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Courtesy: Torrey Vail

Kelly Graves Named Assistant On USA Basketball U18 Team

Courtesy: Gonzaga Athletics
          Release: 04/19/2012
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Gonzaga University women's basketball head coach Kelly Graves will be an assistant coach for the 2012 USA Basketball Women's U18 National Team.

The University of Miami head coach Kate Maier is the head coach with Graves and Nikki Caldwell of Louisiana State University acting as assistant coaches. The coaches were selected by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee.

"It's a great honor, no question about that," said Graves. "Just to be considered to help coach is an honor and then being on a staff like this, it's just incredible. It's something I'm really looking forward to. It's funny, Coach Meier and I had texted back and forth before the NCAA Tournament.  You know, 'Hey this is going to be great, this is going to be fun this year.' Then, lo and behold they [Miami] get sent to Spokane, so I got to meet her personally. I was so impressed. She is just terrific. So I really look forward to working with her, as well as Coach Caldwell. I really feel it's a privilege."

Graves and Maier coached against each other in the Second Round of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, while Graves and Caldwell faced each other in the Second Round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament, when Caldwell was the head coach at UCLA.

"I think this is a superstar staff. I think Nikki Caldwell and Kelly Graves make this an incredible staff," said Maier in the official USA Basketball release. "I have so much respect for them. It's definitely going to be a 'working together' deal. They bring so much to the table. Kelly and I just played against each other in the NCAAs, so we had a nice little chat about us working together while we were out in Spokane. They're just so bright. They're hard working. I think there's going to be so much creativity. There are three very different styles of basketball that are all going to merge together and I think it's going to be phenomenal. I think it's an amazing staff. I was stunned when I heard who the two assistants would be. They're just so fantastic."

The USA U18 National Team will compete in the 2012 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Aug. 15-19, in hopes of securing a berth in the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship for Women (dates and site TBD). The FIBA Americas U18 Championship will feature eight national teams from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean, with the top three finishing teams qualifying for the 2013 FIBA U19 Worlds.  Players eligible for this competition must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1994.

Trials to select the 12-member USA squad will be held May 18-21 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center (USOTC) in Colorado Springs, Colo. The team will regroup at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., for its first training camp from May 28-June 2. The USA will then return to the USOTC for its final training camp Aug. 3-14, prior to traveling to Puerto Rico for the competition.

"The committee is very enthusiastic about this coaching staff," said USA Junior National Team Committee chair Sue Donohoe, executive director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. "In Katie Meier, Nikki Caldwell and Kelly Graves, we have three very good coaches who have proven they have what it takes to represent USA Basketball. They are enthusiastic, smart, driven to succeed and know what it takes to win. They bring extensive experience and diverse perspectives to our team, which will allow them to take a group of 12 gifted basketball players and mold them into a single unit. We feel extremely confident that these three coaches will not only be able to continue the USA's five consecutive gold medal streak at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship, they'll do so in a manner that is representative of USA Basketball."

In addition to Donohoe, the USA Basketball Women's Junior National Team Committee includes NCAA appointees Joanne Boyle (University of Virginia), Coquese Washington (Penn State University) and Connie Yori (University of Nebraska). The athlete representative is current Virginia Commonwealth University head coach Beth Cunninham (1999 USA Pan American Games Team member).

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