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USA Basketball & Winston-Salem Stealers

“I’m not sure I want popular opnion on my side – I’ve noticed those with the most opinions often have the fewest facts.” – Bethania McKenstry



2013 USA Basketball Woman's U16 National Team Trials Group 1


2013 USA Basketball Women's U16 National Team Trials Group 2


2013 USA Basketball Woman's U16 National Team


2011 USA Basketball Women's U16 Nation Team Trials Group 1


2011 USA Basketball Women's U16 Nation Team Trials Group 2

2010 USA Basketball Women's U17/World Champship/Youth Olympic Games Trial


2009 USA Basketball Women's U16 National Team Trials


2007 USA Basketball Women's Youth Development Festival.


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2012 U17 Selection Committee Members: Jody Patrick, Brian Robinson, Ruthie Bolton, (USA Director) Carol Callan, and Sue Phillips.

A Little Bit About USA Basketball per their web site ( USA Basketball was founded and organized in 1974. Also known as the Amateur Basketball Association of the United States of America (ABAUSA). The changing of their name to USA Basketball came on October 12, 1989, after FIBA modified its rules to allow professional basketball players to take part in international competitions. USA Basketball then admitted the National Basketball Association (NBA) as an active member and made the change.

USA Basketball is based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. USA Basketball is where our country’s future Olympians are identified, developed, trained and selected for international play.

USA Basketball has five member categories: 1) Professional 2) Collegiate 3) Scholastic (National Federation of High Schools)* 4) Youth (Amateur Athletic Union)* 5) Associate (National Basketball Coaches Association & Women’s Basketball Coaches Association)*

* = Coach Robinson is a member of each association.

The Ladder To The Olympics.
1631473How do basketball players get an opportunity to participate in the actual Olympics?  There is a ladder (or path) that the United States Olympic Committee follows: 1) It starts with the U16 Team plays in the FIBA Americas Championships held in every other year (odd numbers, 2011, 2013, 2015, etc…). – Coach R:) coached at this level in 2013. 2) Then some players move to the U17 World Championships which are held every other year (even numbers (2012, 2014, 2016, etc…). – Coach R:) coached at this level in 2014. 3) Players then have the opportunity to tryout for the U18/U19 World Championships, again, each held every other year (18s preceding the 19s). 4) From there, university student-athletes can participate in the World University Games. 5) Next step is the Pan American Games, which are held every four years, and played the year before the Olympic Games. 6) The FIBA World Cup / World Championships are held every four years, and instead of just 12 teams playing (like the Olympics), 24 teams compete for this title. 7) Lastly, is the Olympic Games for the National Team.

Our Program's History With USA Basketball.
1374845Our program has been involved with USA Basketball since June of 2003. Below you can find some some history of the Winston-Salem Stealers’ involvement with USA Basketball.

2003 - Chante' Black
5730027Chante’ Black was the first player from our program to be invited to participate in a USA Basketball Trial. Chante’ was one of thirty-plus girls in the United States to participate in the Youth Developmental Festival in June of 2003.

2005 - Coach Robinson
305710Coach Robinson was one of thirty club and high school coaches to attend the first USA Basketball Coaches Clinic held in June of 2005 in onjunction with the Youth Developmental Olympic Festival. Two North Carolina High School Players, Joy Cheek and Kristen Phillips, were part of the Y.D.O.F. Paul Westhead, former head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, and a number of other professional and college programs, was one of the guest speakers for the event.

2007 - Coach Robinson
2094108Coach Robinson was selected to be the head coach of USA Basketball’s Blue Team for the 2007 Youth Developmental Festival. Coach Robinson’s Team Roster was as follows with the college they originally committed to: Alyssia Brewer (Tennessee), Jasmine Dixon (Rutgers), Ayana Dunning (L.S.U.), Kelly Farris (Connecticut), Ashley Gayle (Texas), Lexie Gerson (Virginia), Glory Johnson (Tennessee), Alicia Manning (Tennessee), Casey Morris (California), Shay Shelby (Duke), Chay Shegog (U.N.C.), Ieasia Walker (South Carolina). Assistant Coach: Sherri Retif (Germantown Academy High School). Coach Robinson’s Team came in second place, picking up the silver medal in the games.       Coach Robinson At 2007 USA Basketball (Courtesy Hoopgurlz).


2007 - Katheryn Lyons
4910776Katheryn Lyons had the opportunity to play against the future Gold Medal USA Olympic Basketball Team during her freshman year at the University of Maryland. In her second scrimmage game of the season, the Terrapins hosted the USA Team.  Katheryn got the opportunity to guard Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and a number of other Olympians during the scrimmage. Katheryn also got into the act offensively, hitting two three pointers in the game.

2009-2012 - Coach Robinson

Coach Robinson was selected to be part of a five-member committee for the USA Basketball U16 National Team in 2008, and began serving in 2009. Coach Robinson’s responsibility was to identify potential candidates to tryout for the team and then help give input on selecting the roster for the squad. Coach Robinson was not allowed to have any input on players from his program once the selection process for trials began for inviting or selecting of players.The other four original members of the committee and the level they represented are as follows:  Jody Patrick (PV – Vogues AAU), Sue Phillips (Archbishop Mitty HS – California), Jill Meerman (NFHS), and Jamie Carey (Former USA Player; Collegiate Player for Stanford University and the University of Texas, and the Connecticut Sun (WNBA).Ruthis Bolton, a two-time gold medalists on the USA Women’s Basketball Team, took the place of Jamie Carey in 2010.The twelve member team that was selected by this committee to compete in the summer of 2009 went undefeated and won the Gold Medal in Mexico.The twelve member team selected in 2010 won Gold in France in July. Our committee also selected the first 3 on 3 Team that won Bronze in the World Championships in Singapore in JulyThe twelve member team selected in 2011 won Gold in Meridia, Mexico, while the 3 on 3 that was selected won Silver.Coach Robinson’s term with this USA Basketball Program is four years.
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 Above pictures (L-R):  2009 U16 Trials Taam Photo, 2010 Youth Development Committee, 2010 Coach R:) with Committee Member Ruthie Bolton.

2009 - Megan Buckland Blog From USA Basketball
1907547Megan Buckland became the second player and third person from our program to be invited to a USA Basketball Program. In 2009, Megan was one of thirty-four girls invited to the first U16 FIBA World Championships Tryouts. Megan wrote a blog about her experience during the trials which you can read below.

Megan Buckland Blog From USA Basketball – Day 1

6583179Day 1 – USA Basketball Trials: Anxious, Excited, Nervous. I’m sure there are other adjectives I could add to describe how I felt as I prepared for my 7 AM flight to Colorado Springs. I had so much nervous energy that I couldn’t sleep on my flight to Atlanta. Once in Atlanta, I went to Starbucks. Little did I know it was the last caffine fix that I would have for the duration of trials. The flight from Atlanta to Colorado was one of the longest flights ever. Would I ever get to the Olympic Training Center? Once in Colorado Springs, it didn’t take long for me to notice the altitude change. I was out of breath by the time I reached baggage claim. There were 2 representatives waiting for all the trial participants and it seemed like everyone was staring at us. All I could do was smile. I was trying out for the U16 National Team. I was here representing every hard-working, consistent yet non-flashy girl basketball player. I was representing Coach R., the Stealers and my high school. I prayed for success!!! As we gathered our bags, we were led to a bus with “USA Training Center” on the side. I couldn’t help but wonder what great Olympians may have ridden that same bus. The first thing we did upon arriving at the training center was to check in, get our meal card, room key, athlete badge and jersey. OMG!!!! Chills!!! It finally hit me that I was here also to represent my country. What an honor!! This was the biggest thing I have ever accomplished. We were given a to-do list prior to our first session. We had to take our bags to our room, receive our tour of the training center, have a medical screening, and have our individual photo taken. Next, we were off to the cafeteria for lunch. While there, Carol Callan, USA Basketball Chair / Director, let us know Michael Phelps was in line for his lunch. MICHAEL PHELPS!!! I bolted from my seat and was first in line to have my picture with him. It was fabulous!!! Later that day, we went for orientation. I was first in the room and sat right up front and then waited for everyone else to arrive. (I was always early for every session, meeting and optional shooting sessions. Something you learn playing for Coach R.) Mrs. Callan talked to us about expectations and how everyone in the room had the skills to be here. We watched a highlight film of the USA Women’s Basketball Olympic Teams. Chills again!! I had to pinch myself. Was I really here experiencing this?! We were then introduced to the coaching staff and all of the supporting staff, including the evaluators. Coach Barbara Nelson, the Head Coach of the U16 Team, then spoke to us about the opportunity before us and how excited she was for the opportunity she has. We then went for our first gym session. I had so much nervous energy. Our first drill was a lay-up drill. How many of those have we done before?! Well, not at this speed. This was a whole different speed than I have ever played. My first lay-up was right off the backboard. Not what I was wanting to happen! After that I settled down and began to play like I know I can. We ran through some drills and then began to scrimmage. We played with a 24 second shot clock, the same they use for international competition. Once the scrimmage was complete, I was pleased with how I had done. I thought I had proved that I should be here. There were some tremendous players here but I felt I had held my own. The competition was very intense. My dad, one of my biggest fans, was there with me and I got to see him for just a few minutes. Then it was off to dinner. Great food, but not as exciting as lunch… no Phelps sightings. Laundry had to be turned in by certain times or it was smelly jersey for the next day. We shared a room with one other participant. Once I got back to my room, I took a deep breath (which was still not an easy task due to the altitude). My first day of tryouts was over. It was time for bed as we have more sessions on Friday.

Megan Buckland Blog From USA Basketball – Day 2

3009193Day 2 – On Friday morning when I got up, I was still anxious about tryouts.  I still couldn’t believe I was actually in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center trying out for a USA team.  Our first session of the day was to begin at 8:30am.  After I was finished getting ready, I headed down to the cafeteria for breakfast.  The food was all so healthy!  It was definitely going to take some getting used to eat like this.  When I finished eating breakfast I headed over to the gym for our first session.  I got there around 8am and was the first one in the gym.  I was so excited about our first full day of tryouts! Around 8:30am, we started stretching for the long day ahead of us.  We started off with some shooting drills to get us loose and going.  After those drills, we were split into teams to learn plays.  We were taught a few offense plays and a few out of bounds plays.  When we finished going the plays, we scrimmaged the rest of the session.  The games were the quickest I had ever played.  With a 24 second shot clock, it made the games even faster.  Every one of the girls there were the best dribblers, shooters, passers, and scorers in the country.  I knew I would have to play my absolute best to have a shot at making the team. After we got done scrimmaging, we had until 3pm to hang out and have a break.  During the break, I went to lunch, took a much needed nap, and started some of my homework from the school days I missed.  I also wrote down the plays we went through earlier so that when we would walk through them again, I would be ready. From 3-4pm, we had team offenses walkthrough.  So at 2:15pm, I headed back over to the gym.  Again, I was the first one there, so I got some extra shooting in while I waited for everyone else to arrive.  During the offensive walkthrough, we went over the few plays we had learned earlier and added a couple more.  When we finished the walkthrough, we had about 2 hours until we had to be back at the gym. During the short break my friend Malina (from Ohio) and I went to the cafeteria to grab a small bite to eat.  When we finished eating, we walked around the campus of the Training Center to take pictures. At 5:45pm, our last session of the day started.  We started with the stretching we did before each session. Then we split up as guards and posts to do some drills before scrimmaging again.  We scrimmaged the rest of the night and by the time we were done, I was wore out.  The extreme focus and intensity you had to bring for that number of hours was exhausting.  But I loved every minute of it and knew I didn’t want to be anywhere else!!  When we finished the scrimmages, we went to eat dinner (and trust me I ate more than I ever have) in the cafeteria and watch the Orlando vs. Cavaliers NBA playoff game.  After I finished eating, I went back to the dorms, took a shower, and went to bed.  It was another long day and I had another long one coming up tomorrow.  I went to bed thanking God for such an amazing opportunity he had laid before me and asked that we would help me use it to the most potential.

Megan Buckland Blog From USA Basketball – Day 3

629275Day 3 Today was Saturday.  That meant this was my last full day to really impress all the evaluators that were selecting the team.  I woke up refreshed and re-energized.  Our first session didn’t start until 9am, so I went to the cafeteria and got a nice, big breakfast.  (The cafeteria was great, good fun and lots of it!)  While I was eating, I realized Michael Phelps was sitting just on the other side of the cafeteria!  This made me realize and remember once again what I was doing in Colorado and what my mission was while I was out there. At 8:30am, I got to the gym to do some extra shooting and stretching before another long day.  All we would be doing today was scrimmages so that the evaluators could watch us play.  So at 9:30am, we began to play.  We did about 10 minutes of shooting drills to loosen up then we began playing.  We were put on teams of about 6-8 girls so that there would be more teams and more games.  Once again, the speed at which we played was so fast.  The talent of all the girls was so impressive and was totally mind-boggling when I played with them and watched them when I wasn’t playing.  At 11am, we were done with the first session of the day.  Only two more left until we found out who would make the team!  Out next session of the day didn’t begin until 5pm, so we had a nice, long break. During the break, my dad and I went to the gift shop to get some souvenirs.  We got shirts and sweatshirts and then a few things for mom and Michael back at home.  When we left the store, I went to lunch and dad went back to his hotel because I was not allowed to leave the campus. After lunch, I went back to my room to do some school work and take a nap.  At about 4pm, I went back down to the cafeteria to grab a snack before going back to the gym.  So after having some fruit and a grilled cheese sandwich (which I ate for every meal except breakfast!), I went to the gym. From 5pm-7pm we had our last session for the day.  A bunch of the girls were beginning to get tired and began to complain about all the playing and scrimmaging we were doing.  They wanted the easy route, but I knew we were not brought out to tryouts for the easy path.  I knew that by staying strong mentally, it would help me in the long run.  During this session, all we did was scrimmage again.  At 7pm, when we were done for the day, I was worn out and sore.  I was asked to do an interview and a quick video for ESPN Hoopgirls!  I had fun with the video!  After that I was ready for dinner then back to my room.  I went to bed early and was anxious knowing that the next day was a really big day.  I would find out if I made the team!!!  I had everyone I knew praying although I knew my part was over with.  It was up to the evaluators at this point!!

