Waiting on Monday morning to hear the final roster for the United State under-16 women’s national team, C.H. Flowers sophomore De’Janae Boykin thought back on four days’ worth of tryouts and wondered if she’d done enough.
With 124 players competing at the trials for 12 spots, Boykin expected to need a near-perfect showing at the U.S. Olympic Training Center to make the squad headed to next month’s FIBA Americas Championship in Cancun, Mexico. In those final moments before the announcement, she replayed the mistakes in her mind.
Boykin’s self-evaluation may have fallen short of her own lofty standard, but the 6-foot-2 forward with an impressive wingspan and a smooth jump shot survived the final cut anyway. She will head to Cancun for the tournament along with Annapolis Area Christian sophomore Taylor Murray. The 5-foot-6 point guard and Sabrina Ionescu of California were the only players to make the team despite not being among the top 32 prospects who received all-expense-paid invitations to the event.
“I don’t think I rebounded my best,” Boykin said. “I don’t really think I defended well enough every time. I didn’t score as much as I know I can, but those are some of my strengths and I think they recognized that. … I came out and did what I had to do.”
Boykin, 16, worked at power forward during the tryouts, surviving two rounds of cuts before sweating out the final selections Monday from a remaining pool of 43 players. She was happy that Murray, a former AAU teammate with the Fairfax Stars, made the list, too.
Rated the nation’s No. 4 overall prospect in her class by espnW, Boykin provides matchup problems in the front court with a perimeter game to match her prowess around the rim. After splitting her freshman year between St. John’s and Riverdale Baptist, she averaged 15.7 points per game for the Jaguars in the winter.
Once the national squad was announced on Monday, the surviving players spent the rest of the morning playing shooting games and walking through the offense before posing for pictures in their USA jerseys. Boykin soon headed for the airport and arrived back in the area with her father, Jeff, around 9 p.m.
The players will return to Colorado Springs, Colo., for training camp on June 10 before leaving for Cancun.
Boykin, a member of the Hampton-based Boo Williams AAU program, said her summer schedule wasn’t supposed to heat up until the July evaluation periods. Now she’ll use her first international competition to get ready.
“I can learn a lot from the great coaches and players around me,” Boykin said. “I want to go in with an open mind and hopefully learn some new things to help my game.”
Of course, team success is important, too. The United States has won the biannual tournament both times since it was first played in 2009, winning the two championship games by a combined 84 points.
“We just want to keep the legacy going,” Boykin later added. “They won it twice so we’ll go and win the third gold medal.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 22
The number of games in the top-ranked Madison baseball team’s winning streak, which was snapped on Monday afternoon by No. 3 Lake Braddock, 9-6, in a Virginia AAA Northern Region quarterfinal. The Bruins need to beat Marshall on Wednesday to get to the state tournament, while the loss ended the Warhawks’ season.
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After coming up short in the state final last spring, the Huskies are unbeaten in 20 games with designs on another deep playoff run behind Dulles District Player of the Year Angel Ceron-Garcia. The Panthers have already hung with Tuscarora twice this season, falling, 1-0, in both regular season matchups. The winner moves within one victory of a state tournament appearance.