four players at training camp have already won three gold medals, including Wilson, who captured hers as part of the 2013 USA U19 World Championship, 2014 USA U18 Americas Championship and the 2015 U19 World Championship teams. The roster also includes four players who have won NCAA National Championships with Wilson the most current recipient of the honor after leading the Gamecocks to the 2017 title and earning Final Four Most Outstanding Player recognition.
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 profile and to help prepare athletes for possible future participation in the USA Basketball Women’s National Team pool.