Megan Buckland Blog From USA Basketball – Day 4

6623329Day 4 – This blog is one of the hardest things I have had to do. The emotions of this day are still so vivid and raw but I hope you can understand. As  you can imagine, I woke up Sunday as anxious as ever. Today we were to find out if we made the team or if we would be heading back home. We only had one session for the  day and it was to begin at 8:30 am. So I went to breakfast and over at the gym at 8:00 am ready to go. Most of the other girls had given up during the last couple of days at tryouts because they were easy lazy or had in their minds they weren’t going to make the team. In my mind, I tried to keep a positive attitude. I wanted to make the team! During the last session, I still went my hardest and gave it all I had in me. For the last session, we scrimmaged the entire teime. When we were done with the scrimmages, we stretched and were to head down to the room where we had had previous meetings during the tryouts. I was the first one down to the room and I couldn’t hardly breathe I was so nervous. As I’m writing this now, I am getting chills and loss of breath because of how memorable this moment was for me. Once we all got into the room, Carol, the team director, came p and talked to us before announcing the team. She reminded us to have composure, whether we made the team or not. Before she read off the list of those who make the team, she told us she would be reading the list alphabetically according to last name. I remember thinking “Great, at least I would find out quickly if I made the team”. Once Carol got past the “B’s”, I stopped listening. My head was spinning and I couldn’t think straight. I was at a complete loss of words and breath.  After she read the list, we were dismissed from the room to go to our parents and back to our rooms to pack. Seeing my dad outside the room didn’t hep me at all. I just ran up to him and gave him the biggest hug ever. He knew by my actions and tears that I hadn’t made the team. I felt like I had let him and my family down. I felt like I had let all of my friends and everyone who had been praying for me down. I tried to congratulate the girls who had made the team, but all they got from me was a pat on the back. I was not able to speak because I was so upset. At this point, all I really wanted to do was get back to my room so I could pack and get out of there. I was completely jealous of all the other girls who had made the team… I still am today. When I got back to the room and was packing, I remember thinking how much I didn’t want to go home and see everyone, no matter how much I missed them. I wanted more than anything else in the world to stay out in Colorado until Thursday (which meant I had made the team!) Once I had my bags packed, my dad drove me to the airport to drop me off for my flight back home. I was still emotional but I had realized I had done the best I could during tryouts. I know what I need to work on now in order to even be able to have the opportunity to go back there again. I had decided to keep on some of my USA Apparel and wear it with pride. Sure I didn’t make the team, but I had the opportunity of a lifetime. I had the opportunity that kids dream of…wearing a jersey with USA on it. That jealousy I carry has sparked determination. I will work even harder to get invited back next year. I know that God put me out there for many reasons, and while I am still trying to figure out some of those reasons out, I know that he has a special purpose for my life with basketball and I can’t wait to see where he takes me next! Thanks to all of you who support me and the young ladies in the Stealers’ Program. Your prayers were felt daily and I am thankful to be part of such a wonderful organization!

7906081Here are some links to the USA Basketball U16 Trials: Breaking Down The Participants. Full Court Press Player Recap From USA Basketball.

Picture Gallery From 2009 USA Basketball Trials…

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Coach R's 🙂 USAB Blog From Colorado Springs
  May 30: Trials are now over, and our committee picked the final roster of twelve players on Sunday Night that will 3929444compete in Mexico later in June. The trials were very competitive, and the level of talent in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 classes was incredible and deep.  The team will be announced on Monday, so I won’t post that here. You can find that out by using the links below later on Monday.  My flight leaves Colorado Springs at 6:00 AM (MST) with a connection in Chicago again.  Overall, it was a great experience. When I get home, I’ll begin posting pictures from the trials as well as some news and notes that I took away from the event.  I think many of the tips that I received will help our program participants if trying out for USA Basketball is something they would like to do some day. May 29: We are on our last full day of trials. Yesterday, we had to get our list from 115 participants to 52, so cuts were tough. Today we have to make more cuts to eventually get to a team of 12.  The talent level is incredible for this age group and competition for spots is tight. Unfortunately, our own Cameron Nieters, did not make through the first wave of cuts, but as a consolation, was invited to participate on the 10 member USA Baketball Exchange Program Team to play in Russia July 6-18.  I had to be out of the conversation when it came time to decide whether she would move on or not in the trials. As a committee, we have to also do an evaluation for each participant, so again, our day will be busy. Three sessions today in all, beginning with an 8:00 meeting at the complex. The girls have been through a drug testing class, and a college recruitment class led by former Duke and USA Basketball Player Abby Waner.  Keep checking back for more updates as we go through the day. ———————————————————————————————————————————————————– May 28: Yesterday was a long, but fun day.  We started the day at 8:00 AM and worked our way through the six workouts, had dinner, an after-dinner meeting and then finally got done around 11:30 PM.  We’ll be back at it today, with the first session at 8:30 AM followed by the first cuts.  The participants are working hard, and the talent level is solid, so eventually getting down to twelve players is going to be tough.  I know I keep saying I’ll post some pictures (and I have a lot of them), but they’ll have to wait for now.  Off to the gym, where I’ll be with the committee, again, until late in the evening. ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— May 27: Last night, the participants had their first on-court session. They ran through basic fundamentals on footwork, passing and shooting.  There were two groups of sixty each. One group went through a USA Basketball Seminar while the other was on the court.  Then, they flip-flopped. Former University of Colorado Head Coach Ceil Berry ran the workouts. This morning, we have our trials photos, then two sessions of skill work, before the first session of scrimmaging tonight.  It should be an interesting day, since there are three sessions for each group (6 total), and our committee has to start pairing down the number of participants. Participants were encouraged to drink lots of water, and eat properly, as today will be tough.  Overall, the atmosphere is great. Michael Phelps is once again training in the swimming complex across from the basketball facility. The mountain tops have snow on them, while our area is around 70-75 degrees.   We ate last evening at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort as a committee, and as always the USA Basketball Staff is as first-class as they come.   I’m now off to start the day (it is 4:50 AM here, as I type). If i have some time in between sessions, I will post another update.  You can always click the links below in the first post (May 25) to other updates. ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— May 26: Coach R:) is now in Colorado Springs; airports are always an adventure.  The flight from Greensboro to Chicago was delayed, then not, then had mechanical problems, and two other flights heading to Chicago were cancelled. Thus, “the world” 🙂 was trying to get on our flight, which led to some “not-so-nice discussions between passengers and workers” at the gate.  Finally we departed, landed in Chicago late (it was 48 degrees there and walking outside in shorts from the plane to the gate wasn’t a party), and I had 15 minutes to get from Terminal F to Terminal C, so I sprinted and got to the gate just in time to board.  Several participants and some of the trial coaches and evaluators are delayed in other parts of the country due to the weather, so I am happy to be here safe and sound.  The first session starts at 4:30 (MST or 6:30 your time), and we’ll finish at 8:30.  I hope to post some pictures and a new update either later tonight or at some point on Friday. ——————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————— May 25: Coach Robinson 🙂 will begin his blog from the USA Basketball U16 Trials in Colorado Springs, Colorado on Thursday, May 26th. The U16 Trials are the grassroots portion of, possibly, participating in the actual Olympics someday. In the past, USA Basketball has invited 32-36 participants to the trials. This season, for the first time, USA Basketball has opened the trials to 121 participants.  The first 35 will have their expenses paid, but no guarantees to make the first cut or make the team. The next 86, including our own Cameron Nieters, have to pay for all of their expenses, with again, no guarantees of making it past the first cut. I am on the five-person committee that selects the actual U16 Team, but have little or no say on who gets to attend tryouts. I know, in the past, folks have asked me to put a “good word” in for their kids to attend these trials. I am not allowed to be in the conversation if it involves anyone that participates in my programs. The player has to earn the right to be invited on their own merit. (I put a disclaimer on that on the “292 Travel Team, Skills, and More…” page on this site under “What the Program Does Not Promote or Promise”) in 2009. This is an international / government-sponsored program and this is truly one of the first organizations I have worked for that won’t let “favorites” or “playing politics” come into play when selecting participants for the trials or the team; there is too much at stake as they are looking for potentially, the next set of Olympians. For those interested in USA Basketball for 2012, Coach R:) recommends that you play hard at the DI College Coaching Events that you attend. Scouts are everywhere, and they help present names to the USA Basketball Office. Once your name goes into the pool, then you’ll be contacted by the staff in Colorado. USA Basketball is a great program, and I hope you enjoy my blogs, when I have time to update, beginning on Thursday, May 26th!!! You can also click HERE or HERE to also follow the action from May 26-30.

USA Basketball U16 Update!!!
  The USA Basketball U16 that Coach Robinson:) helped select to participate in FIBA Americans Championship in 3929444Meridia, Mexico won the Gold Medal Saturday Night, June 18th, 73-40 over Brazil. This marks the third year in a row that the selection committee that Coach R:) has been part of has picked the 12 player squad that has gone on to win the gold in the FIBA Americas Championship (the beginning stages leading to the Olympics).

2011 - Cameron Nieters Blog
7281778Cameron Nieters received the opportunity to tryout for the 2011 U16 Team in May.  She did not make the team, but received an opportunity to participate on the USA Basketball Exchange Team which will play in Russia July 6-18, 2011.

Cameron Nieters Blog From USA Basketball / Russian Exchange Program!!!

Current Stealer Cameron Nieters is participating on the USA Basketball / Russian Exchange Program July 6-18. She, 4279954along with nine other players from the United States, are taking part in the program headed by Jody Patrick of the Potomac Valley AAU Association. Cameron’s email and Internet Access will be limited in Russia, but she will send updates as often as she can. July 5, 2011: Today I flew from PTIA to Washington, DC. The flight was supposed to be an hour but it turned out to be only 45 minutes. The hardest part was saying goodbye to my family who I wouldn’t see again for 15 days. Once we landed in DC, we went immediately to George Mason University where we had practice. Already we learned 3 plays. After practice, all twenty of the athletes (10 boys / 10 girls) plus the coaches were STARVING. We checked in at the Mason Inn, then walked across campus to eat dinner. We ate with the Saudi Arabian girls national team who were here in America for their version of our exchange program. They were fluent in English which makes me feel terrible that I know ZERO Russian! There is only one club team in Saudi Arabia for girls basketball. We met them all and talked to them about their experiences so far in America, and what we should expect for tomorrow. I am so nervous and excited at the same time! I can’t wait to be in Russia! July 6-7: This has been an interesting day to say the least. Yesterday we got to the airport about an hour and a half later than scheduled. When we left out of DC, they had overbooked the flight so four lucky people from our group were upgraded to first class. I got an emergency row seat, which was nice, except the closest person from my group was more than three rows behind me. The flight was LONG. I only got to sleep about an hour out of the ten, but I brushed up on my reality TV Shows and silly movies. We got to Russia about noon their time, so 4 a.m. yours, and I was exhausted. On the bus to our training facility I took the meaning of the phrase “Power Nap” to a whole ‘nother level. I slept more on the bus that I did on the plane. It took us about 2 hours to get through traffic in Moscow. Once we were at the hotel, we ate lunch. Definitely not what I’d been used to eating. It was a three course meal of salad, soup, and chicken. After lunch, we had the option of going to exchange money, going to the gym to shoot, or free time. I chose to run across the street to exchange money. The currency here is called Ruben, and it exchanges 26 Rubens to 1 U.S. Dollar. So for my $140.00 I look like a Russian heiress. We went to the grocery store to buy some water. One small bottle was 15 Rubens. Sure, it seems like a lot, but I was able to pay for it with the coins. When we came back, I went down to the gym and got some shots off. We all showered, and headed to dinner. Honestly, dinner was pretty nasty. I think I had a few cucumbers and some mashed potatoes, skipping everything else included in the 3 course meal. After dinner, a group of us played cards for a few hours in the lobby with one of the boy’s team coaches. One really weird thing here is that the sun didn’t set until after 10 P.M. I went to bed early because of my lack of sleep. It didn’t take my body long to get used to the new time zone. I slept for 9 and a half hours. When I woke up, I changed to go down to breakfast. At breakfast, I didn’t feel the greatest. They brought out some weird form of toast thing that smelled terrible. I sprinted upstairs to my room, sick. I got I sick about 6 times after that, so they made me stay at the hotel this morning instead of going to the Kremlin. TOTAL BUMMER! I finally took a nap about 10:30, and woke up at 1:00. I took a cold shower and now I feel perfect! The group should be back any time now, so at least I’ll be able to see pictures. Tonight, we have a dinner at the PAO’s house. Hopefully, I’ll be able to do that! July 10-11: We had our first of three workouts for the day, and our first with the Russian Basketball Team. It was fun, and we spent most of the time explaining things to them which is hard because we don’t speak Russian and they don’t speak English. We are at the Trinita Camp just outside of Moscow. Our team’s schedule was changed last night so we went to Disco last night (more on that coming soon).  We did a river city boat tour before practice, and on the same river, a boat sank on the same day. Not very encouraging!  Anyway, we finally had an American Dish… HAMBURGERS!!! I ate my fill and then some. We have corn for breakfast.?  We are practicing a lot and are getting set to play soon. On Thursday this week, we take a 4:00 A.M. Trip to St. Petersburg for the next stage of the trip. July 12-13:  Monday we had a 5 on 5 tournament mixed in with the Russians. On my team, we had 3 Americans and 2 Russians. It was hard to communicate during the game, but we learned the Russian words for screen, switch, and ball. Yesterday, we had shooting competitions by team. It was a lot of fun. My team selected me to do the 3 point shooting, which was hard since the international line is 2.5 feet out from our 3 point line. We are supposed to figure out today who won. The guys finished up with a slam dunk competition, which was really fun to watch. Today is our last day at Trinta. We have a chalk drawing competition this morning, and then more team relays. We pack up, and leave Moscow at 4 am Thursday morning to take a train to St Petersburg. I have learned so much while I’ve been here, it’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve made sure to get all the Russians we’ve played with’s names down so I can add them all on Facebook 🙂 I’ll send some pictures as soon as I can! Below is a picture of Cameron with USA Teammate Kelly Hayes from California. July 14-16: We woke up at 4am on Thursday to take a train to St Petersburg. The train went 200 km/hr, and it traveled through the rural areas of Russia. We got to St Petersburg at 10 am, and honestly the city looked exactly like Moscow! Originally, the plan was for us to all stay at the Olympic Training Center. But as we all know plans change, and it turns out they only had room for the guys to stay there. The first hotel we were going to stay at was possibly the worst one I’ve ever seen; it didn’t even have a shower! We moved hotels to one much better, and got a good nights sleep. They call St Petersburg the city of white nights.. Now I know why! The sun didn’t set until after 11:30, and it rose around 4 am. The next morning we went to tour Peterhouf, which is one of Peter the Great’s summer castles. To me, the prettiest part was the gardens and fountains outside. We didn’t spend much time there though because it was raining. We went back to the OTC and had a practice, this time with only the Americans, in preparation for the Saturdays events. After the workout we lifted, then had a nice core workout, followed by a nice dip in the pool. We had a night tour of the city from the bus. We saw tons of historic buildings, but since it was still raining all my pictures were pretty bad. This morning, we had a practice with the 15U Russian national team. They were pretty good, but spoke even less English than the girls back at Trinta. After practice we had another core workout, this time with the Russian girls. We ate lunch, then left for the train station to go back to Moscow. It’s hard for me to believe that I’ve been here for 11 days, and even harder to know I only have 2 left! 9957868116195

