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Kentucky women’s basketball signee Linnae (La-NAY) Harper is one of 34 top athletes in the country age 19-years-old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1994), who have accepted invitations to participate in the 2013 USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team trials, USA Basketball today announced. Trials to select the 12-member USA squad will be held May 16-19 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. Invitations to the trials were issued by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee.
Harper, a 5-foot-8 guard from Chicago and a former teammate of current Wildcat Janee Thompson at Whitney Young High School, is no stranger to USA Basketball. She won gold medals as a member of the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team and the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship Team. She also was awarded an honorary bronze medal in the inaugural 2011 FIBA 3×3 U18 World Championship.
Harper is ranked as the nation’s No. 5 prospect and No. 2 guard according to ESPN.com, the highest-ranked recruit in UK Hoops history. During her prep career, Harper played for four city championship teams and four Class 4A state-qualifying teams. She led Whitney Young to the 4A Illinois state championship title in 2012 and a third-place finish in Class 4A in 2013. Harper was named to both the McDonald’s All-American team and Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American team after averaging 19.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game during her senior season. She was one of five finalists for the Naismith High School Player of the Year award — the only underclassmen to ever be nominated, and was the Chicago Sun-Times Player of the Year. She also was a three-time Illinois Basketball Coaches Association 3A/4A All-State first team member. Harper chose Kentucky over Tennessee, Miami, Ohio State and UCLA.
Six members of the 2012 USA U18 National Team that earned the USA its 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship berth are returning to compete for a spot on the 2013 USA U19 World Championship Team – as is the coaching staff. Assisting Meier and the U19 squad are collegiate head coaches Nikki Caldwell of Louisiana State University and Kelly Graves of Gonzaga University. Additionally, American University head coach Matt Corkery, University of Wisconsin head coach Bobbie Kelsey and University of Tulsa head coach Matilda Mossman will serve as court coaches during the trials.
Accepting invitations to participate in the trials were: Jordan Adams (Southern California / Irvine, Calif.); Candice Agee (Penn State / Victorville, Calif.); Jillian Alleyne (Oregon / Fontana, Calif.); Ameryst Alston (Ohio State / Canton, Ohio); Shacobia Barbee (Georgia / Mufreesboro, Tenn.); Amber Campbell (Northwood Academy / Charleston, S.C.); Oderah Chidom (Bishop O’Dowd H.S. / Oakland, Calif.); Nia Coffey (Hopkins H.S. / Minneapolis, Minn.); Kendall Cooper (St. Anthony’s H.S. / Carson, Calif.); Rebekah Dahlman (Braham Area H.S. / Braham, Minn.); Kaela Davis (Buford H.S. / Suwanee, Ga.); Amber Deane (Dayton / Lathrup Village, Mich.); Lia Galdeira (Washington State / Kamuela, Hawaii); Bashaara Graves (Tennessee / Clarksville, Tenn.); Gabby Green (St. Mary’s College H.S. / Oakland, Calif.); Tiaria Griffin (Georgia / Monticello, Miss.); Linnae Harper (Whitney Young H.S. / Chicago, Ill.); Moriah Jefferson (Connecticut / Glenn Heights, Texas); Alexis Jones (Duke / Irving, Texas); Brittney Martin (Oklahoma State / Syracuse, Utah); Stephanie Mavunga (Brownsburg H.S. / Indianapolis, Ind.); Xylina McDaniel (North Carolina / Columbia, S.C.); Sydney Moss (Florida / Union, Ky.); Kelsey Plum (La Jolla Country Day / Poway, Calif.); Jordan Reynolds (Central Catholic H.S. / Portland, Ore.); Tyler Scaife (Little Rock Hall H.S. / Little Rock, Ark.); Ieshia Small (Florida State University H.S. / Tallahassee, Fla.); Breanna Stewart (Connecticut / North Syracuse, N.Y.); Brittney Sykes (Syracuse / Newark, N.J.); Morgan Tuck (Connecticut / Bolingbrook, Ill.); Brianna Turner (Manvel H.S. / Pearland, Texas); Courtney Walker (Texas A&M / Edmond, Okla.); Marqu’es Webb (Hoover H.S. / Montgomery, Ala.) and A’ja Wilson (Heathwood Hall H.S / Hopkins, S.C.).
Stewart is the most experienced USA Basketball alum attending trials. The MVP of the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship and member of the five-member 2009 All-FIBA U19 World Championship Tournament Team, Stewart has helped USA squads earn gold at the 2010 U17 and 2011 U19 FIBA World Championships, as well as the 2009 U16 and 2012 U18 FIBA Americas Championships. Further, the 2011 USA Basketball Female Athlete of the Year was the lone high school athlete on the 2011 USA Pan American Games Team.
In addition to Stewart; Agee, Cooper, Graves, Jefferson and Tuck were members of the 2012 USA U18 National Team that captured the FIBA Americas U18 Championship to secure a berth to this summer’s competition. Also winning gold for the USA in 2012 were Chidom, Davis, Harper and Turner as members of the 2012 USA U17 World Championship Team; while Davis and Turner earned a second gold medal last summer at the FIBA 3×3 U18 World Championship.
Returning from the most recent USA U19 squad that captured gold at the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship are Adams, Jones, Stewart and Tuck.
Davis, Harper and Mavunga teamed up to help the U.S. win gold at the 2011 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Davis and Harper competed later that summer in the inaugural FIBA 3×3 U18 World Championship and after falling to Italy in overtime of the semifinal with just two healthy players on the court and being forced to forfeit in the bronze medal game due to a lack of players, were awarded an honorary bronze medal by FIBA.
The USA squad, which is on a quest to capture a fifth-consecutive gold medal at the U19 Worlds, will compete in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, hosted by Lithuania from July 18-28 in Klaipeda and Panevėžys. The team will regroup for training on July 1 at the USOTC prior to traveling to Europe for the competition.
The FIBA U19 Worlds will feature 16 teams with athletes 19-years-old or younger. While Lithuania earned an automatic berth to the tournament as host, the remaining 15 nations were determined by the five FIBA zone qualifiers in 2012. In addition to the U.S., nations qualified out of the FIBA Americas zone include Brazil (silver medalist), Argentina (bronze medalist) and Canada (fourth place). Senegal (gold medalist) and Mali (silver medalist) will represent FIBA Africa; advancing from FIBA Asia are China (gold medalist), Japan (silver medalist) and South Korea (bronze medalist); Australia took FIBA Oceania’s spot after wining the best-of-three series against New Zealand; while FIBA Europe will be represented by France (gold medalist), Russia (silver medalist), Serbia (bronze medalist), Netherlands (fourth place) and Spain (fifth place).