By Carl Adamec
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Katie Lou Samuelson was asked this weekend about the progress of her older sister Bonnie, who had ankle surgery last month.
“She’s definitely bummed she’ll be out for awhile but she got off her crutches so she’s happy about that,” Katie Lou said.
The crutches may have a new user when Samuelson returns home to Huntington Beach, Calif. The University of Connecticut commit injured her left ankle during the final session of USA Basketball’s U-17 national team trials Sunday night. She was wearing a walking boot after being named to the U-17 team Monday and will have an MRI when she gets back to California.
“I stepped on my teammate’s foot when I was closing out for the ball and I just went down,” Samuelson said. “I’ve had little tweaks before but this is the first time I actually sprained it. It hurt when it first happened but I didn’t think it was that bad. I tried to get up and I couldn’t walk. They took the sneaker off and it was pretty swollen.
“Hopefully the MRI will go well and I’ll be able to come back here for the start of training camp.”
Team USA will hold a training camp June 12-17 here at the United States Olympic Training Center before continuing workouts in France. Team USA will take part in the FIBA U-17 world championships to be held June 28-July 6 in Klatovy and Plzen, Czech Republic.
Only six veterans of the 2013 U-16 squad — Samuelson, fellow UConn commit De’Janae Boykin, Asia Durr, Lauren Cox, Nancy Mulkey, and Arike Ogunbowale — were named to the U-17 team.
They will be joined by Kristine Anigwe, Kennedy Burke, Natalie Chou, Te’a Cooper, Joyner Holmes, and Anna Wilson.
“It’s a cool thing that we get to play with pretty much a new team and I’m excited to play with them,” Samuelson said. “It’s a great feeling to know I get to play with this team and represent USA with them.”
Durr was the MVP of the 2013 FIBA Americas tournament when Team USA qualified for the U-17 world championships.
“It’s a different team but I’m ready to go out there and play,” Durr said. “I was shocked to hear my name. I didn’t think I played that well. I am very thankful. I need to get better shape and get stronger with my shot and improve my ball skills before camp.”
Boykin was thrilled to make the team for a second straight year but anything but thrilled with the way she played at the trials.
“I feel I could have played better this whole weekend,” Boykin said. “I need to get faster and stronger and be ready for training camp.”
Seven of the original 12 players that were named to the U-16 team a year ago — Kalani Brown, Chassity Carter, Crystal Dangerfield, Chelsea Dungee, Sabrina Ionescu, Tori McCoy, and Taylor Murray — did not make the final U-17 cut.
Dangerfield is still a candidate for the U-18 team. The sophomore point guard from Murfreesboro, Tenn., worked out with that group Sunday night and will do so for its final two trial sessions Monday.
Ionescu will serve as an alternate if Samuelson is unable to play in the world championships.
There are seven players from the Class of 2015 (Anigwe, Boykin, Burke, Cooper, Durr, Ogunbowale, and Samuelson) and five from the Class of 2016 (Chou, Cox, Holmes, Mulkey, and Wilson).
Samuelson, Boykin, Ogunbowale, and UConn commit and U-18 candidate Napheesa Collier were set to team up for the U-18 3×3 national tournament being held here Friday through Sunday. There was no word on a replacement.
Samuelson, though, will feel comfortable at home. Not only is Bonnie, a junior at Stanford, recovering from ankle surgery, middle sister Karlie — a Stanford freshman — has been shut down from playing due to stress fractures in her feet.
Katie Lou will lose out on playing the 3×3 event but hasn’t lost her sense of humor.
“I wanted to join the Samuelson family party,” she said with a laugh.
Kristine Anigwe (6-4 junior center, Phoenix, Ariz.)
De’Janae Boykin (6-2 junior forward, Springdale, Md.)
Kennedy Burke (6-1 junior forward, Northridge, Calif.)
Natalie Chou (6-1 sophomore forward, Plano, Texas)
Te’a Cooper (5-8 junior guard, Powder Springs, Ga.)
Lauren Cox (6-4 sophomore center, Flower Mound, Texas)
Asia Durr (5-11 junior guard, Douglasville, Ga.)
Joyner Holmes (6-3 sophomore forward, Cedar Hill, Texas)
Nancy Mulkey (6-9 sophomore center, Cypress, Texas)
Arike Ogunbowale (5-9 junior guard, Milwaukee, Wisc.)
Katie Lou Samuelson (6-3 junior forward, Huntington Beach, Calif.)
Anna Wilson (5-8 sophomore guard, Richmond, Va.)
Coach: Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty High, San Jose, Calif.)