Coach R's 🙂 Blog From USA Basketball Trials - May 17-20, 2012
  Coach Robinson:) is in Colorado Springs, Colorado from May 17th – May 20th as the U17 and U18 USA Basketball Trials begin. Coach R:) is on the five-member selection committee for the U17 Team. Click HERE to read a preview of the trials. Click HERE to follow the trials. You can also follow HERE. Day 1 – May 17th:  Travel to Colorado Springs went smoothly. I left Greensboro at 9:30 AM, got to Chicago, and then left there around Noon (CST) arriving in Colorado at 1:30 (MST).  Today, the athletes, coaches and committee members have registration , medical screening, and individual photos. At 5:30 PM (MST), everyone has orientation, followed by stretching, position work, drills and team offenses. Our staff will have dinner at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort to follow, before cranking things up early on Friday.  There are 35 girls trying-out for the U17 Team, and our staff has to select 12 to represent the United States in Amsterdam later this summer. Our staff’s hope is that at least one of the twelve can play in the actual Olympics someday. Day 1 – May 17th (Evening):  Trials went well. 33 of the 35 players invited are in attendance, and the talent level is high.  I think our committee has its’ work cut out in trying to select twelve to represent our country. We also have to select four players for our 3 on 3 team. A couple of interesting facts:  The shorts the girls are wearing for trials, provided by USA Basketball, are a little shorter than in the past. The shorts stop right above the knees of the players, as the Olympics are going to a rule where the players have to wear higher shorts.  Also, of the 33 girls in attendance for the U17 Trials, here is the breakdown of states they come from: North Carolina: 1 Maryland: 3 Texas: 3 California: 7 Illinois: 1 Indiana: 2 Oklahoma: 1 New York: 1 Minnesota: 1 Arkansas: 1 Georgia: 4 Kentucky: 1 Arizona: 1 South Carolina: 1 Oregon: 2 Ohio: 1 Florida: 1 Tennessee: 1 May 18th: Today, we had two sessions (morning and evening) of trials, and unfortunately had two girls go down with ankle injuries. Hopefully, they’ll be back on Saturday.  The girls went through a 3 on 3 session, as we have to pick a squad for that team as well, and they went through a 5 on 3 drill. They scrimmaged most of the rest of the session time, as we need to start making some decisions on who we’re going to keep and who we’re not. Today was also a great for me as I made some re-connections with old friends, and I was able to make some new friends in the basketball world.  I had the honor to transport not one, but two, former Olympians to dinner.  Ruthie Bolton is on our committee and has won two gold medals and having her around is always fun and an honor. She gave me a copy of her book and I am looking forward to reading it.  I actually had to take her out about thirty minutes in the morning to drop her son Christopher out to day care before returning to get the committee at the hotel so we could go to trials.   We had a nice conversation on the way out and back about kids today and the Olympics as compared to when she played. The second Former Olympian I had in the car with me was Teresa Edwards. Teresa played on five Olympic Women Basketball Teams, winning four golds and one bronze. Teresa was honored earlier in the day as “Chef de Mission”, which is the highest honor any USA Olympian Athlete can ever achieve. You can read about her honor by clicking HERE.  Teresa talked about the importance of being your best and teamwork to the U17 and U18 participants. Teresa was across from me at dinner and we kept up with the Celtics / Sixers game during the meal. She is a really neat person.  I also had the opportunity to eat dinner with Katie Meier, who is the U18 Coach for USA Basketball. Katie, now the head coach at the University of Miami, and I were friends when she began coaching at UNC-Charlotte in 2004.  Following dinner, another one of my coaching buddies, Kelly Finley, came by and talked with me for two plus hours about her new position as the recruiting coordinator at the University of Colorado. Kelly was the assistant coach at Harvard and made the move to Colorado just three days ago. In all, the day is more about not burning bridges with folks.  The relationships that I made years and years ago with folks has allowed me to stay friends with them though I haven’t seen them in forever, and who are now in different roles (as I am as well) in the basketball world. May 19th: Our committee took in the U18 Trials this morning. It is interesting how much more physical one age group up is more than the other.  The U18 group is basically made up of the participants our committee began with three years ago.  Our session followed, and ran smoothly. Some players are starting to separate themselves, and with one last session tonight before the team is selected, the intensity has picked up considerably. Michael Phelps is next door, preparing for the Olympics next door, along with the rest of USA Swimming, so that just adds to the excitement around the complex. I am a little sad in that tonight will be the final session for our committee. Jill Meerman couldn’t be here, but has been on the committee for the past four years, along with Jody Patrick, Ruthie Bolton (who took over Jamie Carey), Sue Phillips and myself.  The four years have been a great learning experience for me, and to be able to be the first committee to work with the U16 age group, and to be part of a trial last season of 115 (plus) players has been an honor. The folks that I have met, the experiences that I have been a part of, and just the atmosphere of what it is to work for your country has been indescribable.  From my perspective, being the only male on the U17 or U18 committees is very flattering.  I hope that I get the opportunity to continue in some shape, form or fashion working with USA Basketball. The entire program is first-class; no stone is unturned and every part of the experience has been amazing. For now though, I need to stop reflecting and turn my focus back to selecting the U17 Team tonight, which is going to be a real challenge. May 19-20:  We completed the last two sessions of trials and have selected the U17 Team.  I cannot post the team members yet because it won’t be released until mid-morning on the 20th.  Several players who did not make our team may have the option of trying-out with the U18 Team which will be completing their tryouts on Monday. It was great at our final trials dinner on Saturday Night hearing Sue Donahue, chair of the U18 selection committee, thank everyone involved in the process. She thanked the coaches, selection committees, support staff, game officials, and volunteers who helped make everything run smoothly.  USA Basketball operates like clockwork and it has been a pleasure serving on this committee the last four years. Sue finished her talk by saying “When you watch the Olympics in London later this summer, and you see the USA compete in any sport, but especially women’s basketball, you can say that you had a small hand in the process of making our athletics the best in the world”. That was a great way to finish the trials. 2104463764796366612977890517

ABOVE (L-R): Coach R:) with two committee members Jody Patrick (VA) and Sue Phillips (CA); Director Carol Callan Gives the Participants an Educational Session On How USA Basketball Works Before Tryouts; Payers Stretching; The International Basketballs.


 ABOVE (L-R): Teresa Edwards talks to the U17 and U18 Teams following trials; Teresa and Ruthie take a picture with the U17 Team; Teresa takes a picture with our committee members: Jody Patrick, me, Ruthie Bolton and Sue Phillips before dinner Friday Night; A View From Our Hotel; Katie Meier Working With The U18 Team (LSU Coach Nikki Caldwell is on the scooter as she has a torn achilles tendon).


ABOVE (L-R): Coach Meier and Coach Caldwell instruct the U18 Group; The U18 Selection Committee Watches Trials; Our U17 Selection Committee With USA Women’s Basketball Director Carol Callan Following Trials.

The Stealers & USA Women's Basketball Connection To 2012 Olympics
  The Stealers have a connection to the USA Women’s Olympic Team playing in London.  If you look on the women’s team bench, you’ll see USA Women’s Basketball Director Carol Callan and our country’s Chef de Mission Teresa 3929444Edwards. Coach Robinson:) works for USA Women’s Basketball on their youth development selection committee (U16 & U17).  Coach R’s 🙂 committee answers directly to Carol Callan when selecting the developmental teams. Teresa Edwards spoke at this past May’s trials in Colorado Springs. The youth developmental level is the introductory point of USA Basketball.  The players selected to the U16 and U17 Teams will next tryout for the U19 Team, then would try to make one of National / Pan American Teams, then go for the opportunity to make the Olympic Team. Here are some pictures below of Carol and Teresa so that when the next USA Women’s Game is on television you can know that the Stealers have some type of connection to the Olympics. Carol is second from the right in the first picture.  Teresa Edwards is talking to the U16/U17 Trials participants in the middle picture.  In the last picture, Teresa Edwards is to my right. You can click HERE to read about Teresa’s Chef de Mission and you can click HERE to follow the behind-the-scenes action of USA Basketball throughout the Olympics. The Stealers have had three players tryout for the U16 Team since 2003. GO U.S.A. BASKETBALL!!!

Robinson Selected To Be An Ass't Coach For 2013 U16 Natl Team
    5401299Courtesy of the Winston-Salem Journal. By Mason Linker Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 6:32 pm | Updated: 11:53 pm, Wed Apr 3, 2013. Mason Linker/Winston-Salem Journal For more than a month, Coach Brian Robinson of the Bishop McGuinness girls basketball team has had to swallow his tongue. Robinson said that through most of his team’s playoff run to an unprecedented eighth-straight NCHSAA Class 1-A state championship, he just wanted to let his secret out. And it finally came out yesterday — Robinson has been selected as an assistant coach for the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team. “They called me during the second round of the playoffs and we were getting ready to play (Winston-Salem Prep) — and there was no hesitation whatsoever,” Robinson said. “I jumped all over it, but I was sworn to secrecy. I really had to keep it quiet from everybody.” Robinson is no secret to USA Basketball, having coached in the USA Basketball Youth Developmental Festival in 2007. He has also worked with committees to help select the players invited to USA Basketball events. Carol Callan, the National Team Director and non-voting chair of the Developmental Committee for USA Basketball, said that Robinson was eligible to be a coach because he was no longer a committee member. “Quite honestly, he has a terrific resume as a coach in both his high-school and his AAU (Winston-Salem Stealers) programs,” Callan said. “He has exhibited success at that level with his won-loss record, but his demeanor on the sideline and the way he deals with people is outstanding.” Callan said previous experience with USA Basketball is not a requirement for working as a national-team coach. But she said in Robinson’s case, it certainly helped. “When a coach works with us prior to an overseas assignment, it’s good to see what they look like,” Callan said. “It certainly helps with our knowledge of their abilities, and their ability to interact with players and remain calm in pretty high-pressure situations.” Robinson is the chairperson of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association All-American Game. He is in New Orleans in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four and Saturday’s all-star game featuring 20 of the top senior high-school players in the nation, whom Robinson helped select. Sue Phillips, of Archbishop Mitty High in San Jose, Calif., has been selected as the head coach for USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team, and Mary Coyle Klinger of Rutgers (N.J.) Preparatory School will be an assistant, along with Robinson. Robinson will have to make several trips to USA Basketball’s Training Facility in Colorado Springs, Colo., starting with national-team trials in late May. Phillips, Klinger and Robinson will coach the national team at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Cancun, Mexico June 19-23. “It’s very flattering — but at the same time I understand the responsibility,” Robinson said. “Basically, your country is asking you to coach the kids that could be in the 2016 or 2020 Olympics. As one of three high-school coaches from across the country, it’s very flattering but I won’t take it lightly, because I know what comes along with the position.” (336) 727-7310

Coach R's 🙂 Daily Blog From USA Basketball May 21-26
      5095463Coach Robinson:) has been named an assistant coach for the U16 USA Basketball National Team that will compete in the FIBA Americas Championships in Cancun, Mexico June 19-23. Tryouts for the U16 Team will be held May 23-27 at the USA Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Coach Robinson:) will keep a daily blog for you on this site beginning May 22nd, and will post continuous updates leading up to trials. March 29: Open tryouts for U16 National Team. Click for story HERE. April 3: Coaches staff is named and approved by USA Basketball. See story HERE. May 2nd:  33 players are selected to tryout for the U16 Team. See link to the story HERE. May 6th: The 8 participating countries in the FIBA Americas U16 Tournament June 19-23 are: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, United States and Venezuela. May 20th:  Final U16 Trials Roster Announced.  Two current Stealers are part of the applicant selections and will tryout. The two are Kaila Craven and Bailey Kargo, both members of our “Grant” Travel Team.  Click HERE for the complete list of players trying-out. May 22nd: The joys of flying… my 2:52 PM flight from Greensboro was delayed to bad weather in Chicago.  First a one hour delay, then eventually close to two hours.  I finally got on my flight at 4:15 PM, but because the passenger numbers had changed due to folks looking at other flights, United had to redo the paperwork. Well, the main system is located in St. Louis, according to the stewardess, and that system was down for 30 minutes… (gotta smile)… we eventually left Greensboro at 5:23.   So, I get to Dulles in DC, and my connector to Colorado Springs has left.  I am told that they will get me on the first flight out tomorrow morning at 8;15, but I need to be there for a meeting in the AM, so I had to do some searching around.  I found a flight heading to Denver at 10:00 PM and arriving at 11:59 MST (2:00 AM your time), and got on standby.  Then, found out shortly that someone cancelled so I am getting on that flight and will fly into Denver where someone from the Olympic Committee will pick me up and drive me an hour back to Colorado Springs… More updates later, but it has been very entertaining so far… May 23rd: I made it! My bag hasn’t… yet, but I got here.  I landed in Denver around 12:15 AM MST and two of the USA Basketball interns, Alicia and Melanie, picked me up.  Both of the interns worked the U19 Girls Trials last week, and while preparing for our trials to start, they also have been working on the June U19 Boys Trials.  I have a breakfast meeting this morning, then will run over to the airport to try and find my bag.  Trials start today at 4:30 MST (6:30 EST) with a introductory meeting and then skills sessions and athlete seminars.  More coming later. 12:45: Still no bag… but no worries. It will turn up when it needs to… We had our breakfast meeting with USA Olympic Women’s National Basketball Team Director Carol Callan this morning. Our coaching staff, along with the four court coaches and Assistant Women’s National Basketball Team Director Jamie Carey went over the sessions and what needs to be covered, beginning later this afternoon / evening.  Following the meeting, the seven coaches went to the court and worked through tonight’s practice plans. We then took our USA Basketball head shot pictures and went to lunch. Trials start in a few hours… The first day of trials are over.  Pretty successful I thought.  We were missing 12 girls due to travel issues (go figure), but the 120 or so kids worked hard, paid attention, and seemed intent on making a positive impression. There was an initial introductory meeting followed by the splitting up of the girls into two groups: one on court and one in educational meetings.  The ones on the court were broken up into six groups. I was assigned a group to work with and we were to teach certain skills and drills, which eventually we will build into team play.  Both groups in both sessions were good. We’ll add more on Friday.  I attached a picture below of the two smallest girls (high schoolers) in trials, with the tallest girl trying-out (who is 6’9″, and a freshman in high school). We had dinner, and a coaches meeting to discuss Friday’s workouts – we have three sessions on Friday, including the first sets of scrimmages in the evening. Oh… and the mystery that is “Where is my bag now”… it was supposed to arrive Thursday at 7:45.  There was a five hour delay in Washington, DC where my bag is… that was after I was told by an agent that it was in Toronto (!!!!!). So now my bag may show up at my hotel room in the middle of the night, maybe first thing in the morning, or maybe a USA Basketball Staff member may have to get it for me at the airport. I think I may pass it in the airport on Monday when I am leaving as it arrives… got to keep pushing on. Don’t worry, USA Basketball has provided me with enough gear to last the weekend. Onto Friday…  Click HERE for a link to view pictures from the first day. May 24th: Today is the second day of trials.  We start at 8:00 AM (MST) with our trials group picture, then right into drills.  We have three sessions today, which should be challenging physically and mentally to the girls.  I’ll update if and when I can today, but there will be updates on:, on (on their Twitter account), and as always on On my, what is now, the annual bag update… no bag yet.  I “think” it arrived early this morning, so I’ll check again in a minute. My feeling was pretty much summed up on the video screen yesterday in the initial meeting for the girls and parents “The happiest people on their journey in the world are the ones who enjoy the scenery while experiencing a detour”.  I thought last season was my final year working for USA Basketball. Being a part of the selection committee process for the past four years (as well as other activities with the program before) was an incredible experience. When we closed down on the final day last spring, I actually looked around and felt a little sad, as I really thought that was my last day with USA Basketball for awhile. So when I received the call in February that I was selected to be an assistant coach on the U16 team, I was very, very excited. Putting that feeling of last spring, with the feeling after the call in February, makes me put this “experience” with the bag in its’ place.  It is actually, if you really look at it, almost a privilege to have the experience of a lost bag out here because the reason the bag is lost is the opportunity that was provided to work for again and coach for USA Basketball this year.  Yes, I’d still like my bag, but it will get here when it gets here.  I’m out here to work and learn, and I want to make sure that I am experiencing this entire opportunity with the right perspective and enjoy this wonderful moment. More updates later… It is Friday Night and we just completed six, ninety minute sessions today. It was honestly a lot of fun working with some great talent all who are trying to make the first cut which takes place Saturday Morning.  We worked on team offensive concepts and started to put our half-court offense in.  The interesting trend is that most of the 6’3″ or taller kids are almost as good as the wings and guards in the camp.  Vanessa Nygaard, current court coach for these trials, and former Stanford, WNBA, and overseas professional player told me today that post players are becoming an “endangered species”.  She says the value of being able to handle the ball, have the proper footwork, and the ability to create are a part of the ever-changing game. Her statement goes back to what I have tried to tell everyone who has come through this program “Everyone is a guard”, because the ability to handle the ball when you are 6’3″ makes you more attractive than someone who is 5’5″ who can do the same thing.  If you are 5’5″ your skills have to be up to par, but your energy and effort have to be at a higher level because you have to make up the difference.  It does make me feel good that all of the skills sessions we do, with all of the footwork, though repetitive at times, is well-worth it, because as good as the players are out here, the footwork is not great.  It is interesting seeing so many great athletes who have trouble jab-stepping, sweeping the ball, and catching the ball on the proper foot. This morning, I did manage to sneak in a quick picture with the two Stealers trying-out: Bailey Kargo and Kaila Craven.  I think both are competing hard, but whether they make it or not is out of my hands since I am not on the selection committee.  I posted the picture below. Good day overall, and Saturday should hopefully be just as rewarding… Oh… and by the way… my bag finally came and it is sitting beside me here in the hotel.  (Smile!) May 25:  Day three has come to an end. It was a tough day as the selection committee had to make two cuts.  We began the day with shooting drills, and then immediately into scrimmages. Following the first set of scrimmages, the cut list was posted and the field was narrowed.  Both Bailey Kargo and Kaila Craven from our program made the first cut, which was great.  The way the scrimmages worked was the girls were split into teams of 7-9 players and we had 7:00 or 8:00 minutes to rotate the players in so the committee could evaluate and make their decisions.  Each team played three games in their session and the teams were rotated through the coaches.  I had the opportunity to coach both of the Stealers girls at some point, and it was my responsibility as a current USA Basketball Coach and a former USA Basketball Selection Committee Member to treat the Stealers’ girls like every other girl. In 2009 (-2012) I was a member of the selection committee and Megan Buckland, who is in our program’s Hall-of-Fame and now plays at UNC, tried-out.  Every time her name came up in a pre-conference selection call or tryout meeting, I had to excuse myself as the staff did not want any sort of politics (or perceived politics) involved in selecting the national team.  As the years went on, we have had players like Cameron Nieters tryout, and the USA Basketball Staff allowed me to sit in on the meetings involving her because they knew that my intention was to select the best team for the country regardless of my prior knowledge of her.  That is the one thing that I have admired most about the USA Basketball and Olympic organization, the fact that recruiting services, hype machines, etc… are in no way a determining factor on who gets cut and who doesn’t. This year, being a coach with selection process experience I tried to talk to each girl that came through the teams I coached, on certain specific things that they needed to do to make the proper impression on the committee.  Even then, it is tough to move on in tryouts as the talent level is pretty high. Some listened and took the words to heart which was great. I’ll have to say that I was proud of the way our two girls competed against some of the best competition at their age in the country.  Unfortunately, both were cut later in the day, but the fact that they came out represented themselves and our program the way they did was pleasing to me.  The next cut list is going to be posted before our next session at 9:00 AM (MST) and we should be down to around 30 or players depending on what the committee decides on Saturday Night.   I have posted a few more pictures below from the trials, and will post another update on Saturday at some point. May 26: The key phrase from yesterday was “What is delayed is not denied”.  I thought that was appropriate on a lot of fronts, and I hoped the girls heard that. How do you handle the disappointments that come into your lives? For many of the kids trying-out, this is the first time they have or will be cut from anything and that is tough.  I think the way some kids I have known who have been cut from teams have handled themselves has been very admirable.  They used the immediate disappointment as a way to motivate themselves to make themselves better.  The one example that the USA Staff has always talked about was Simone Augustus, who is now in the WNBA.  Simone was cut two straight years from the Olympic Team National Teams (same ages as now) coming through.  Simone kept working, and made the team once in college and was named MVP of the World Games Team.  She then went onto play in the Olympics, winning the gold medal with her team, had a successful career at LSU and currently in the WNBA. Of course, closer to home, we have had three players (now five) from our program tryout for this team: Chante’ Black, and the aforementioned players: Megan, Cameron, Bailey and Kaila.  The previous three have (before this year) used this experienced to their advantage. They each had something to compare themselves to at the highest of levels, and their “choice” was to either sit and pout because they didn’t make the team or to get back out and work and use the lessons learned as some motivation, but more so as a personal drive to just improve.  They each chose the latter and good things have happened. I am sure today and especially tomorrow morning many will have that “choice” presented to them as the field here is narrowed to the final list of twelve players. This morning we will have more of a review practice session before heading into the scrimmages.  This has been a lot of fun working with the girls and dealing with the challenges of helping shape a team.   As always, remember you can follow updates on USA Basketball’s Site and on Full Court and if you have a subscription on Prospects Nation. More updates coming soon!!! Afternoon Of May 26th: Forty-three players remain following cuts this morning.  We went through the offense, put in a quick hitting play and worked on end-of-game situations. I have a team of ten players that will stay with me through the next two sessions this evening. The final cuts will be made tomorrow morning, we will have a meeting, team picture and team practice on Monday Morning, then I am heading back home. Tryouts should be pretty fierce tonight as the girls are sensing that this is it. Our coaching staff received our travel gear for Cancun today in a really nice travel bag… I joked with the staff that this is an opportunity to lose a second bag on the way home. Let’s hope not… More updates coming later today… Evening update:  Session #2 for the day just finished.  We are now down to the last set of games which will then lead to the team being selected.  Following trials tonight, we’ll go to dinner as a USA Basketball Staff (coaches, committee, support staff) to cap off five days of work. If time allows tonight, I’ll post another update. Just know that the team selection will be posted on in mid-morning / afternoon on Monday. May 27: Today is the team selection.  The coaching staff, court coaches, and remaining participants will head to the Olympic Center at 8:30 (MST) to listen to the announcement.  Following that, we will gather with the team, have a quick meeting, a team picture, a practice, and then we’ll all depart to our home towns.  We’ll be back together as a team on June 9th to begin practicing for the games which start the week of June 17th. Last night following dinner, Colorado University Assistant Women’s Coach Kelly Finley dropped by to see me.  Kelly and I have been friends for a number of years from the time she was coaching at Harvard University.  She has recruited some of our players in the past, and wanted to more so just catch up more than anything else.  Always good to see her. Thanks for following the blog.  I hope you enjoyed the events from USA Basketball’s U16 Trials. Coach R:) 75391786388584250490011668437336426

