USA Basketball opens door to 162 stars

Eric Lars Bakke/ESPN

Nancy Mulkey is one of 12 players from the gold-medal-winning U16 team who is back for U17 trials.

Nancy Mulkey is the long of it, and Rekha Berry, Amira Collins, Kaela Hilaire, Autumn Powell and Caitlin Schlesener are the short of it.

All told, there will be 162 athletes heading to Colorado Springs next month to take part in the 2014 USA Basketball Women's U17 World Championship team trials.

Mulkey, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, will not only be the tallest player at the May 22-26 trials, she'll also be one of 20 from Texas, the state with the most representatives. Berry, Collins, Hilaire, Powell and Schlesener, at 5-4, will be the shortest players. Powell will be one of 52 players from the 2015 class, Berry, Hilaire and Schlesener are three of the 77 from 2016 and Collins is one of seven from 2018. The 2017 class will be sending 24 players and the 2019 and 2020 classes will be sending one apiece. Brianna Ellis, a 12-year-old 5-6 guard from Florida, will be the youngest attendee.

"The interest we have from this age group is a testament to the state of women's basketball in our country," said Carol Callan, committee chair and USA Basketball women's national team director. "Our goal for this weekend is that each player benefits from the time she spends with us."

Of the 162 athletes, 39 were invited by USA Basketball. Of those, 12 were on the team that won the gold medal last summer at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Mexico.

The U17 roster will be pared down to 12 players, who will represent Team USA at the 2014 USA Women's U17 World Championship in the Czech Republic June 28-July 6.

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