Being apart of Team USA for an event is an experience that all athletes have on their bucket list.
The experience starts with a daunting task, as there is a rigorous tryout process. Hundreds of players come from across the U.S. to show they deserve to be a part of Team USA and chase a gold medal. While many enjoy watching the players compete in the event, few know exactly what it takes to be apart of Team U.S.A. Their exciting journey to greatness should not be hidden, but discussed and embraced!
TheDribbleDrop and NJHoopRecruit linked with Aliyah Boston to discuss her Team U.S.A. journey. Boston is a member an elite AAU program named iExcel. ESPN has Boston rated #7 ranked player in the class of 2019. - As told to Christian Mordi @thedribbledrop on Instagram and Twitter.
For the past two years, I have played AAU basketball for iExcel. The program is ran by Coach Walt. It takes a special player to be apart of the iExcel family. Playing for Coach Walt and being a part of iExcel has played a pivotal role in regards to my growth as a basketball player physically and mentally. I know that my time with the program prepared me for the Team USA tryout process.
On the first day, they split you up into two groups. Both groups are kept separate until they combine everyone for the final group of cuts. From the door, the intensity level was to the max. Everyone clearly came to play. The first day we didn’t make cuts, but it was clear that everyone was looking to carve out their own lane and prove to the coaches that they deserved to make the team.
During the first cut of 158 to 102, I was pretty calm. I knew the group was very heavy on the guard side and I didn’t feel like they would slash too many post players on the first one. The second cut of the day slashed the group from 102 to 70. You could feel the pressure on the court. The scrimmages got really intense. The coaches were very hands on and sharp. They had complete control of the gym and had everyone’s attention at all times.
The third cut was from 70 to 45. We knew that when we woke up in the morning that the group was getting cut to half. I tried not to let the moment get to me. I gave my all and I knew denying myself sleep wasn’t going to help myself the next day if I made the cut.
The fourth cut was from 45 to 18. We scrimmaged a lot that day. The coaches made the lineups very different in regards to players styles from position to position. They wanted to see how players would adjust in regards to having to guard someone quicker or bigger and stronger.
We had our final practice that afternoon, and at 5:30 they posted the final list. It was really nerve racking. Everyone is on edge and praying they see their number on the board. When I finally got to board, I looked and saw my number. I smiled so hard. It was a great moment for me.
I’m looking forward to playing with everyone. We head out to Colorado July 4th. Then we head to Washington D.C. on July 9th. From there we head to Latvia for a couple exhibition games before Belarus.
Til’ next time,