USA Basketball Recap

The U16 USA Basketball trials are complete and we have our roster of twelve players.  Following the announcement, Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Director, had a meeting with the girls about being a part of a USA Team.

It was great to listen to as everything she covered reaffirms a number of aspects our Stealers’ Program is built on.  She talked about how the girls are to wear their uniforms (everyone looks the same, no arm sleeves, no leg sleeves, socks the same height and color), how they are to be team-first and that this particular team is part of a whole, and with the privilege to wear the USA jersey comes a large amount of responsibility. You’ll notice that in the picture to the left, the girls have on different shoes and socks.  Carol said for them to remember that picture as that will be the last time as part of this team that this will be the case. Carol talked about playing internationally, what travel will be like wearing the USA Basketball logo at the airport or around our travels in Mexico next month. She went over being courteous to the folks we come in contact with, how to stand for the National Anthem, and how to be a positive example throughout the games. Team-first was a big point of emphasis as she said those worrying about starting or playing don’t “get” the big picture.  This is about playing for our country not for yourself, and she and the selection committee took note during tryouts of who cared about starting and who cared about doing what’s best for their team. This was not the determining factor with everyone who did not make the team, but it did play a role with some of the ones that were cut. Another point of emphasis was that “We don’t do drama”.  The committee kept an eye on that specifically, because they can’t have someone causing an issue wearing the USA Logo on the national stage. During practice, the girls had to stand on the baseline, something that we do, and after practice the girls had to stand around the circle, which is also something that our program does. I’ll post a link so you can watch all of our games live when competition begins in June. I’m save and sound at home, and yes, with all of my bags (Smile). You can read about the team and other information on under U16 Women’s Basketball.


USAB Updates - U16 Natl Team June 8-24, 2013 - Part I
    1066017Coach Robinson:) heads back to Colorado Springs, Colorado on Saturday, June 8th to begin team practice with the U16 National Team.  The team will head out to Cancun, Mexico on June 16th for the FIBA U16 Americas games. The games are played at the following site: POLIFORUM BENITO JUAREZ / REGIÓN 295 M:04 FRACC. 02 / AV. LUIS DONALDO COLOSIO / ALADO DE GO CARTS / CARR CANCUN – AEROPUERTO. THE GAMES WILL BE SHOWN LIVE ON Coach Robinson:) will post updates and pictures on the Stealers Twitter account @wsstealers beginning June 8th. Here are some links:  FIBA Web Site  and USA Basketball Web Site. Here is the game schedule: Wednesday, June 19  2:00 p.m.               Costa Rica – Argentina 4:00 p.m.               Venezuela – Canada 6:00 p.m.               USA – Brazil 8:30 p.m.               Puerto Rico – Mexico Thursday, June 20 2:00 p.m.               Brazil – Costa Rica 4:00 p.m.               Canada – Puerto Rico 6:00 p.m.               Argentina – USA 8:00 p.m.               Venezuela – Mexico Friday, June 21  2:00 p.m.               Costa Rica – USA 4:00 p.m.               Puerto Rico – Venezuela 6:00 p.m.               Brazil – Argentina 8:00 p.m.               Mexico – Canada Saturday, June 22  Time TBD  Classification Semifinal 1: A3-B4 Time TBD  Classification Semifinal 2: B3-A4 Time TBD  Medal Semifinal 1: A1-B2 Time TBD  Medal Semifinal 2: B1-A2 Sunday, June 23  TBD  7th/8th Place: Class. Semifinals Losers TBD  5th/6th Place: Class. Semifinals Winners TBD  Bronze Medal: Medal Semifinals Losers TBD  Gold Medal: Medal Semifinals Winners ——————————- Saturday, June 8:  Coach Robinson 🙂 is safe and sound in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  No bags lost, no flight delays.  Sunday, June 9th is a travel day for the players and a day to prep before practice starts on Monday, June 10th.   Keep an eye on our program’s Twitter account @wsstealers on Sunday / Monday (June 9/10) to see some pictures from the start of practices. Sunday, June 9: Players are arriving today and getting settled in the Olympic Training Headquarters. I had some free time this morning so got in some site-seeing around the Colorado Springs Area with one of my basketball friends who lives in nearby Boulder.  We visited the Garden of the Gods to see the giant red rocks and the interesting plants and animals around the park.  It was a neat visit, but won’t explain too much as you need to visit yourself to understand the place so here is a LINK to the park’s web site.  I was on the lookout for the nesting falcons (but didn’t see any), as well as rattle snakes (and thankfully didn’t see of those either) which apparently are plentiful around the park. I did see a number of rock climbers which you can see in the pictures below if you look closely.  The one picture of me is about as high up the rock I would go.  We had a coaching staff dinner tonight with Director Carol Callan. Everyone is in, and ready to go. Two-a-day practices begin tomorrow, so we get to the process of shaping our team into a unit that can play at its’ highest level at next week’s FIBA Games. June 10: First practice of the session of the day is in the books.  We taught the girls about handling screens, high-low action on post entries, the half-court offense, 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 shell drill work and went through a number of drills.  We practiced for two-and-a-half hours and then broke for lunch.  Tonight’s session begins at 5:00 (MST), and we will add onto what was taught this morning. In the evening session, the girls were a little sharper and it was encouraging to see them begin to pick up the system.  We put in a press break, a press, a zone offense and defense, and a sideline. We are teaching fast, as we are just over a week before we start to play so it is paramount that the girls pay attention and try to retain as much as they can.    You can click HERE to read a story on Taylor Murry, one of our team’s point guards.  Also, you can continue to visit our Twitter Account @wsstealers for some pictures from the trip. More coming on Tuesday, June 11th. Click HERE for a link to USA Basketball’s 2013 Media Guide. June 11: This morning’s session was in preparation for tonight’s first open scrimmage vs. a local team.  We went through the various offenses and defenses we have been working on, and tried to implement some new ideas / concepts on presses.  We have a coaches meeting tonight before the scrimmage tonight to cover what we would like to get out of the scrimmage tonight.  Updates coming later… Tonight as we headed to practice, we noticed a strange site coming from the west.  It was a cloud of smoke in the distance.  As we headed in the opposite direction towards the training center, the cars on I-25 were in a traffic jam in the direction of the smoke.  After making our way to the Olympic Complex, our thoughts went to the scrimmage coming up.  Our team took on a local boys team in the Colorado Springs area, which was great for us.  We showed some good things, but were also exposed to the areas that we were lacking.  Following the game, we met as a team, discussed the positives and negatives, then went back to the hotel for dinner and to watch the Heat / Spurs Game 3.  As we headed back, the cloud of smoke was incredible. It covered such a great amount of the sky that I began taking pictures from the passenger seat in the car and again when we got to the hotel.  We learned that the Black Forest area of Colorado has caught fire, and that this fire is basically 15-20 miles from where we are staying.  Click HERE for an idea of what is going on with the fires.  I have posted a few pictures below.  Obviously, a sad time for the families and USA Staff that are being affected by what is taking place. June 12:  A day of highs and lows in the Colorado Springs area…  I woke up to a note under my door stating that the hotel is now booked because they have brought in families that have been affected by the fires that are nearby.  It is a reality check to me, and everyone involved with what we are doing… basketball is not that important compared to what is going outside of our hotel windows.  It is really sad seeing 2-3 airplanes and helicopters flying low dropping water and what not to try and control the fire closest to us.  There apparently are three separate fires burning and the TV coverage has been non-stop here.  Families are staying at the hotel with their cats, their dogs, and as many of their belongings as they could bring with them. Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Director, talked to our team this morning about what was going with the fires in the area, as well as an unfortunate situation with one of our girls being injured and having to return home. With losing one player there comes disappointment, but then we gain an alternate, which comes with excitement.  Click HERE for that story. Katie Lou Samuelson, a member of our team, also has story that is now posted, and you can read that HERE. We did get some basketball in today, practicing this morning to clean up the areas we were lacking in from the scrimmage last night.  We watched some film, then practiced.  Practice went well, and the girls responded to the constructive criticism, which was encouraging.  Carol then treated our coaching staff to a round of golf at Cheyenne Mountain Resort.  We played nine holes, and I actually enjoyed taking some time away from the basketball court (GASP!) to get outside.  I shot a 60, so… at least I had a good time, and … only lost three golf balls!!! We scrimmaged again tonight against the same boys team from last night and did a much better job.  A lot of the areas we stressed this morning were better and we left the complex feeling a little better about things.  We are nowhere close to where we need to be, but we are at least moving in the right direction. We’ll be back at it tomorrow morning and hope to continue to improve. July 13: We had our morning practice at the Olympic Training Center before breaking for lunch. The girls practiced at a good pace, and we tried to, again, fill in the gaps.  The team will go to dinner tonight and watch the NBA Game. The fires continue to burn here. This is the worst forest fire in the history of Colorado due to the number of homes that have already burned.  The wildlife is also affected. We have been told that the black bears, the mountain lions, the foxes and the deer will move to the north and west.  I think we already seeing the signs of this with a deer (picture below) next to our hotel grounds this afternoon.  The deer didn’t run or even move off when we stopped the car. The deer just put its’ head down and kept eating. We had our team meal tonight at Champs in Colorado Springs.  We had a “getting to know you” session before the meal which was fun.  Tomorrow, we have our official team picture, practice and a scrimmage.  Our coaching staff may (also) play another round of golf (OH JOY!?) during our break.  We are getting close to the real thing with the FIBA games coming up next week. We are starting to get into the right frame of mind, and hope that our next few practices and scrimmages can give us the positive momentum we need to help us do well in Mexico. June 14:  Today began with pictures. The girls were excited to wear their jerseys.  We took an official team picture, individual pictures, and a coaching staff picture (I have posted some of the pictures below, and on our Twitter account @wsstealers).  Following pictures, we practiced, then went to lunch.  Our coaching staff was treated to lunch by Carol Callan at the Cheynne Mountain Resort, then we got to play nine holes on the golf course. I’ll say that I improved from my performance on Wednesday. Today I shot a 58 on nine holes.  I was doing well, and then got kind of cocky and ended up hitting my ball into the rough.  Carol was my golf partner, so she helped me look for the ball when all of a sudden she went running past me.  I didn’t know what happened until she said “Snake”!  I saw the tail of the snake go high in the air and then splash into the water, and that was the end of my run on hole #8.  I listed a “S” (for snake) on my score card for that hole. Anyway, as we approached hole #9, the sky got dark, and it actually began to rain. I was so happy for the folks in the area, as they needed some type of help with the forest fires.  It didn’t rain long, but it rained enough to help some.  The Black Forest Fire area is now 20% contained which is an improvement.  On the way back, assistant coach Mary Klinger received a phone call from her son, Mike (whose birthday is tomorrow). Mike has been with us on the trip, and he was so excited because he ran into Shaka Smart, the head men’s basketball coach at Virginia Commonwealth, in the hotel lobby.  We asked him if he took a picture with him and he said “no”.  I told him that when I get back, I’ll go with him and meet the U19 Men’s Staff, and Selection Committee, who are in town right now as the U19 Boys Team opened their tryouts this evening. We were getting ready to leave for our scrimmage, when in the lobby came Mike Krzyzewski (Duke), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), Billy Donovan (Florida) and Tony Bennett (Virginia).  Mike and Mary were with me, and I said “Come on and let’s go get a picture with them”.  They both freaked out and said “No”, so I left them and introduced myself to them, and asked them for a quick picture.  Donovan was actually in a conversation so I didn’t get him in the picture, but did with the other three and posted it below and on our Twitter Account. Finally, Mary, Mike and then Sue Phillips (our head coach) got pictures with Coach K, and it really, really made Mary and Mike’s day.  They couldn’t stop talking about it. We scrimmaged against the U17 girls Colorado Rockies AAU Team from Denver, and played pretty well.  Still have work to do, but we are making progress. Overall, a solid day, and hope we can have another productive and fun today tomorrow. HERE is another article from USA Basketball. June 15: We started today with a coaching staff breakfast.  We happened to meet UCLA Men’s Head Coach Steve Alford on the way out, and he took a picture with us (@wsstealers).  We headed to Sand Creek HS to practice, since the U19 Men’s tryouts were being held at the Olympic Training Center.  We had a good practice, and now are off until 5:00 (MST) tonight as we scrimmage a boys team. This will be our last scrimmage here in the states, and our next-to-last practice before heading to Mexico for the games.  More updates coming later in the day. We are back from our scrimmage against a local U17 Boys AAU Team. We played good at times, and we, as a staff, saw some encouraging things.  We met for dinner to discuss tomorrow’s plan for our last day of practice.  We’ll get to watch the U19 Boys Tryouts tomorrow, which should be interesting before we practice, and then we have a team dinner and / or movie tomorrow evening. I am going to move this entire post (on Sunday evening) with pictures to the “USA Basketball & Winston-Salem Stealers” page on this site to make room for the trip to Mexico which runs from June 17-24. June 16: We had a solid practice today. The pace was good, and the girls were very attentive on even the smallest of details.  We are heading to dinner tonight, and then the girls will take in a movie.  We were fortunate enough to watch the U19 Men Tryout this morning.  Tomorrow is our travel day as we take a bus from Colorado Springs to Denver, then fly from Denver to Cancun. I’ll try to send updates from Cancun tomorrow night.





