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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

UConn recruiting targets Harper, McCall make U-17 team

The United States team which will be competing in the FIBA U-17 World Championships was just announced and UConn Class of 2013 recruiting targets Linnae Harper and Erica McCall are part of the 12-member squad. Also making the cut is Brianna Turner, a Class of 2014 forward, who is on UConn's recruiting radar.

The rest of the team is (college commitment in parenthesis): Lindsay Allen (Notre Dame), Oderah Chidom, Kaela Davis, Diamond DeShields (North Carolina), Rebecca Greenwell, Kai James, Taya Reimer (Notre Dame), Mercedes Russell and Jessica Washington (North Carolina).

UConn recruiting targets Jannah Tucker and Courtney Ekmark are among the players who didn't make the team although Tucker and LaJahna Drummer, who lists UConn among her seven favorites schools in her USA Basketball bio, have been invited to stay and vie for spots on the U-18 team which will be announced on Monday.

The U-17 team will reconvene on May 28 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. for a training camp  at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and will return to Colorado Springs for more training from Aug. 1-8 before leaving for Europe. The first game for the United States in the U-17 World Championships will be on Aug. 17 against South Korea.

Here are quotes from Harper, McCall and Turner courtesy of USA Basketball.

Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S./Chicago, Ill.)
You played on two USA Basketball teams last summer, did that give you confidence or were you still very nervous this morning?
Oh yeah. My stomach just dropped when she called my name. Even though I made it last year, it was really tough. It was challenging, and I had no idea who was going to make the team because this weekend was very challenging. Everyone played their hardest. So, I was so nervous. To hear my name again is just an honor.
Do you think your past international experiences with USA Basketball will help you and the team this summer?Yes, I think it will help. Also, it gives me another chance to represent my country and play with a few girls from last year. It’s really amazing. It will be a great summer.
Do you think the competition at trials was tougher than last year?Yes, the competition was amazing. Every drill and every session was hard and important. We all played our best.
What do you think you can contribute to this team to help the USA win a gold medal at the FIBA U17 World Championship?My toughness and being really physical on the court; trying to lead the team and help them in any way possible I can to help the USA get the gold.

Erica McCall (Ridgeview H.S./Bakersfield, Calif.)
What does it feel like to make your second USA Basketball roster?
It just feels great to have this experience again. I was really nervous; everybody played great and it was going to be a hard decision. Just being here again is a great opportunity.
How excited are you to travel with this team?I’m extremely excited. We have a really good team and just to spend this time with these girls, my whole summer is going to be great.
How do you feel trials went for you?I was nervous, especially I think it was the first scrimmage, I did really bad, so I was afraid that was going to mess me up. But I’m here and I’m happy to be here.

Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S./Pearland, Texas)
How does it feel to hear your name called and make the team?
Unbelievable, like I hope I don’t wake up soon because I’m dreaming.
How do you feel you played at trials?I thought in the beginning I didn’t play too solidly, but as it went on I think I improved a lot.
What does it mean to represent your country and travel with this team?It’s amazing. I’ve never been out of the country before, so that’s just amazing. Then I get to represent the USA. How many kids get to say they represent their own country?
You were here last year and didn’t make the roster; did you come back motivated after that?I tried to improve on anything I thought I could improve on, and I did.

Mali's Aston Dabo, taken by the Connecticut Sun with the ninth pick in April's WNBA draft, will be playing in the EuroLeague next year.

The 6-8 Dabo signed with Arras which rallied from an 18-point deficit to upset Bourges Basket in the French Cup final. The victory earns Arras a spot in the rough and tumble EuroLeague next season although's/ report stated that it is unknown whether Arras would accept the EuroLeague spot.


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