Cut last year at the U16 tryouts in Colorado Springs, Allen returned this year with a better idea of what the national coaches want in a point guard. Communication is at or near the top of the list.
“They want us to talk on offense and defense and feed the ball to the post and run the team,” said Allen, a Notre Dame commit and the only East Coast player on the 12- member national team. “I think [this year] I put more focus on talking and bringing the energy on the offensive and defensive end.”
After a training period in Colorado Springs beginning Aug. 1, the U17 team will play Brazil, Australia and Italy on Aug. 10-12 in Caorle, Italy. They will go on to compete in the world championships in Amsterdam on Aug. 17-26.
The 12 championship qualifiers are Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Italy, Japan, Mali, Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, Turkey and the U.S. team.
If Allen’s first game with the national team is any indication, she likely will play a major role in the international competition. In an 80-38 win over Brazil on May 31 in Orlando, she had five points, six rebounds, four assists, two steals and two turnovers in 21 minutes. Only two teammates played more.
“I was really pleased, actually,” Allen said. “It was my first USA game and I didn’t mess up or anything. I just went out there and had fun and shared the ball.”
In 2010 in the first U17 world championship, scheduled to be played every two years, the U.S. team won the gold medal, beating opponents by an average of 37.4 points.
The current U17 team is carrying three point guards — Allen, North Carolina commit Jessica Washington of Tulsa and Linnae Harper of Chicago. Another teammate, forward Taya Reimer, like Allen, has committed to two-time defending NCAA runner-up Notre Dame
Allen, who has helped St. John’s reach the past three Washington Catholic Athletic Conference finals, will be an ambassador of sorts representing her country. And by making the national team, she takes on an even greater such role for her school.
“For as much success and fabulous players who have come out of St. John’s, for a school to be able to boast one of the top 12 kids in the country in her age group, it’s really big for the team, for the school, for young kids looking at St. John’s,” Cadets Coach Jonathan Scribner said.
“What she really brings to the [national] team is a calm and stabilizing force at point guard. Not too many come and go in this world who get to wear ‘USA’ on their shirt. It’s pretty exciting.”
Allen, who is not playing AAU this summer because of her national team commitments, will have a new back court teammate with St. John’s this winter. Rising junior guard Chania Ray, the team’s third-leading scorer last season at 9.2 points per game and also an 82 percent foul shooter, has transferred to Riverdale Baptist.