USAB In Cancun, Mexico - July 8-24, 2013 - Part II
    5304379 Part II of the two-week USA Basketball U16 FIBA Americas Games begins with our trip to Cancun, Mexico on June 17th. The team leaves from Colorado Springs at 6:30 AM on Monday to head to Denver for our direct flight to Cancun. Part I of the trip, which includes the week of practice from June 8-16 can be found on the “USA Basketball & The Winston-Salem Stealers” page on this web site. Remember, all of our games can be watched LIVE on the FIBA Americas Web Site HERE!!! If that link does not work, click here: June 17: We are in Cancun!!! We got to the hotel, dropped off our bags and went to dinner. We are taking a brief walk around the area just to loosen back up, and then its’ back to the hotel to get some rest. We practice tomorrow at 11:00 (CST). So far, I have seen a few of the teams in the hotel. Canada, Puerto Rico, Brazil, and Venezuela are here with us to this point. I’ll post some more updates later in the evening. One item of note from yesterday’s travel: USA Basketball is very organized and efficient. When we arrived at the airport, the bus took us a separate level where we unloaded. The process of unloading was very systematic… our bags first, then the USA equipment bags second. We took our bags to the sixth floor where we went to a separate check-in line, passports were ready to go, and within 20 minutes the entire group (12 girls, 3 coaches, 1 trainer, 1 media person, 2 staff members, and 1 guest) was checked-in. When we arrived in Mexico, we went through customs with no hitches, and the bus was ready to go. Really interesting how everything runs so smoothly, and that the smallest of details are always taken care of. June 18: We started today with an hour practice. We planned out practice the night before as a coaching staff, and got to work as soon as we hit the floor this morning. We felt good following practice with what we accomplished. We are taking a little break now, then taking the team over to the coastal area to see the beaches and do a little site-seeing. All of the teams are in the hotel with us now, and I have met some nice and interesting folks from the other countries so far. June 19: We are about to meet for breakfast, then head to the arena for our morning shoot-around and walk-through. Our opening game tonight is at 7:00 (EST) and 6:00 in Mexico (CST). I am really interested in the atmosphere surrounding the games and the seating capacity. The practice arena yesterday was nice. Two gyms at the practice site. When we started to practice, a lot of the people in the other gym came over to watch was neat. I am sure it will be exciting when they play our National Anthem before we start play this evening. I hope we can represent the United States well in the games. We defeated Brazil tonight 76-20. Our pressure in the first half really bothered their rhythm and allowed for us to get some easy baskets in transition. I, however, was very impressed in the spirit of Brazil’s players. They were very focused when playing, and when they scored or made a good play, they celebrated outwardly. I now understand why athletes become emotional during the playing of their country’s National Anthem. I got a little caught up in ours when it was played before the start of our game. We are here representing our country and we are the ones who are now leaving an impression on the seven other countries that are in attendance. I enjoyed the opening ceremonies. Listening to the entire presentation in Spanish was a challenge to keep up with, but I really enjoyed the music, the announcements of the teams and seeing the pride each fan base had for its’ team. Mexico, obviously, has the largest crowd, and they were very passionate cheering for their girls. HERE is a link recapping our game vs. Brazil. We take on Argentina Thursday Night. We are both 1-0 in our pool, so the winner will have the upper hand in getting the #1 seed for the medal rounds which begin on Saturday. We actually took the bus home with the Argentinians following our game, and our girls got to know their girls on the way back. This experience has been really, really wonderful so far. I am taking it all in, and trying to learn and appreciate the different cultures that are around me, while I at the same time, look at things from their perspective when it comes to us. I am really getting an education. One other interesting note are the happenings in the arena. The smell of food is very prevalent. The food vendors walk around selling mangos with sprinkled chili, candied apples, some type of funnel cake with chocolate, and churros. Folks are allowed to smoke in the arena as well, which caught me off guard. Someone was smoking right behind our bench and that smell definitely hit us. I do like how we exchange small gifts with our opponents before the start of the game. June 20: We take on Argentina today at 7:00 (EST), 6:00 (CST). The game will be shown live on Fiba Americas. We have team breakfast this morning, then film work, followed by a shoot-around at the arena. June 21: We have had some Internet troubles here in the hotel so I couldn’t “report” back last night, but I have found a connection area, for the moment this morning… We won big last night over Argentina to move to 2-0. Following a so-so first half, we managed to string together a nice run in the third quarter to win. We take on Costa Rica today at 3:00 (EST), 2:00 (CST). Winning last night gave us the #1 seed in our pool heading into the medal rounds which begin tomorrow. We’ll take on either Canada or Mexico with the opportunity to move to the Gold Medal game which will be played on Sunday. If you watched the Olympics last summer, I’m sure you heard all of the whistling from the crowd taking place during some of the games. To me, it was very loud on TV. Well, yesterday was the first time I experienced it in person and it is even louder when its’ right behind your bench. I count that as being able to experience the true, or close to being true, Olympic experience. HERE is a link to last night’s game recap. Also click HERE for more articles related to our games in Mexico. Funny how things work out. I went to the hotel lobby to do some work this morning and sat in the same general area as another guy looking for the same Internet connection. I didn’t talk to him for the first half hour I was there, as I thought he was from a rival country that we may end up playing in the medal round. Not that I won’t talk to a rival, but I wasn’t sure what angle he would have if we started a conversation, so I just went on about my business. Our other assistant coach, Mary Klinger, came down and sat with me, which was the seat beside him. He looked over and asked “Are you all with one of the teams”? We both said “Yes”, and he asked what tournament this was, where the teams were from. So, once I realized he wasn’t from a rival team, we expanded our conversation and found out that he was originally from Australia, but now lives in Marietta, Georgia. He is a marine biologist studying manta rays and whale sharks on the coastal areas of Mexico. Sea life fascinates me, so we talked on and on about his research and he then shared with me this video: CLICK HERE. This is footage he shot while swimming with the rays and sharks here this week. Really interesting stuff. Life is always teaching you about all kinds of things, and I am glad that I met (his name is AL) him this morning. Oh… yesterday, before the start of practice, a girl was standing there with a curtain-type cloth in her hand. She took the long cloth and wrapped it over a steel beam about 25 feet high. She was an acrobat for the circus during the curtain routines. She was twisting and turning, hanging upside down, etc… it was pretty impressive to watch first-hand. I never knew how strong someone has to be to do this. Again, the things that basketball allows me to see and experience are amazing. I know the kids really were in awe of her. More updates, Internet connection depending, later. We won over Costa Rica and now move into the medal round on Saturday. We’ll take on either Mexico or Canada depending on the results of their game tonight. June 22: We take on Mexico tonight at 7:00 in the medal round semifinals. A win would get us to the gold medal game against the winner of Canada / Brazil on Sunday. With Mexico being the host team, they’ll have a big crowd behind them and it should be a great atmosphere. We have practice today at 10:00 AM (CST). Before that, we have team meal and film. Mary, her son and I took a walk to the grocery store last night. Mary’s son, Mike, is a big McDonald’s fan so we stopped there for a minute. The McDonald’s here has an ice cream stand outside of it, where they serve all of their frozen treats. It is a good idea as the bus stop is right in front of the ice cream stand and they were very busy. Hopefully, more updates as we go along later today. Later on June 22: We defeated Mexico, so we now move into the gold medal game against Canada. Canada is similar to us in a number of ways, and we’ll need to be at our best to come away with the win. We have shoot-around in the morning after breakfast and film, then take a break before playing the title game at 6:30 your time, 5:30 (CST). The pro-Mexico crowd was very hospitable to us tonight. They clapped for us following the game, then several of their fans wanted pictures with our girls which was pretty cool for both sides. June 23: Our last full day in Cancun for the FIBA Americas Championship is upon us. It is again one of those times where you try to hang onto every moment taking place as it will soon be a memory. We play Canada tonight at 6:30 (EST) for the Gold Medal. We are heading to breakfast in a few minutes, then will watch some film before heading to practice. I hope we can put together another strong performance this evening. June 23-24: So yes, I am back home, and yes, we did win Gold! Canada gave us a fit in the first half, but we managed to keep things together at halftime and played a great third quarter to open up a double-digit lead. It was very exciting to win an Olympic Gold Medal, regardless of the age level. The medal is really nice and something that will provide memories no doubt, but to me it was the friendships that were made because of basketball. The friendships within our team that were made possible by USA Basketball are priceless, but the bonding amongst the teams from different countries was something amazing to see. The Argentina girls really liked our kids and vice-versa, as did the Brazilian kids. I made friends with the Brazilian and Costa Rica Coaches, and some of the Canada kids became close with our players after last night’s game. I wanted to post after our game last night, but the Internet went down in the hotel, and with us leaving at 4:00 AM for our flight, and then me going from Cancun to Houston, Houston to Chicago, and then Chicago to Greensboro, I didn’t have a lot of time to send the final recap. It is good to be home. The experiences throughout were incredible, and I am sure that more positive things will come from this for days, months and hopefully, years to come.







