May 27, 2014
Paris Kea has some exciting days ahead of her.
Kea -- an incoming freshman at Vanderbilt -- was selected as a member of the USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team when the roster was finalized on Monday night.
The 12-member team will compete in the FIBA Americas U18 Championship at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Col., from Aug. 6-10.
The team was selected following six trial sessions, with the final one being Monday.
Kea, who was a standout at Page High in Greensboro, N.C., said that being picked for the team "felt amazing." She also said that she was able to stay relaxed mentally throughout the intense three days of competition.
"I wasn't nervous," said Kea, who was a three-time AP All-State First Team selection in high school. "I believe I did okay in the first session. As it progressed, I kind of lost a lot of energy and was tired. No excuses, though. I don't think I played my absolute best, but I tried to come out here hard in the last session."
Kea averaged 24.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game this past season as a senior.
The USA roster was selected by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee. Vanderbilt head coach Melanie Balcomb is a member of the Committee, which is chaired by Jim Foster, the head coach at Tennessee-Chattanooga and former VU head coach.
"I am so happy for Paris and the opportunity that she has earned," said Balcomb. "Playing for USA Basketball is a very special honor."
Also on the USA squad is a trio of USA Basketball gold medalists: Receé Caldwell (Homeschooled/San Antonio, Texas); Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S/Pearland, Texas) and A'ja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S./Hopkins, S.C.).
Joining the team for the first time are: Ariel Atkins (Duncanville H.S./Duncanville, Texas); Napheesa Collier (Incarnate Word Academy/O'Fallon, Mo.); Kea (Greensboro Page H.S./Greensboro, N.C.); Marina Mabrey (Manasquan H.S./Manasquan, N.J.); Teaira McCowan (Brenham H.S./Brenham, Texas); Beatrice Mompremier (Miami H.S./Miami, Fla.); Mariya Moore (Salesian H.S./Richmond, Calif.); Jessica Shepard (Fremont H.S./Fremont, Neb.); and Destinee Walker (Lake Highland Prep School/Ocoee, Fla.).
University of South Carolina head coach and three-time Olympic gold medalist Dawn Staley is the USA U18 National Team head coach. Her assistants will be collegiate head coaches Kim Barnes Arico (University of Michigan) and Jeff Walz (University of Louisville).
"I think it's a great team," said Staley, who in addition to her three Olympic gold medals as an athlete aided the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team to gold as an assistant coach. "To be quite honest, it was a great trials. It's unfortunate that we couldn't take all 29 players, because they all brought something different to the table and could have very easily been on this basketball team. But, the 12 that they picked are very, very talented. They're very versatile. I think they'll perform well in our tournament, and I'm looking forward to working with them on a daily basis."
Said Foster: "We have a lot of strengths on this team," said Jim Foster, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga head coach and chair of the USA Junior National Team Committee. "We have some returning players from international competition and a nice blend of size and athleticism. This is a team the committee feels can be very representative of USA Basketball and the success we've had in the past."
The FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, including: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States. The top four finishing teams will qualify for the 2015 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women.
For complete release from USA basketball: click here.
For USA U18 National Team roster: click here.
For USA U18 National Team schedule: click here.
For more quotes from the players: click here.