May 9, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. -
California freshmen Alexis Gray-Lawson, Devanei Hampton, Jené Morris and Ashley Walker are among 37 of the nation's top 20-and-under athletes under consideration for spots on the eventual 12-member 2006 USA U20 National Team that will look to defend the United States' title at the 2006 FIBA Americas U20 Championship. Cal leads all schools for the most athletes under consideration. Last week, Golden Bear head coach Joanne Boyle was selected as a USA assistant coach for the 2006 FIBA Americas U20 Championship.
The student-athlete invitations were issued by the USA Basketball Women's Collegiate Committee, which is chaired by Sue Donohoe, the NCAA's vice president of Division I women's basketball.
"The list of players who will vie for a spot on the USA's FIBA Americas U20 Championship Team is full of talent," said USA U20 National team and Michigan State University head coach Joanne P. McCallie. "I'm excited about seeing them all at the trials in a few weeks. I know with this kind of talent, the Committee will have a tough time narrowing it down to just 12 players. Looking at the 37 athletes, I really like our chances for success later this summer."
Trials for the USA U20 Championship Team are scheduled for May 18-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. Finalists for the eventual 12-member team will be announced on May 21 and will reconvene in late July for training camp at a site to be determined prior to departing for the FIBA Americas U20 Championship.
Scheduled for Aug. 9-13 at a site TBD, the tournament will feature eight teams from North, South and Central Americas and the Caribbean. The top three finishing teams qualify for the 2007 FIBA U21 Women's World Championship that will be held July 27-Aug. 5 in Guatemala City, Guatemala.
Trials begin May 18 with a 5:30-7:30 p.m. (all times MDT) session. May 19-20 will feature two-a-days from 8:30-11 a.m. and 4:30-7 p.m. each day. Trials will conclude with an 8 a.m. session on May 21, followed by the announcement of USA team finalists.
McCallie will be assisted by Boyle and Furman University's (S.C.) Sam Dixon; while Loyola University's (La.) DoBee Plaisance, Grand Valley State University's (Mich.) Dawn Plitzuweit and Georgia Perimeter College's James Waldon have been selected as court coaches for USA Basketball's 2006 FIBA Americas U20 Championship For Women Team Trials.
Gray-Lawson (5-8 guard), Hampton (6-3 center), Morris (5-9 guard) and Walker (6-1 forward) were all regular starters for Cal in 2005-06, helping the Golden Bears to their first winning season in 13 years at 18-12 and to their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1993. The quartet were the Bears' top four scorers, led by Hampton at 15.4 ppg (seventh Pac-10), Gray-Lawson at 14.6 ppg (ninth Pac-10), Walker at 13.3 ppg and Morris at 8.7 ppg. Walker paced the Pac-10 in blocks per game (1.7 bpg, 51 total), while Morris was third in the conference in steals per game (2.30 spg, 62 total).
The 37 athletes include Demetress Adams (South Carolina / Bishopville, S.C.); Matee Ajavon (Rutgers / Newark, N.J.); Jolene Anderson (Wisconsin / Port Wing, Wis.); Morenike Atunrase (Texas A&M / Shreveport, La.); DeWanna Bonner (Auburn / Fairfield, Ala.); Sha Brooks (Florida / Jackson, Tenn.); KeKe Carrier (Auburn / Lake Charles, La.); Essence Carson (Rutgers / Paterson, N.J.); Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (Stanford / Queens, N.Y.); Alexis Gray-Lawson (California / Oakland, Calif.); Devanei Hampton (California / Oakland, Calif.); Jillian Harmon (Stanford / Lake Oswego, Ore.); Michelle Harrison (Mountain View High School / Sandy, Utah); JJ Hones (Southridge High School / Beaverton, Ore.); Danielle Hood (Hartford / Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.); Aarika Hughes (Southridge High School / Beaverton, Ore.); Tye Jackson (Houston / Houston, Texas ); Larkins; Victoria Lucas-Perry (Michigan State / Flint, Mich.); Dionne Marsh (New Mexico / Flower Mound, Texas ); Renee Montgomery (Connecticut / St. Albans, W. Va.); Jené Morris (California / San Francisco, Calif.); Jordan Murphree (Brock High School / Weatherford, Texas); Marscilla Packer (Ohio State / Pickerington, Ohio); Courtney Paris; Ashley Paris (Oklahoma / Piedmont, Calif.); Allie Quigley (DePaul / Joliet, Ill.); Lindsay Schrader (Notre Dame / Bartlett, Ill.); Megan Skouby (Iowa (Mentor, Ohio ); Amanda Thompson (Whitney Young High School / Chicago, Ill.); Kia Vaughn (Rutgers / Bronx, N.Y.); Ashley Walker (California / Modesto, Calif.); Marcedes Walker (Pittsburgh / Philadelphia, Pa.); Erica White (Louisiana State / Jacksonville, Fla.); Khadijah Whittington (North Carolina State / Roanoke, Va.); Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton (Purdue / Naperville, Ill.) and Tamera Young (James Madison / Wilmington, N.C.).