Coach R's 🙂 Daily Blog From USAB May 21-26
    5095463Coach Robinson:) has been selected to coach with USA Basketball for a second straight season.  The announcement was made on Tuesday, April 15th and can be read HERE Coach R:) was an assistant coach for the U16 Women’s National Team in 2013 that won the Gold Medal at the FIBA Americas Championships in Cancun, Mexico. This season, Coach R:) will be part of the same staff as the team heads to Czech Republic for the U17 FIBA World Championships June 28 – July 6. Coach Robinson’s daily blog from Colorado Springs, Colorado begins on Wednesday, May 21st. You can also follow updates from the trials on and on our program’s Twitter account @wsstealers. May 21st: The day has come to a close and what a day it was.  Travel was fine for pretty much all of the day.  I sat next to a golden retriever on the first flight (picture on the Twitter account) from Greensboro to D.C.   Then, from D.C. to Denver things went smoothly until we were preparing to land. The pilot said for everyone to look out of the right side of the plane windows to see the powerful storm brewing in the distance. When we landed, the announcement was made that we would not go to the gate, but instead sit on the runway, because all of the tarmac staff was sent inside due to frequent lightning strikes.  So with no one to direct us to the gate, we just sat there. Then, as the storm approached, another announcement was made that we were going to the gate anyway, because it wasn’t safe to be on the runway.  I wasn’t sure what was going on, so I just walked through the terminal to meet Jamie Carey from the USA Staff. Jamie was to meet me in Terminal A and since I was in Terminal B, I had to take the train which was on the lower level.  Well, just as I was to get on, the trains all stopped, a siren sounded, and and over the public address system was an announcement that a tornado was in the area and everyone was to go back upstairs to the storm shelters or bathrooms. The storm passed and eventually I got to my destination in the airport.  Because of the storm, four of the coaches and our trainer were diverted to other cities, so I was asked to take the rental car and drive one of our court coaches, Terri Morrison, from Denver to Colorado Springs (a little more than an hour drive).  The ground looked like it had snowed outside from the amount of hail that fell from the storm. Once we arrived in Colorado Springs, we headed to dinner, though we were short a few coaches, and held our USA Basketball Safe Sport meeting.  The meeting was to go over all of the rules, the new USA rules on bullying and abuse of all forms, and a number of other topics. It was great to listen to the talk from USA National Director Carol Callan, as much of her talk on rules and what not were reflections of the way we try to run our program.  I plan on adding some of the topics covered in her meeting to our program in the fall season and in 2015. It was also exciting to hear that USA Basketball is thinking seriously about adding regional identification camps for future players. I hope that they will use the Triad Area for one of their camps. Finally, to end the day, I received my bag of gear.  That’s always exciting. I, as always, placed all of the new gear on the bed and took a picture of it before opening the bags.  This is just Part I of the gear as we’ll get another set once the team is selected on Monday.  May 22nd is player orientation day and our first set of tryouts in the evening. May 22:  We started the day with an on-court coaches workout just to cover what needed to be taught in the evening.   A number of the skills we taught are the same that are being taught to our Stealers’ teams and in individual skills but called by a different name.  After the orientation meeting, we held two evening sessions for the 153 girls in attendance.  The pace of practice went really well, and I think the girls learned a lot. It was good seeing the girls who played on our U16 team last year. With the competition the way it is on the court this year, and with everyone a year older and wiser, making the team again is going to be a challenge, but that’s USA Basketball.  They want the twelve players that can work the best, and it should be interesting to see who the committee selects. I spent four years on that committee and it’s tough working through so much talent to get to twelve players, but it has to be done.  Day #2 of tryouts is on us Friday.  We have six sessions to work on Friday and I’m looking forward to it. It’s work, yes, but it’s teaching basketball in a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, and I’m very fortunate to be a part of it. The picture below is of our coaching staff: Head Coach Sue Phillips, Assistant Mary Klinger, and myself. May 23:  Today was a great day.  Twelve consecutive hours of basketball today (well, one hour was spent eating in the Olympic dining hall, and 30 minutes was a small break between two sessions) as the U17 tryouts moved into the scrimmage portion of the weekend.  We began the morning with several skills and drills, then moved into teaching the girls 3 on 3 concepts.  After lunch, the girls played 3 on 3 in front of the selection committee, coaching staff and court coaches as well as the USA Basketball National 3 on 3 Director.  A quick break came next, then onto the last two sessions where we worked on some early offense ideas followed by 5 on 5 scrimmages. With 152 girls, each grouping had three sessions, so we, the coaches had to teach six sessions at ninety minutes each.  Around the middle of the day, some were starting to fade a little, and when someone asked me how I was doing, I told them that I was good and that this is very similar to a normal day for me back home.  It’s all about working hard and working smart.  I know I have to be my best to serve the athletes in a great way, so I have to manage my energy when we have whole group instruction. That way, when we break off into small group (aka “Homeroom”) sessions, I can teach and coach at a high level every time (or at least try). Saturday is the start of cuts.  After the two morning sessions, there will be a cut. Then, after the afternoon sessions, there will be another cut. Finally, after the evening session, there will be a third cut.  The committee is going to try to get the roster to around 30-45 I believe before we tryout on the final day, which will be Sunday. The U18 girls and coaching staffs arrived today.  The U18 staff are college coaches, and the girls trying out are most all rising freshmen in college.  I hope to get a look at their tryouts in-between our sessions.  Lots of basketball, lots of hours, but, lots of learning for me, and more importantly, lots of fun. May 24:  So the day started with two trials sessions, followed by the first cuts, then another set of two trials sessions and a second cut.  I know it was hard for the committee to make those selections (been there done that), but they have to get to twelve by Monday morning.  After the first session, I walked down to Sportscenter #1 where the 18U Women’s National Team was trying-out just to get an idea of the difference between our level and theirs. The U18 team is coached by former Olympian and current South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley, Louisville head coach Jeff Walz, and Michigan head coach Kim Barnes-Arico.  The court coaches are also all college coaches as well as their selection committee. I picked up some new drills that I think I can run with our program when I return home. After the second session, I went back to the U18 tryouts, then walked back to Sportscenter #2 where we were holding tryouts, and who did I meet?  Super Bowl XLVIII Quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.  His sister, Anna, is trying out for our team, and he was kind enough to take pictures with our coaching staff (one picture below, one on Twitter).  Don’t worry… I made sure to tell him before the picture that I was a Steelers fan.  He just kind of smirked at me, but oh well.  I did the same with Michael Phelps about 4-5 years ago in the USA dining hall as he is a Ravens fan.  Sorry, I’m just loyal to the end… In the evening, we had our third set of two sessions, which will lead to cuts Sunday morning before our last two sessions.  I coached somewhere in the neighborhood of 20-25 games during the day, and to me, it was fun.  I’m here to do that, so it was funny when on the staff members asked how I had so much energy at the end of the day? I told her that “Eating and sleeping are overrated”.  She just laughed. We finished the day with dinner at a restaurant called Blue Star. It was interesting because the college coaching staff and court coaches were with us. It was interesting listening to each of them and picking their brains about all things basketball, and some things not about basketball. I took a picture with Coach Barnes-Arico and posted that below along with a few other pictures of the day.  The last picture is with Ellis Barfield of Winward HS in California (one of our U17 Court Coaches), Summer McKeehan (trainer at Duke and our U17 trainer) and Andrea Travelstead of the USA Basketball Staff. Sunday is our last full day of tryouts. May 25: Amazingly, tryouts are now done. It went by so quickly.  We had two sessions which I thought went well.  The girls were very gracious at the end of the last session, as many came by and said “Thank you” or “I appreciate your time with us”.  Sometimes you wonder if these elite athletes appreciate the opportunity in front of them, so it is a great feeling when they say so. After our tryouts, our staff walked over to watch the U18 tryouts, and then headed off to dinner. On Monday, we find out the members of our team.  Once the announcement is made, we have a brief meeting, then our staff heads to Denver to fly out to our home destinations.  We’ll all return on June 12th to start practice and begin preparations for our trip to the Czech Republic for the World Championships. More coming in June!!! GO STEALERS!!!


USAB U17 Team Selected
  7432593After four days of tryouts at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, a group of 153 girls was paired down to a roster of twelve with one alternate for the USA Basketall U17 National Team. Coach Robinson:) is an assistant coach on the team. This will be Coach R’s:) second season as a national team coach, and his seventh overall working for USA Basketball is some capacity. If you are curious as to who the players and coaches are in the picture to the left,  a little information on each is posted below: Front Row (Left to Right): Asia Durr and Te’a Cooper, both from Georgia. Both are considered in the top three of players in the nation for the Class of 2015. Both are uncommitted.  Next to Te’a are De’Janae Boykin (from Maryland) and Katie Lou Samuelson (from California). De’Janae and Katie Lou have both committed to UCONN. Katie Lou sprained her ankle in the last session on Sunday so we are unsure if she’ll play with us or not in the World Championships.  Next to Katie Lou is Arike Ogunbowale from Wisconsin. Arike (pronounced Uh-Ree-kay) has not committed to a college, and is one of the six returnees from our 2013 U16 team Gold Medal Team.  Circling around to the top, above Arike is our head coachSue Phillips from San Jose’, California and trhen two more California girls: Kristine Anigwe and Kennedy Burke.  Kristine has committed to Cal-Berkeley and just recently received her U.S. citizenship while Kennedy has committed to UCLA and her sister, Kody, played at N.C. State this past season. Next to Kennedy are four Class of 2016 girls from Texas: Natalie Chou, Joyner Holmes, Nancy Mulkey and Lauren Cox. Natalie and Joyner are in both in their first year on our national team, while Nancy and Lauren return from last season’s team.  How tall is Nancy? She is 6’9″.  Lauren is considered the top player in the Class of 2016 in the nation.  Next to Lauren is Sabrina Ionescu who is from California. Sabrina is our alternate in case Katie Lou cannot play. Sabrina played on our team last year.  To Sabrina’s right is Anna Wilsonfrom Virginia and has committed to Stanford.  Anna’s big brother is Seattle Seahawks Quarterback Russell Wilson.  Next to Anna is assistant coach Mary Klinger from Rutgers Prep in New Jersey. Next to Mary is, yes, Coach R:), I think you know him. The team will return to Colorado Springs June 12 to practice until the 18th, then head to France from the 19th-24th for a warmup tournament before heading to the Czech Republic for the FIBA World Championships.  Feel free to visit and look under “Women’s Team, U17” for more information on the team. GO U SteAlers!!!

Coach R's:) Blog From USAB June 12 - July 7, 2014
  5095463Coach Robinson:) is an assistant coach on the U17 USA Basketball Women’s National that will play in the World Championships in the Czech Republic later in June.  Coach R:) will keep a running daily blog here for you to follow.  There will be pictures posted here and on our program’s Twitter account @wsstealers. You can read about Coach R’s:) previous experiences with USA Basketball on the “USA Basketball & The Winston-Salem Stealers” page on this site. June 12:  So I am used to something interesting happening when it comes to traveling to Colorado Springs.  I arrived at PTI for my 6:30 AM flight to Chicago and immediately found out it was cancelled.  Since our team had its’ first practice scheduled for 5:00 CST, I needed to be there.  I had an option to fly out on June 13th which wasn’t going to work, and I had an option to arrive in Colorado Springs at 11:30 PM which also was out of the question.  I ended up changing flight carriers, got on a 7:15 AM flight to Atlanta, which then had me connecting later in the day in Houston, and finally arriving in Colorado Springs at 4:00 CST. I have learned to just roll with the punches when it comes to traveling for basketball events because every time there is a change to the plan, I end up experiencing something great.  Today, the change, had me on the Atlanta flight, and I ran into an old friend that I had not seen since I attended middle / high school.  That would’ve never happened without the change.  On the Houston to Colorado flight, I sat next to a girl who is interviewing for a job with USA Basketball, and who played for a couple of coaches that I have worked with in the past.  Again… never would’ve happened without the change. We had a team meeting scheduled for 5:00 before practice, so I, along with Summer McKeehan, the trainer for Duke Women’s Basketball, who also had her flight cancelled, walked in at 4:59.  The meeting went really well as all of the ground rules were laid down and the tone was set for our practices leading up to the World Championships.  One thing was stated during our practices was that “If we (as coaches) aren’t correcting you, you need to worry”. This is something that I have said over and over to my players, and I find myself saying this very thing to our 3rd, 4th and 5th grade teams, as well as the academy teams.  I am not sure if we have any USA Basketball players in the Stealers at those ages/grades, but I owe it to the girls to correct them when they aren’t doing things on the court the right way.  USA Basketball is big on who can handle constructive criticism and who can’t, and it really does separate the great players from the good ones. For those who want to know what famous people are hanging around the Olympic Training Center right now, Michael Phelps is here with the swimming group, and the U18 men’s basketball team is holding tryouts (log onto to read who is part of the men’s tryouts).  We practice early on Friday, and then have our first scrimmage Friday evening.  I started the day by getting up at 2:45 AM, and now it is 11:19 CST (1:19 EST) so it has been a full day.  More coming on Friday. June 13: Today we had our first full day of work, beginning with a two hour and forty-five minute practice.  Following practice, we had lunch, then went to a classroom to listen to Peter Habrel, an Olympic Sports Psychologist.  Mr. Habrel is from Austria and is former Olympic level hockey player.  It was very interesting to listen how he conducted his seminar with the girls. He used an example with balloons, and talked to our players about staying in the moment and handling distractions. He showed how the balloons represented roles on the team and how important communication is.  He then had a meditation session which he took from former Chicago Bulls and L.A. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson. He was trying to put our girls minds in a place where they could focus on the task at hand, eliminate the negative and be conscious of their own awareness.  It was very interesting to me as I believe the mental side of the game is more important than the physical side.  Below are a couple of pictures from the seminar. Following the seminar, we had a break, then had our first scrimmage against a local boys team.  The boys beat us, but I think we learned a lot about our team, and hopefully, the girls learned a lot about themselves.   Solid day, now onto Saturday’s work. June 14:  We had a solid morning practice after beginning the day by watching film from the scrimmage. When the girls saw themselves on the video, they seemed to get a better idea of what our expectations are of them which set the tone for practice.  After practice, our coaching staff got some lunch and then went shopping at the USA Store to pick up some gifts for some folks at home. There was an interesting picture in the store of an Olympic wheelchair basketball player. Since I’ve started coaching the Triad Trackers, I’ve studied the higher levels of wheelchair basketball so that maybe someday I can help our team or an individual or two reach the college or Paralympic level someday – basically the same goals I had when starting the Stealers in 1996.  It seems far-fetched, but there is nothing wrong with setting high goals as it keeps you focused and drives you to make your particular program the best it can be. As we were heading towards our break, we ran into the Dominican Men’s U18 National Basketball Team who were going to scrimmage our U18 men today. I always find it interesting during the lunchtime breaks, of all the different sports that are represented, how everyone seems to be in their own world, but everyone, no matter the sport, is interested in one thing: training to be the best so that their sport can win a gold for the United States. I ran into a women’s soccer player who was from Charlotte and plays at U.N.C. during lunch, while some members of our team got a picture with gold medal swimmer Conor Dwyer. I placed that picture below as well as some pictures of the Olympic Complex. With our second scrimmage tonight, we played much better. We lost by four to a men’s team, but the overall effort and attention to detail was better.  We hope we can continue to correct things, as we are just a couple of days away from heading to France for the preliminary exhibition games. June 15: So it’s Father’s Day and our fourth day of training camp.  We had practice in the morning, then a seminar with Peter again, this time on communication and trust.  The challenge of trying to implement our system, mesh players together (chemistry) and develop a rotation of players is a great one. I, for one, find it challenging in a great way to work with a group of coaches to try and make that happen.  Typically, being the head of a number of programs in North Carolina, doing all of the aforementioned topics would fall just on me.  It is now a group effort and I think my time last year, and already this year, with the USA Coaching Staff continues to be an educational process for me. We scrimmaged again tonight against the boys again, and they beat us, but there were a number of good things that came from it.  We are now just three practices away before we hop on a plane, so time is important.  The hope is to achieve these three goals before we head to France. On a side note, we did have some time to watch the U18 men scrimmage today.  These will be the next stars of college basketball as most of the guys will be freshmen in 2014-15.  I continue to appreciate the opportunity to experience all of the things around me, and I’m sure there are more ahead in the weeks to come. June 16: We had a team meeting and watched film to begin the day, then had a pretty spirited practice Click HERE to see some highlights from today’s practice.  We then met with Peter again and he talked about mental imagery.  He gave the girls and our coaching staff a task of trying to get out of some ropes which seemed impossible, but with one simple move, it wasn’t.  The point was to see who would give up, get frustrated or think it couldn’t be done versus who was going to keep trying, figure out a way, and keep a good attitude. For the first time at training camp we gave the girls a night off. We all went to dinner together, then went to watch the U18 Men scrimmage Canada.  We, the coaching staff, sat with the NBA scouts who were already trying to identify players for their organizations in the future. In our section were scouts from the Atlanta Hawks, the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs, and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Watching them evaluate players and overhearing their conversations on these kids was an experience in itself.  I liken it to the way college coaches evaluate players.  The things that some players and parents think are important when it comes to evaluating, really aren’t. I actually enjoyed learning how a few NBA Teams think and how they try to start building their future. Follow the scrimmage, my fellow assistant Mary Klinger walked with me around the Olympic Complex and took pictures of the various points of interest.  I have posted some below for you.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, is our last full day of training camp. We also have pictures in the morning.  Then, when we are done, it is time to pack and get ready to head overseas. June 17:  Our last day of training camp was a somewhat emotional one for the girls. We had a player get sick to the point of where she could not travel.  Since she couldn’t travel, our alternate player will be going on the trip.  Obviously, the girl who can’t go is very sad, as is the team, however, the team is happy for the player that will be joining us, as is the player who gets to go.  That announcement was made following our practice this morning.  We had a brief meeting, and then broke for lunch. We returned in the afternoon for the scrimmage, again against the boys, who, again, beat us. Our training camp, I think, was solid.  Of course, time will tell as we head toward our exhibition games which start with a game vs. China on June 20th in France.   The exhibitions run from June 20-24 in France, then we head out to the Czech Rebublic for the real games on June 28th. Our coaching staff managed to get some time to take pictures around the complex again today. The men’s team from Brazil came in today as the U18 Men’s FIBA Americas Championships will start in Colorado Springs this weekend.  There is also a big swimming event taking place on site as I saw the swim team from Georgia and (I think) Texas (could be wrong) walking around the dining hall.  I got a picture of the Olympic torches that were used for the games our country hosted in 1984, 1996 and 2002. We scrimmaged in Sports Center #1 tonight where they have set up for the U18 Men’s games.  The court has the designs on it on now, so it gives you that feel of international basketball. I am excited about being a part of an international event such as the World Championships in the Czech Repbulic.  After watching the World Cup games today and yesterday, and seeing the excitement of each country’s fans on TV and around the training center campus, you start to get a true idea that you are coaching / working for something bigger than anything you have ever been a part of.  Of course, to me, it’s still coaching basketball.  I need to trust myself, and do my part, to make the team better.  It is an honor, yes, to be a part of this all. Well, off to bed, then up in about 2-3 hours (3:30 am CST) to head to Denver to catch our flight to Washington, DC, then off to Paris.  IMIGHT have some time on Wednesday to do another blog.  If not, you may not hear from me again until later on Thursday when we get settled in France.


