COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Channon Fluker is making the most of her time at the USA Basketball Under-23 training camp. The center from Cal State Northridge is the lone mid-major player in attendance.
“I was speechless when my coach told me I was invited,” Fluker said Wednesday. “It’s really been a great opportunity to play with the best players in college basketball.”
The 6-foot-4 center averaged 18 points and 12 rebounds as a sophomore. She was the first player in the past 25 years in the Big West Conference to lead the league in points, rebounds and blocks.
“She’s here because of her success and because of her potential,” USA Basketball national team director Carol Callan said. “She may not be at this level yet, but it certainly was enough to get her invited here.”
Fluker didn’t play travel basketball growing up and hadn’t really played against many of these players in college, but was really excited
“It’s really cool playing against them,” she said. “They are the best of the best so I’m learning a lot about my game.”
She’s already had to go up against South Carolina’s A’ja Wilson and UCLA’s Monique Billings, who are two of the top centers in college basketball.
“It’s definitely helped me playing against some really good bigs,” Fluker said. “I’m going to take a lot back with me to school.”
Here are a few other tidbits from training camp Wednesday:
SORE FOOT: UConn’s Katie Lou Samuelson sat out the games on Wednesday because of soreness in her left foot. Samuelson said that she’ll be fine and that “there’s no reason to get injured in August.”
Samuelson and her three UConn teammates will miss the medal games on Friday as they are headed back to campus to start practice and prepare for the Huskies’ upcoming trip to Italy.
LEARNING A LOT: Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu is one of three sophomores who are at the camp. She helped the Ducks reach the regional finals for the first time in school history last year as a freshman and is really enjoying the experience in Colorado.
“It’s been so fun,” she said. “We usually compete against one or two players per team but it’s something different to come out here and play against the top 35 best players in the country day in and day out in practice. I’m still young and learning. A lot of the older players have been through this some already and it’s nice to learn from the best.”
Ionescu also has enjoyed getting feedback from the coaches in camp.
“They all have something to say and tell you,” she said. “They haven’t seen you play, everything’s new to them.”
STOPPING BY: Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price dropped by practice briefly Wednesday saying hello to Geno Auriemma and Callan. He was doing a tour of the U.S. Olympic training center.
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