Among the 37 under consideration for a final roster spot, 25 have previous USA Basketball experience. In addition to Larkins and Courtney Paris, Anderson and Carson also aided the U.S. squad to a dominating gold medal performance at the FIBA U19 World Championship. Carrier, a finalist for the '05 U19 squad, as well as the four above mentioned '05 U19 team members, helped the American women to the gold medal at the 2005 International Sports Invitational against top junior national teams from Australia, Russia and China. The previous summer Carson, Larkins and Courtney Paris were members of the USA U18 National Team that earned the United States' berth in the U19 Worlds after claiming the 2004 FIBA Americas U18 Championship. Additionally, Ajavon, Carson, Carrier, Gray-Lawson, Hampton, Harmon, Harrison, Hones, Hughes, Lucas-Perry, Montgomery, Murphree, Packer, Ashley Paris, Courtney Paris, Schrader, Skouby, Thompson, Vaughn, White, Whittington and Wisdom-Hylton have all competed in a USA Basketball Youth Development Festival; while Atunrase attended the 2005 USA Junior National Team Trials.
Following on the heels of a successful freshman campaign, Courtney Paris, the 2006 U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) Freshman of the Year, was named 2006 All-America first team by the Associated Press (A.P.), USBWA and ESPN, while also receiving All-America accolades from Kodak/WBCA. Larkins, a member of UNC's 2006 Final Four squad, was named an A.P. and Kodak/WBCA All-America honorable mention. Additionally, Gray-Lawson, Hampton, Courtney Paris and Skouby were tabbed 2006 Freshman All-America by the Women's Basketball News Service.
Twenty of the 32 collegiate athletes were among the nation's all-conference teams, including Hood (first) in the America East Conference; Larkins (first) in the Atlantic Coast Conference; Adams (first), Ajavon (first), Carson (second), Quigley (second) and Marcedes Walker (first) in the Big East Conference; Anderson (second), Lucas-Perry (honorable mention), Packer (third), Skouby (second/media, third/coaches) and Wisdom-Hylton (third) in the Big Ten Conference; Courtney Paris (first) in the Big 12 Conference; Young (first) in the Colonial Athletic Association; Jackson (first) in Conference USA; Marsh (first) in the Mountain West Conference; Gray-Lawson (honorable mention) and Hampton (first) in the Pacific-10 Conference; and Bonner (honorable mention) and Brooks (second) in the Southeastern Conference.
Furthermore, following the 2005-06 season Carson was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year; Lucas-Perry earned Academic All-Big Ten honors; Courtney Paris was the Big 12 co-Defensive Player of the Year and listed on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team; Wisdom-Hylton (Big 10) and Young (CAA) were named to their respective conference's All-Defensive Team; and Larkins (ACC), Courtney Paris (Big 12) and Young (CAA) earned 2006 conference All-Tournament Team honors, with Courtney Paris collecting the Big 12 Tournament MVP award.
Gray-Lawson (Pac-10), Montgomery (Big East), Courtney Paris (Big 12) and Skouby (Big 10) each earned Freshman of the Year honors in their conference; while Adams (SEC), Bonner (SEC), Brooks (SEC), Carrier (SEC), Gold-Onwude (Pac-10 honorable mention), Gray-Lawson (Pac-10), Hampton (Pac-10), Harmon (Pac-10), Montgomery (Big East), Morris (Pac-10 honorable mention), Courtney Paris (Big 12) and Ashley Walker (Pac-10) were on their conference all-freshman team.
Of the five athletes who will compete in their freshman season at the collegiate level in 2006-07, all of whom competed in the 2005 USA Basketball Youth Development Festival but are ineligible age-wise for the 2006 USA U18 National team, four collected 2006 High School All-America honors. Thompson, a USA Today All-USA second team mention, leads the list as she was also named Parade Magazine All-America first team, as well as to the WBCA and McDonald's High School All-America squads. Additionally, Murphree (second), Harrison (third) and Hones (third) listed on Parade's All-America teams; Harrison and Murphree were tabbed 2006 McDonald's All-Americans; Murphree was also a WBCA All-American and Harrison earned WBCA All-America honorable mention. Further, Harrison (Utah), Hones (Oregon) and Thompson (Illinois) were all named 2006 Gatorade Circle of Champions Player of the Year in their respective states.
In all, there are five athletes who recently completed their final year of high school eligibility, 16 rising college sophomores, 15 rising juniors and one who will be a college senior in the fall. The 32 collegiate athletes hail from 24 schools and 10 different conferences, with California (four) and Rutgers (three) ringing in with the most representatives per school, and the Big East (eight) and Pac-10 (six) ring in with the most athletes per conference.
Born on Jan. 7, 1986, Lucas-Perry lists as the oldest athlete, while Harrison, born on Dec. 11, 1987, is the youngest. White, a 5-5 guard, is the shortest in the group, and Skouby, a 6-6 center, is the tallest.