Bringing Home The Gold
Renee Marler | Renee@CedarbrookMedia.com
Prosper High School Lady Eagle basketball’s highly celebrated 5’11” Point Guard Jordyn Oliver can now add “Team USA Gold Medalist” to her already impressive profile.
Jordyn, who has committed to Baylor, was the only player from Texas chosen to play on the team for the United States in the FIBA Americas U16 Championship June 7-11 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“Having the local support of the entire town of Prosper and the surrounding community has been incredible,” says Jordyn. “And having the opportunity to be an ambassador of the US and to put Prosper on the Team USA map is really an honor.”
Jordyn, who was a finalist but ultimately not chosen to last year’s Team USA team, spoke to the committee after being cut so she would know how to improve and come back stronger this year.
“I worked this entire year to get to this point and I’m proud to say I’m going to Argentina to represent my country,” she tweeted on May 31, 2017.
The 12-member roster was selected from a pool of 133 athletes chosen to attend trials at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs last month. After four days of trials, the committee, led by Carol Callan, USA Basketball Women’s National Team Director, selected 18 finalists then two days later made the final cut.
In addition to Callan, the USA Basketball Women’s Developmental National Team Committee included: athlete representatives Tamika Catchings, a four-time Olympic and two-time World Championship gold medalist, and DeLisha Milton-Jones, a two-time Olympic and two-time World Championship gold medalist; AAU representative Kevin Lynch of the Philadelphia Belles; National Federation of High Schools representative Jill Rankin Schneider, a 1980 U.S. Olympian and head coach at Monterey High School in Texas; and at-large representatives Kirsten Moore, head coach at Westmont College, and Mia Smith, head coach at Illinois Wesleyan University.
In a press release announcing the team, USA head coach Carla Berube from Tufts University said, “We are thrilled about these 12 players that the committee has chosen, I think we bring a lot of athleticism, strength and a high-basketball IQ. We are going to put together a strong team that plays together, plays hard, plays smart and represents the United States the way it should be. And, hopefully make our country proud,” she continued.
Jordyn, along with 11 other teammates, did just that, bringing home a gold medal by defeating Canada in the final game, 91-46. What’s even more impressive is that the 45-point gold medal win was the closest game Team USA had in the entire series where Jordyn averaged 5 points per game.
“It was such a humbling experience being with the best of the best,” said Jordyn of her experience in Argentina. “I have never been that far down on the bench before but I just remembered what my previous coach Jett Terry told me, ‘No matter where you start or when you go out there, play your best game in the time you’re given’ and that really helped me stay focused.”
Team USA’s first wins included a 91-33 win over Columbia, a shocking 100-37 defeat of Mexico, and the 79-32 win over Puerto Rico which bolstered them into the semi-final game against host country, Argentina.
“It was so crazy during the Argentina game. There was a fight in the stands and it was just really intense,” said Jordyn. “It was really us against an entire country.”
Despite the events, Team USA soared past Argentina 98-42 and secured their spot in the final game to face a strong opponent in Canada.
With the win, Team USA earned a berth into the 2018 FIBA U17 World Cup, which is awarded to the top four finishing teams.
“Tamika (Catchings) told us during the trials that being on the podium and hearing the National Anthem was so moving, but we didn’t really understand it until we were up there as a team. She was absolutely right,” said Jordyn.
After the championship game, the girls were still high off their win and were told they could go anywhere for dinner to celebrate so in true gold medal fashion, they chose an American favorite. “We chose McDonalds across the street from the stadium,” said Jordyn laughing. “But as we were walking one of the girls just broke out into singing the national anthem and we all joined in, walking down the streets of Buenos Aires in our Team USA gear and gold medals. It was awesome.”
Jordyn started playing basketball at the age of 4, while living in Vallejo, California. She has come a long way and in her first two years of high school basketball has earned some of the area’s top awards such as 2017 SportsDay All-Area Team, 2017 District 14-5A Offensive Player of the Year, 2017 TABC Girls’ All State Class 5A, 2017 TABC Girls’ All Region Class 5A Region II, 2017 MVP Prosper Holiday Tournament, 2016 SportsDay Newcomer of the Year, 2016 District 10-5A Offensive Player of the Year, 2016 TABC Girls’ All State Class 5A, 2016 TABC Girls’ All Region Class 5A Region II, 2016 Class 5A Total Points Leader (544), 2016 MVP Prosper Holiday Tournament, 2016 MVP Royce City Tournament, and 2016 Frisco ISD All-Tournament Team.
Now that she is back home in Prosper, Jordyn says she is looking forward to her junior year at Prosper High School but is still keeping an eye on the goal of U17 Team USA in Europe next year.
Jordyn still works out six-days a week, taking only Friday off. She says on the days she is off she likes to hang out with her friends, swim and do pretty much anything except talk about basketball. “I really need that time away from all things basketball to keep energized,” said Jordyn.
Jordyn will be playing basketball at Baylor University after graduation, but is still undecided on a career path. Jordyn says she is encouraged when young athletes look up to her because even as successful as she has been, there was a time when she lacked confidence and had to overcome obstacles.
“Dream Big. That’s what I tell them,” she says. “There will always be competition and always someone watching, just be the best YOU you can be. Play your game.”