Dayton freshman Amber Deane doesn’t plan to suddenly become a player who jacks up shots and tries no-look passes in order to impress the USA basketball staff during her bid to make the U-19 national team this week.
She figures she just has to display the fundamentally sound game that got her a tryout in the first place.
“The ultimate goal is definitely to make the team, but I think I first have to go in with a mindset that I don’t need to show off or try to score every time I get the ball,” she said. “I need to be that blue-collar player.”
The 5-foot-9 guard from Detroit Country Day High School is one of roughly 30 players expected to begin auditioning today at the USA Olympic headquarters in Colorado Springs for a spot on the 12-member squad that will compete in the U-19 World Championships in Lithuania in July.
Connecticut’s Breanna Stewart, the breakout star of the NCAA tournament, is among the others invited to be part of the four-day camp.
Deane doesn’t exactly know what she’s getting into, but she’s receiving pep talks from fellow Flyer Ally Malott, who averaged about seven points and three rebounds for the 2010 USA U-18 team that captured a gold medal in the FIBA Americas Championship. Malott also had a tryout for the U-19 national team two years ago.
“She’s helped me out a lot,” Deane said. “She said pretty much the same thing (about sticking to the basics), just go out and give my best effort and that’s not as intimidating once I get there.
“If I just give my best, I’ll be fine. She went in and did it, and she did great.”
Deane was named Atlantic 10 rookie of the year and earned a second-team nod on the freshman All-American team picked by Fullcourt.com.
She averaged 9.9 points for the Flyers, who finished 28-3 and reached the second round of the NCAA tourney. She led the A-10 in field-goal shooting at 55.6 percent, which was the top mark nationally among freshmen.
“It won’t be easy, but I think she’s got a legit shot (of being picked),” UD coach Jim Jabir said. “And I think it’s a great experience whether she makes it or not to just be invited and compete against all those guys.
“She has athleticism and intelligence and an ability to score. I wouldn’t call her ‘complete’ yet, but I think she’ll become a very complete player. She’s got a chance to be pretty special once she puts it all together.”
Deane said she was shocked to make the tryouts, even though her coaches told her she’d be a candidate. She also believes her experiences as a Flyer have prepared her for the fierce competition she’ll face.
“Going against (sophomore guard) Andrea Hoover every day in practice is definitely a big help,” Deane said. “The teams we played this year helps, too, along with coach Jabir pushing us every day. It’s always intense in practice.”