Closer Look at Team USA
Tina Charles
Tina Charles
HoopGurlz Publisher
Posted Jun 21, 2006


Assessments of those who made the USA Basketball U18 team that will play in the Americas World Championships Qualifier. Also reviews of all who participated in the trials at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.


Victoria Baugh
6-4 Swing, 2007
Sacramento, Calif.


The Lowdown: Baugh definitely will bring a Wow factor to the USA effort in the open court. At 6-4, she is a sight to behold with her ability to transport the ball upcourt at high speed and either attack the rim directly or deal to teammates on the wings. In that regard, she is one of the more scintillating players in the country in transition. Baugh has a tendency to play with less resolve in a halfcourt setting, we'd suppose, because of some lack of instincts out on the wing. She wants to play facing the basket, but feels most comfortable attacking off the dribble, particularly along the baseline.


Tina Charles
6-3 Forward, 2006
Jamaica, N.Y.


The Lowdown: As everyone kept saying, "Tina was Tina." She continues to show a Russell-esque ability to control games with her work ethic, rebounding and defense, plus her ability to run the floor better than anyone her size and taller. This past year has seen Charles develop her ballhandling in the open court and the ability to finish off runs with increasingly accurate pull-up jumpers. She did struggle on the blocks with a very quick spin move that she had difficulty finishing or avoid drawing traveling calls.


Stephanie Gilbreath
6-1 Guard, 2007
Katy, Texas


The Lowdown: Like most of the shooters during the trials, Gilbreath was inconsistent, but showed nice form, getting solid footing off the dribble and demonstrating a nice, high release off catch-and-shoot opportunities. She likely got the call because of her length, which she put to good use at the defensive end, particularly in patrolling the passing lanes. She also was among the best at creating her own shot. Her three-point stroke started coming back on the last day of competition, perhaps a sign of finally overcoming the Mile High altitude.


Italee Lucas
5-8 Guard, 2007
Las Vegas, Nev.


The Lowdown: The much-debated Ms. Lucas was the trials' revelation. Focusing on running her teams and playmaking, she was creative, effective and, even, entertaining both in transition and in halfcourt settings. A great combination of quickness, explosiveness and strength, she saw and made plays for her teammates, and took openings when they presented themselves. She sometimes conveys the sense that she is forcing her own offense, but not this weekend. If this is the real Italee Lucas, North Carolina may have its next Ivory Latta.


Kayla Pedersen
6-4 Swing, 2007
Fountain Hills, Ariz.


The Lowdown: Vicki Baugh is an obvious comparison for Pedersen because both are game-changing, 6-4 swing players. Pedersen doesn't have the same explosiveness, but is far more comfortable, at this stage, moving around the floor at various positions. She showed good ballhandling and vision from the wing and backcourt, and a willingness to mix it up on the block. She tried to show her three-point range, but like others was inconsistent. Her strength on offense still is shooting, elbow to elbow, and make high-post entries.


Khadijah Rushdan
5-9 Guard, 2007
Wilmington, Del.


The Lowdown: Rushdan may have been the second-biggest revelation of the trials, after Lucas. In the past, she sometimes has appeared bored or unmotivated on the court. This weekend, she was animated, in control and even courageous. Unlike others who were wiped out of competition by lesser injuries, she twice suffered severe sprains of the same ankle, but got taped up and jumped right back into the fray. She showed the ability to get into cracks at will to attack the rim, threw some sensational passes and hit the three with form.
Joy Cheek, 6-1 F (2006), Charlotte, N.C.:
Has good size, consistent outside shot, but Baugh, Pedersen are 6-4.
Elena DelleDonne, 6-5 F (2008), Wilmington, Del.:
Suffered ankle sprain two days before the trials and could not participate.
Alison Hightower, 5-11 G (2006), Arlington, Texas:
Similar game to Raven, but smaller - unfortunately for her.
Quanitra Hollingsworth, 6-5 C (College), Chesapeake, Va.:
Solid, polished performance, but needs to add strength.
Alison Jackson, 5-11 G, (2007), Chicago, Ill.:
Showed some athleticism, seemed a bit overwhelmed by the level of play.
Amy Jaeschke, 6-5 F (2007), Wilmette, Ill.:
Had nice mid-post offense, coudn't match athleticism of most posts.
Brittany Johnson, 5-11 G (2007), Olney, Ill.:
Showed good shooting form, but lacked consistency, size, strength.
Christy Marshall, 6-0 F (2006), Savannah, Ga.:
Good with the ball, active but USA needed shooting from this spot.
Andrea Mingo, 6-2 F (2007), Atlanta, Ga.:
Mobile, aggressive, with nice post game; a near miss for a roster spot.
Melanie Murphy, 5-9 G (2006), Brooklyn, N.Y.:
Smooth, had command on the floor, but lacked some size, strength.
Porsha Phillips, 6-0 F (2006), Stone Mountain, Ga.:
Injured early; has good size but not enough mastery of ball.
Epiphanny Prince, 5-10 G (2006), NewYork, N.Y.:
Showed some promise early, but seemed to give up.
Danielle Robinson, 5-7 G (2007), San Jose, Calif.:
Quick, good with ball, but lack of size was big obstacle.
Sydney Smallbone, 5-10 G (2007), Granger, Ind.:
Quick release, aggressive mindset, not enough comparative speed.
Jasmine Stone, 6-3 F/C (2006), Detroit, Mich.:
Abundant skills need to be toned down over time USA didn't have.
Brittney Thomas, 5-10 G (2007), Bolingbrook, Ill.:
Enthusiastic and skilled, but lacked consistency for this level.
Jasmine Thomas, 5-9 G (2007), Fairfax, Va.:
Surprising omission, unless coaches wanted stronger penetrator.
La'Teena Wickett, 6-3 F (2006), Oakland, Calif.:
Late arrival, never recovered.
Danielle Wilson, 6-3 F/C (2006), Bay Shore, N.Y.:
Active, factor inside, but lacks bulk, consistent faceup game.
Monica Wright, 5-11 G (2006), Woodbridge,Va.:
Probably most explosive athlete at the trials, another surprise omission.
Jessica Breland, Kristen Phillips did not participate



Glenn Nelson is the publisher of HoopGurlz.com and the editor-in-chief of Scout Media (www.Scout.com), an online sports network and magazine-publishing company and subsidiary of Fox Interactive Media. Glenn also founded and coached the Dragons and Northwest HoopGurlz select girls basketball teams. He previously was a longtime, national-award-winning basketball columnist and writer for The Seattle Times. His work also has appeared in several national magazines and books. He is co-author of "Rising Stars: The Ten Best Players in the NBA" (Rosen Publishing, 2002). He can be reached at hoopgurlz@comcast.net.



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