Colorado Springs, CO: At the 2019 USA Trials in Colorado Springs, CO, it’s separation season, and you have to do it quick and in a hurry. As new USA U16 National Team Head Coach Mark Campbell emphasized early, “You tell me a story about yourself every time you hit the floor, so what kind of story you want to tell?” These girls hit the US Olympic Training grounds running, and are telling their story in a big time way!
Five That Shined
2022 Timea Gardiner 6’3” PF Utah
For my money, Gardiner is the most skilled post player in the 150 plus player field at the 2019 USA Trials. She’s got counters for everything you can throw at her and a soft touch around the basket to go with it. Her size, footwork, and agility make for a deadly combination for her opponents. She rebounds and defends and is a real asset to her teams. Gardiner is making some noise and turning some heads...definitely mine.
2021 Kayla McPherson 5’7” PG Georgia
On a mission from the first whistle, Kayla McPherson turned her switch on, and it must have gotten jammed because she was lighting it up out on the court. She was impossible to stay in front of as she was able to get to any spot on the court she wanted to create for herself and others. She attacked really good defenders, and she stepped up to guard the other teams best player if at all possible. That grit made for an entertaining few minutes that saw McPherson and ultra-talented Olivia Miles go tit for tat. McPherson’s lethal combination of skill, speed, and strength makes her one of the top PGs in attendance.
2022 Janiah Barker 6’3” PF Florida
You could argue Janiah Barker was the most versatile PF in the gym. She scored off the dribble, with range, and in the post. She also effectively guarded multiple positions. One can tell she expects the best out of herself, and she gives it from baseline to baseline. Barker is, indeed a unique talent.
2021 Olivia Miles 5’10” CG New Jersey
I was beyond impressed with Olivia Miles. But it’s one thing for a scout or coach or fan to be impressed (and they all were), but it’s another thing to command the attention of your peers. Olivia Miles did just that. She threw no-look passes, made shots off of dribble combos, and made 3s from well beyond the international 3. She defended well too. And didn’t back down when the lights were on vs. another stellar performer, Kayla McPherson who was the highlight of the day. Miles has the edge on the field with her electric play.
2021 Damiya Hagemann 5’8” PG Michigan
Hagemann is a joy to watch, and she makes her teammates happy. I’d bet nothing makes Damiya happier than hitting a cutting big with a wrap around or behind the back pass. You should see the smile when that post player converts it. Hagemann has an infectious energy and is claiming a coveted spot on the US U16 National Team.