USA Basketball announces Women’s U23 National Team

DALLAS, TX - MARCH 31: A'ja Wilson
DALLAS, TX - MARCH 31: A'ja Wilson /

2017 Final Four Most Outstanding Player A’ja Wilson highlights the 12-player U23 Women’s National Team, which USA Basketball released on Friday.

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The rising South Carolina senior will lead the national team in the inaugural U23 Four Nations Tournament, Aug. 12-15 in Tokyo.

The USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee chose the team after five days of training camp at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. The other members of the U23 team who will join Wilson in Japan are: Ariel Atkins (Texas), Monique Billings (UCLA), Kalani Brown (Baylor), Jordin Canada (UCLA), Asia Durr (Louisville), Sabrina Ionescu (Oregon), Brittany McPhee (Stanford), Kelsey Mitchell (Ohio State), Jamie Nared (Tennessee), Arike Ogunbowale (Notre Dame), and Mercedes Russell (Tennessee).

The field was selected from a pool of 36 players who tried out, though only 31 were eligible to play, according to the AP’s Doug Feinberg. Those who were ineligible include four players from UConn and Duke’s Rebecca Greenwell. Both the Huskies and Blue Devils have overseas trips that conflict with the tournament.

"“We were very impressed during training camp,” said Jennifer Rizzotti, chair of the USA Basketball Women’s Junior National Team Committee and head coach at George Washington University. “It was an impressive list to begin with, but to see how hard they competed and how important it was for them to be here – nobody took the week off, nobody didn’t put in maximum effort, and that is what made the committee’s job so hard.”"

Louisville coach Jeff Walz will serve as head coach of the team, with assistants Courtney Banghart (Princeton) and Michelle Clark-Heard (Western Kentucky) by his side.

"“We are very excited to get working,” Walz said. “There is a lot of individual talent that now as a coaching staff we are going to have to put together and figure out different combinations of how we play to their strengths.”"