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Coach R's:) Blog (PART II) From USAB - June 12 - July 7, 2014
  8980101June 18-19: Well, I am back on the blog again, after a day-and-a-half off.  If you are looking for the first part of the blog, it is on “USA Basketball & The Winston-Salem Stealers” page on this site. I’ve placed it at the top so that it is easy to find if you need to catch up. So, I am now in France, typing from Nogent sur seine and Sourdon, two towns outside of Paris. We are staying in Sourdon at the boarding school Internat de excellence; the town next to it where we are practicing is Nogent sur seine. We met at the Olympic Training Center at 4:15 AM (CST) on Wednesday, then rode the Olympic Training bus to Denver. We left Denver around 9:00 AM (EST) and landed in Washington Dulles around 1:30 PM (EST).  We had lunch there, then left for Paris at 5:15 PM (EST) which is a seven hour flight.  It was strange basically not seeing half of Wednesday, since we quickly changed into Thursday on the flight over. It was an entertaining flight since the folks next to me were from the Spartanburg, South Carolina area.  I tried to get some sleep, but they were part of a group of 8-10 others and they just had the best time talking and laughing.  I did get some sleep eventually. After we landed in Paris, we hustled everyone through customs and then to the bus to head to the boarding school. I am going on about two hours of sleep total in the last two days, so I’ll cut this short now.  We scrimmage on Friday versus China at 5:00 (11:00 AM North Carolina time) after our shoot-around in the morning.  The team from France and Canada are here as well in the four-team round robin that ends on Sunday. We are six hours ahead of North Carolina or EST folks so it’s getting late here.  I’ll hopefully be back again on Friday with some updates. For those wanting to follow our game updates from our Friendly’s being played June 20-22, log onto the USA Basketball Facebook or Twitter page (@usabasketball).  They’ll be giving quarter-by-quarter updates.  I’ll continue to update this page when I can. June 20:  We won our opening friendly game over China 89-49.  China was a sold team and more than likely didn’t show us everything since they are our first game in our group (aka “pool”) next week at the World Championships.  I always enjoy the pageantry that comes along with international play.  First, the different languages and styles you hear and see during warmups is always unique, followed by the part where both competing teams have their national anthems played.  I said it last year and I felt that same way today when they played our National Anthem.  You begin to understand that you are coaching for a much bigger reason when the Anthem is played. When the anthems are finished, the two teams and coaching staffs walk over to each other and give a small gift to the person in front of you.  We gave each member from China a small USA flag, and they gave us each a small China trading pin (like you’d see at AAU Nationals).  Then, the game starts.  I thought we played well for a first time out, and down one player due to an illness. We have to get right back at it on Saturday as we take on Canada, who we beat in the FIBA Americas gold medal game last summer.  A “friendly” game is a real game, but it is not counted towards your results at the World Championships.  This is more of a warm-up for teams that are traveling to play and is hosted by one of the teams in the U17 World Championships; in this case, France. Before we played, we had a shoot-around in the morning.  We worked on our system, and got some shooting in. Again, I continue to be amazed at how our team continues to draw a crowd.  A youth summer group that was at the gym this morning came by and sat basically to attention while we practiced. When we were done, they all wanted autographs, and to take pictures of our team.  It makes you really proud to be part of such a great program and country and, as the directors at USA Basketball have told us in the past, every time we travel internationally it gives us the opportunity to dispel rumors and misconceptions that folks abroad may have about Americans.  I placed some pictures below of the kids that came to watch practice and also of the town, Norgent sur Seine, where we are playing.  You learn a lot about history here, as this was a heavy area for fighting during World War II. One interesting fact about Sourdon, the town where we are being housed, is that there are a number of wheat fields around us.  Right outside of my room window is a huge field, and apparently, these fields is where we get a lot of our cereals Corn Flakes and Frosted Flakes.  (I don’t see Tony the Tiger to tell them “They’re Grrrrreat”, but if I do, I will for you.) Another item I find very interesting is that, like last year, alcohol is served at these games. Last year in Cancun, they sold beer… this year, it is Champagne.  Strange to us, but normal for them.  Most of the area is gearing up for the World Cup game that France is in, so you can definitely feel a buzz around the city. That’s all for now. Hopefully more updates coming on Saturday. Log onto for updates on our games as well. There is a link to photos from our game vs. China on the story recap as well. CLICK HERE. June 21: We ended up with a nice win over Canada today.  We didn’t play particularly well in the first half, leading by three at the break, but the same thing happened in last season’s gold medal game vs. Canada when we found ourselves tied at the half.    Winning 80-45 should make anyone happy, but again, we understand that there is a standard set way before any of us took part in USA Basketball, so we challenged the girls to play at that level in the second half, and to their credit, they responded. International basketball continues to provide unique opportunities and experiences. Typically, you want to stay away from your opponent before the game, but because it was Saturday, the bus service that takes us from campus to the playing site was only operating one bus, so we road with Canada to the game. We sat on one half of the bus, and they sat on the other half.  It was kind of quiet on the bus going to the game as no one really wanted to talk. I guess the aisle in the middle was like the border between Canada and the United States (haha, that was my joke for the day… ok).   When the game was done, we were allowed to go to the Carrefour Market which is a grocery store. It is funny because our game site is the only place we have been to where they have Wi-Fi, and the girls go crazy because they can check their phones when we are there.  Then, when we went to the Carrefour Market, you would have thought we were giving them a million dollars. They changed some cash to Euros and bought some food for their rooms.  I was happy that I got an ice cream bar (vanilla ice cream of course… it’s the little things in life).  We then had to back to the arena and pick up Canada to take them back with us to the campus. This time, the bus ride was a little better as both sides talked to each other.  It just goes to show you that you don’t want to judge people ahead of time, and you don’t want to look at a potentially bad moment the wrong way, because the moment actually may be a blessing in disguise.  Canada’s National Team Director sat behind me and talked about her brother who lives in Wilmington, North Carolina, and their coaches talked about how one of the players being recruited by a few schools in the United States. We will now play the host team, France, tomorrow in our final friendly game, then have a day to tour Paris on Monday before heading to the Czech Republic on Tuesday.  Will be back at some point on Sunday. June 22: So I am now experiencing what it is to lose a game in international play. We lost today to the host team France, 76-72, after leading by double digits at halftime.  The home crowd was really loud. They were blowing air horns, and doing all of these different cheers and their team really played well in the second half. I didn’t realize it until after the game, but most of their team members play professionally with their older age groups, so they are very seasoned players compared to our girls who have really only experienced just high school and club basketball. I personally think that this game could be, using a term from yesterday, a blessing in disguise if we treat it the right way.  We saw what a composed, veteran-like team played during their comeback and down the stretch, and I think with a few adjustments, we will fair better, hopefully, the next time we play them. That next time would be next Sunday in the Czech Republic for the real games – the World Championships. Sure we were disappointed with the loss today, but at the same time, it is the reason why USA Basketball places us in these pre-tournament exhibition games.  USA Basketball knows what they are doing, and I liked the fact that our staff and director didn’t get to overly emotional about the result today. They explained some things to everyone, and it really made sense when everything settled down. What I found interesting today was that our host team / sponsor of the tournament put on a big ceremony following the game. The girls got some nice parting gifts and they gave each coach from each of the four teams an unopened bottle of champagne.  So, now I am about to head to the Czech Republic on Tuesday needing to somehow figure out how to travel with this gift.  I’d like to keep it as a nice souvenir from the tournament. So, we will now have a free day in Paris on Monday, then fly out early on Tuesday. We actually are going to have a lay-over in Frankfort, Germany before heading to Prague, so I guess I’ll see another part of the world that I have never been to before.  I am going to start a running a list of the places I have been on this trip so far that began on June 12 and post that below soon. If I have some I’ll check back in tomorrow, at some point. June 23: So today we drove into Paris to tour the city.  We were able to visit the Cathedrale Notre Dame de Paris, go on the Champs-Elysees where the Tour de France is held, and see the Eiffel Tower, among many other landmarks.  We left our housing in Sourdon around 8:30 AM (I placed a picture below of the sun setting on our last night there from my room) and arrived in Paris around 10:15.  We spent most of the day touring and yes, it was a long day, but it was one that I really enjoyed.  Again, it is hard for folks that I talk to back home how incredible an opportunity it to work for USA Basketball.  This is not an AAU Tournament or a high school game.  This is our country’s Olympic Program trying to prepare our country’s players, coaches, medical staff and video coordinators for possible Olympic level basketball some day.  Being a part of USA Basketball for seven years has provided me some experiences of a lifetime, especially in the past year-and-a-half when I was asked to be an assistant coach for their National Teams. While I was looking at the Eiffel Tower, I kept thinking how lucky I was to be standing there with our group, and how a few small decisions: one in 1996 by starting the Stealers program, one in 2002 changing high school programs and the gender I coached at that level, one in 2003 starting the 292 Program, and at least three decisions not to coach at the college level has afforded me moments like this. Not too many people get to be a part of something like this in the coaching realm, so when I try to explain the level of professionalism, the standards, philosophies and culture around you on a daily basis, and the intensity of competition, I honestly have a hard time doing so because a lot of folks don’t understand. Our team doctor, Bill Kuprevich is the chief doctor for the Olympics, so he is the top of the top in that field. Our trainer is from Duke, Summer McKeehan, and she is one of the top college trainers in the country.  Our video coordinator is from the University of Florida Jillian Baach has video clips cut and ready to go for our staff and our media representative, Jenny Magg, is as top of the line professionally as there is.  Carol Callan is the USA Basketball National Team Director and is our boss. She is in charge of the entire Olympic Women’s Basketball Program and she carries herself in a first-class manner.   Basically, the three of us that are high school coaches are working with some of the best there are, if not the best, from an administrative standpoint, and we are working with some of the top high school players in our country. When you go around different parts of the world, and folks stop you and want to take pictures with you because you are from the USA it is pretty neat.  Folks want to talk to our players, ask all of us questions, and learn about us which is an opportunity in itself.  A couple of little ball girls from France came up to our coaching staff yesterday before our game and wanted to know our names. They called me “Bree-Ahn”. I posted a picture of them below as well. I find it very educational from a personal standpoint as it opens my eyes to the different lifestyles that I may have only seen just on TV. I also find it very educational from a professional standpoint as it allows me to see how different countries play basketball and it continues to show me there are a lot of ways to teach and play the game.

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USAB U17 World Championships (Part III); June 12 - July 7, 2014
    2180329June 24: Our U17 Team heads from Paris today to our connecting flight in Frankfort, Germany then it will be onto Prague and to the town of Pilsen as we get set for the World Championships which begin June 28.  More updates will come later today (hopefully). For those wanting to follow our game updates from the U17 World Championships, log onto the USA Basketball Facebook or Twitter page (@usabasketball).  They’ll be giving quarter-by-quarter updates. Also, if you’d like to watch the games live, you can log onto or use this LINK HERE. I’ll continue to update this page when I can.  You can also visit our program’s Twitter page (@wsstealers). Coach R’s:) blogs from June 12 – June 24 (first part), can be found on our “USA Basketball & Winston-Salem Stealers” page on this site. June 25 (Part I): So we are now in Pilsen (Plzen), Czech Republic.  We got settled last night after a fairly smooth day of travel. It didn’t look like it would be that way to start as the air traffic controllers in France went on strike just as we were preparing to fly out.  We thought we would have to get to Pilsen by train, but as that option was being explored, the train operators also went on strike.  Well, regardless, we got out and landed in Frankfort, Germany for our connector. While in Germany, I met a lady named Pavlina who is a move/television producer in Prague and in Los Angeles.  She talked to me awhile about our team and her job and how her daughter is more of a volleyball player than a basketball player.  She was interesting, as was the group on the bus ride to the plane from California called Follow. From what I understand, Follow, is a group of kids that come to the Czech to teach kids English.  Lots of Americans on our flight. I found it a little strange that we took a bus to our plane. The bus actually went out and dropped us off in front of the jet and we boarded.  I know this happens in the states, but usually not with the bigger airlines.  We were let off in the middle of the big jets and to speed up the boarding process, they opened the front and back gates and had a set of stairs at each one.  It did make boarding go faster, but still a little different than my normal travel. Pilsen is about an hour from Prague and the hotel we are staying at is pretty nice. Eight of the sixteen teams are staying here, and we saw our Thursday scrimmage opponent, Australia, last night at dinner.  We learned last night that the semifinals and finals of these games will be aired live on ESPN-U on July 5th and 6th, so if we make it that far, I’ll send out some details. Pictures below are (Left-Right): The street where Princess Diana had the fatal car accident, 2) Dr. Kuprevich and I in front of the Eiffel Tower, 3) The Arc of Triumph in Paris, 4) The Opera House (as it is called in Paris), 5) Our coaching staff in front of The Opera House, 6) I’m in front of Cathedal of Notre’ Dame. June 25 (Part II): We had the opportunity to practice in the actual game facility this evening.  The facility folks were putting the final touches on the scoreboards, placards, and communication instruments. We received our coaching credentials today as well.  I placed a picture of part of the town of Pilsen below as well as the game arena. June 26 (Part I): So, I wrote a little about our support staff in a previous entry, now here is a little bit about the coaching staff I am working with: our head coach, Sue Phillips, coaches at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose’, California.  She played softball at Northwestern and is a former college coach at the University of California-Berkeley.  She coaches the San Jose’ Cagers AAU / Club Program and has won five state championships in California.  Mary Klinger is my fellow assistant coach.  Mary recently completed her 30th season as a coach at Rutgers Preparatory School in New Jersey where she is also the athletic director; she has won ten state titles as a high school coach.  Mary played basketball at Rutgers and won a national championship in 1982 alongside her twin sister Patty. A neat fact about both coaches:  Sue coached Keri Walsh-Jennings, the Olympic Beach Volleyball Three-Time Gold Medal Winner, in high school, while Mary coached the (assumed) tallest female high school basketball player in recent memory, Marvadene Anderson (6’11”), who now plays at the University of Pittsburgh. Marvadene’s nickname is Bubbles. See below on a picture of Marvadene. Also, another one of Mary’s sisters, Maureen, works for the NBA. If you watch the draft Thursday Night, you’ll see a lady escorting the players to be interviewed after coming on stage.  That’s Maureen. June 26 (Part III) / June 27 (Part I): We were only allowed one practice on June 26 and we were going to use that practice to scrimmage Australia’s team. We, however, needed to go over some things before playing so we walked down to the park about two blocks from our hotel, found an open area (no basketball goals) and just ran through our plays.  The locals were curious as to who we were as they stopped by with their dogs or their children to watch. I guess it’s not everyday you have the United States National Team practicing in your park. We scrimmaged Australia later that evening and played much better than our last outing which was against France in France.  We’re not all the way there yet, but it was a great improvement. I love the fact that the USA administration considers our coaching staff as developmental.  As noted above, the two coaches I am working with are very experienced, and I, myself, have sixteen years of varsity head coaching experience (4 with boys, 12 with girls) and twenty years overall coaching in high school. Not to mention, we are in year number eighteen of the Stealers’ program.  However, to USA Basketball, we are beginners, and they continue to teach us about the international game, about do’s and dont’s for pre-game, in-game, and post-gameetiquette that could be normal for us, but offensive to other country’s customs or beliefs.  I have told many folks that being to grow in your profession is a great thing, and that you never should think that you know it all, because you really don’t. This morning, June 27th, we practice at the University of West Bohemia.  The training facility was a like an airplane carrier.  Lots of room to work, but you could tell it was an older place, even though it was established in 1991 which isn’t that old, but nice.  It definitely reflects the feel of the area as there are a lot of history all around us. We are about to have lunch, head to the actual playing arena for our media head shots for FIBA and, maybe down the road, ESPN (if we make it to next weekend) and then have our second practice.  More pictures are posted below. June 27 (Part II): So we just finished our second practice of the day.  It went fairly well. I think the girls are ready to start the tournament which begins tomorrow vs. China at 6:00 our time (12:00 Eastern Standard Time).  We took our media pictures before practice this afternoon. There is a post on our Twitter account @wsstealers where you can view the pictures media day. We found out today that you watch our games in pool play beginning June 28 clicking the following link:  HERE. June 28:  We begin pool play today.  Everyone seems ready to go, but also seems very good about not burning too much emotion to early. This is, hopefully, going to be a long tournament. I think the value of being consistent day-to-day in not only your work but also your intensity allows teams to be efficient and not waste energy.  We’re going to find out soon enough as China looks like they are ready.  Yes, we played them last Saturday and beat them, but that means nothing today. Last night, we took a quick walk around the area for a late snack, but nothing of interest was open, so we ended up where we started which was the hotel. Our coaching staff, our media representative Jenny, our national team director Carol and her husband Dave sat down for about an hour and a half just to talk and eat.  I find myself doing more listening than talking, as they are so many things that can be picked up and learned from hearing the experiences of past trips of those who coached and played before us. So, I’ll be back on after our game. Just a reminder that you can use the link above (June 27 Part II post) to watch our game online at 12:00 (EST), which will be 6:00 in the Czech Republic. So… where in the world is Coach R:)?  —-  June 12:  Kernersville to Greensboro, Greensboro to Atlanta, Atlanta to Houston, Houston to Colorado Springs until June 18.   June 18: Colorado Springs to Denver, Denver to Washington, DC, Washington, DC to Paris, Paris to Sourdon. June 24: Back to Paris. June 25: Paris to Frankfort, Germany to Prague, Czech Republic to Pilsen, Czech Republic.

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Blog From USAB June 12 - July 7, 2014 (Part IV)
    2336676June 28: Yesterday we won our first game in pool play 69-41 over China. We didn’t play particularly well in the first half, but did enough on the defensive end to allow us to have a seven point lead at the half. We played much better in the second half and came away with the win. We play France on Sunday in our second pool play game.  France beat us last week, so we’ll need a better effort and focus to knock them off. If you’d like to watch us play, we’ll be live at Noon on June 30th and July 2nd on this web site: CLICK HERE. My first three entries can be found on “USA Basketball & The Winston-Salem Stealers” page on this web site.  More coming up throughout the week You can follow our trip and games on Twitter @wsstealers and @usabasketball and updates can be found on June 29: The next to last day of June found us playing France in a pool play game that could have a huge impact on the entire tournament. A loss by us and we would have a much tougher road to a potential gold medal. A win, and at least for a round or two, we would have a little easier time.  You don’t want to take anything for granted, but the way the other pools are shaping up, we could see what could happen depending on our result today.  We were taking on a France team that beat us last Sunday in Nogent sur Seine and we knew we needed a great effort to pull out a win. We got more than just a great effort today, we had terrific focus and for the most part execution especially on defense and won 88-40.  The margin of victory was a surprise to many, including me, but we knew we had the ability to be a formidable team.  With that win, we our in position to now win our pool, should we take care of Mali on Tuesday. We will take a visit to Prague on Monday following our morning practice. I’m excited about seeing another part of the world that I have heard so much about, so I’ll try and post some pictures later in the day. June 30: We had a decent practice this morning which was a good thing considering we were coming off such a solid win yesterday.  Since this is not our normal school or club team, you wonder if they will begin to take on the personality of the coach / coaches. I think they slowly are, and it was encouraging that they put that win behind them.  We’re back at it on Tuesday, taking on Mali in our final pool play game. After lunch today, we took an hour bus ride to Prague.  That was an awesome experience.  Our tour guide was really educated on the area and showed us everything.  We saw the streets and bridge where Mission Impossible was filmed and we got to see many of the castles and churches in the city.  I had an interesting experience when we were allowed to break from the group to go shopping on our own.  I’ve been trying my best to find a pair of black dress pants to wear during our games since our staff would like to wear all black one game.  Well, for our game vs. Mali we are going to try to do that. Problem is, I didn’t bring black pants. I tried to buy some in Paris, but all they had were the “in-style” skinny jeans that apparently everyone in Paris wears.  Well, I tried a pair on, and to make what would be a funny story very short… NO, not happening. Well, we had thirty minutes to shop in Prague, so I went on my own to one of the shops which was about 2-3 blocks away.  The first store didn’t work, so I turned the corner and found another store.  That store didn’t work either, and now I had basically ten minutes to get back to our meeting point.  However, when I walked out of the store, I couldn’t remember if I came in from the right or left, so now I was turned around in an unfamiliar place. I asked one shop owner how to get back to the Starbucks which was across the street from where we were to meet. He told me some long way to get there… tick tick tick… time was running, so I asked a second shop owner and she told me if I made a left then a right, I’d be there in four minutes. Sure enough, she was right.  I made it with two minutes to spare, but it was a little bit harrowing for a minute… However, with no black pants. Our host / guide for the tournament is taking me to shop on Tuesday before the game, so maybe I can find a pair, without getting lost. We had dinner at a famous local restaurant where apparently the Rolling Stones used to rent out to eat.  They had a couple of accordion players playing polka tunes throughout our dinner and all of the locals were singing away.  It was a fun atmosphere. To end the day, we drove back through a couple of storms.  The storms, however, were just to the right of the bus, so I looked out and saw both the sun and the storm clouds. Because you can see for miles, it was an interesting contrast and the longer we drove the lower the clouds were over our bus. It was actually very pretty and something that I took a picture of and will eventually post below with some pictures of Prague.  When we got back, the lobby was very busy, but one thing that is constant is the ever-present music playing.  This morning, it was “Smile” by Michael Jackson, a lot of Sade’, and Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way”.  Yesterday, we heard “She’s a Maniac” and the theme from “Romeo and Juliet”.  Definitely,  a lot of American music being played, and at least there a little feeling of home in some places. July 1: We played and defeated Mali in our final pool play game by a wide margin today.  We now will take one of the four #1 seeds to bracket play which begins on Wednesday.  We are going to take on Mexico in the first round.  Mali is in West Africa, and the girls and coaches speak mostly French.  You can tell that basketball is not the most important thing going on in their lives, and that they are appreciative of the opportunity to play.  My hope is that our girls can see how good we have it in the USA, even when we have our not-so-good days as those such days would probably be a good day in Mali.  Those kids tried really hard and their coaches were gracious after the game. It is a constant learning experience for me at this tournament.  I’m having a good time, and yes, if you watched the game today, I found some black pants at a local mall which is about a five minute drive from our hotel. More coming tomorrow.  Remember, you can always log onto: or to view pictures from the tournamentand you watch our Wednesday bracket play game HERE.  They haven’t set a game time for Wednesday’s bracket play game yet due to television schedules. July 2:  We beat Mexico this evening to advance to the quarterfinals which will be played on Friday at 3:15 Czech Republic time, 9:15 AM North Carolina time.  We played well at times tonight, and I came away impressed with Mexico’s improvement over last year.  They were doing some nice things on the court and seemed to play with a lot more confidence than they did a year ago in the FIBA Americas Championships. I am not sure how many of you are able to watch the games online, but when they announce our starting line-ups and then the coaches, they announce me using my first, middle and last name.  I didn’t catch it the first couple of nights, but certainly did last night and listened a little closer to it tonight. Not a big deal, but it’s a first for me having my middle name called during lineup announcements. Thursday will be a practice day for us.  We are three games away from reaching the ultimate goal, but still a lot of work to do.  More updates coming on Thursday. July 3: Today was a practice day for all of the teams. We got in two practices, one ninety minute session in the morning and one forty-five minute session in the early evening.  We take on Canada on July 4th.  We seem to be working a more consistent pace, and the girls are picking up things quicker which is always a good thing. Tonight, the coaching and support staff took a visit to downtown Pilsen.  There was an outdoor play taking place, and a good number of folks walking around the area.  There seemed to be a lot going on, but it was very quiet at the same time as there weren’t a lot of cars going up and down the streets.  I know it has been pretty hot back home. Here, it’s been averaging around 70-80 degrees each day, with yesterday being the warmest so far (around 80). I’m sure it will be a little strange tomorrow not being able to celebrate July 4th here, but I’ll try to log onto a web site and check out some of the firework shows back in the states. July 4: We beat Canada today so we move into the semifinals / medal rounds with the dream of possibly winning a gold medal still in front of us.  We started out a little slow, but picked up the pace near the end of the first quarter and wound up with a sizable lead at halftime.  We’ll now take on Hungary on July 5th. So we were scheduled to be on ESPNU Saturday at noon (EST), but with the Czech Republic team winning their quarterfinal game over Australia, they get priority on TV slots and time.  The Czech Republic requested the noon (EST) slot so they could be broadcasted at 6:00 Czech time, so that bumps us to 8:15 PM here (2:15 EST).  Apparently that has put us being shown live up in the air for Saturday, so if you are interested in watching us, maybe you’ll see us at 2:15 on ESPNU, or maybe you won’t. We had our own 4th of July celebration in the local park next to our hotel.  It was kind of funny seeing the folks walking and riding by looking at us cheering on one little sparkler or a couple of fireworks that shot about 40 feet in the air.  I posted a picture of that below as well as some pictures from the city of Pilsen. In the first quarterfinal game between Japan and Hungary, the Japan players would almost always bow towards the floor when being substituted out of the game.  I think that was a sign of respect to either the opponent or the referee or both. Not sure, but thought that was neat.  We had a DJ spinning tunes during breaks in the action. Once again, it was an example of seeing someone really enjoying what he was doing.  He was playing all kinds of songs and it actually kept everything going during timeouts.  We also had dancers come out during timeouts and halftime, with one guy being a break-dancer. A couple of things you may notice if you’ve been watching online is the number of no-calls there are on fouls and the amount of lane violations that aren’t called.  The reasoning for some of the no-calls is to continue the “flow of the game”, an international term for not wanting to stop the action.  We saw a very physical first half between Australia and Czech and the officials let a lot of fouls go. Girls were falling to the floor, being pushed and shoved out of the way and setting some seriously mean screens.  I know some of the girls I have coached back home would have loved this type of play.  It definitely takes a certain mentality to play through all of the contact effectively.  With the lane violations, again, it goes back to the flow of the game.  I really haven’t figured this one out yet, because players are going into the lane on a free throw really early, and very rarely is it called.  I’ve seen it called a violation once this entire trip and that was because the team shooting got its own rebound and put it back in.  If the offensive rebounding player had thrown the ball back out and set the offense up, I don’t think it would have been a violation. Lastly, the Czech Republic team has its’ own band in the crowd. There is a lady with a drum and four guys with different types of horns (trombones and trumpets) and their fight song is “The Yellow Submarine”.  The Czech crowd is by far the loudest and largest of all of the teams playing. Well, again, maybe you’ll get to see us play on Saturday on TV. If not, check out the site and see what you can do. I’ll update back here later and there are updates on the USA Basketball twitter account (@usabasketball) throughout the game. July 5: We defeated Hungary to move into the gold medal game vs. Spain which will be played July 6th at 2:15 your time on ESPNU.  I’m glad some of you had the opportunity to watch the semifinal game.  Hungary has some good players and we had our hands full in the first half.  We got things together at halftime and did a much better job in the second half, especially from the defensive side of things in transition. Spain will present our toughest challenge to date. They have some legitimate Division I college players on their team and we’re going to have to be at our best to win. July 6th marks the first day college coaches can come out and evaluate players, so believe it or not, there are going to be several here who are coming in just for the day. They’ll show up, and then head right back out to the next showcase or tournament somewhere back in the United States.  A couple of coaches are already at our hotel. Hope you can tune in and catch the game. July 5/6: We are World Champs!  Wow! What an exciting game and one that I am glad that we came out on top of.  I thought Spain would give us fits and they did much more than that.  If not for a lucky bounce or two, or a fortunate call near the end, it may have been a different outcome. However, things went our way and we will now leave the Czech Republic as U17 World Champions! It is 1:30 AM as I write this, as we are about to leave for the Prague Airport in 45 minutes.  We are scheduled to leave Prague at 6:00 AM to Frankfort, Germany, then head from there to Washington, DC, landing there around 3:00. I get to Greensboro around 6:00 PM if all goes well. So this is short and sweet, got to finish packing, thanks for following this Blog all of the way through, and I hope you really enjoyed this incredible journey. GO “USteAlers!!

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USA Basketball National Team Trials September 2014
        5095463Coach R:) visited the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Training Camp on Monday, September 8th held at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. The Women’s National Team originally had twenty-seven players scheduled to participate in camp but three: Tamkia Catchings, Candace Parker, and Monica Wright are not trying-out due to injuries. Seven others: DaWanna Bonner, Elena Delle Donne, Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles, Brittaney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Courtney Vandersloot are playing in the WNBA Playoffs. Click HERE for a press release on the training camp and the list of players that will be participating. Coach R:) took in the two hour practice, run by national team head coach Geno Auriemma.  The overall intensity and attention to detail was great, and though the players are some of the best in the world, they had to be reminded to make their layups and to look their coaches in the eye when they were being instructed. The energy and support level for each player was good, but the fact that each player was competing for a spot made things tense.  USA Basketball wants unselfish players who will the best together and to get a team of twelve from the twenty-plus players, all whom are very talented is going to be interesting to watch play out. I had the fortune to talk with a number of the players following the camp and took a couple of pictures with a few. I posted pictures from action during the camp and after. I’m looking forward to see how the team does in their first exhibition this week in Delaware. Another great USA Basketball experience. GO USteAlers!!!


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USA Basketball East Regional Skills Camp: October 23-25, 2015.
USA Basketball held their East Regional Skills Camp in Winston-Salem at the Gateway YWCA. 120 (+) participants attended the camp, some as far away as Dallas, Texas and Chicago, Illinois.  Coaches A.G. Hall (Winston-Salem State), Katie Pate (Lenoir-Rhyne), Abby Smith (Lynchburg), and Anne Crutchfield (Emory & Henry) along with Coach R:) and lead clinician Jill Rankin Schneider conducted the on-court sessions.