High-Altitude Hoops Report

June 14, 2005

Hey Trojan Fans,

It's your girl Shay Murphy #14 writing to inform you guys about my experience at the Team USA tryouts, which were held in Colorado Springs at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in May. There were about 35 girls from different universities all competing to make the USA's 12-player World University Games team that is scheduled to play in Izmir, Turkey.

When I first arrived at LAX that Thursday morning, the woman at the ticket counter could not find my name in the computer, therefore I missed my scheduled flight to Colorado Springs and was then put on stand-by for the next available flight. I finally got a seat on the stand-by flight and flew to Denver, when things only got worse. From Denver everyone was supposed to take a 35 minute flight to Colorado Springs and arrive around 12:45 p.m. However, all the flights to Colorado Springs were delayed or cancelled, and the next flights were not scheduled until 7:30 that night, which was not good because the first session began at 5:30 p.m. This created a sense of worry and panic because I thought I was going to miss my opportunity to compete amongst the top college players in the world. But, during this crisis there was some light because I then met a girl by the name of Megan Gower, who plays for the prestigious Princeton University, who also was trying out for USA Basketball and missed the flights to Colorado Springs.

We then came to find out there were about eight other girls who missed the same flight, and we all were supposed to be sent a bus for the 10 of us so that we then could drive an hour and a half to Colorado Springs. But instead, we ended up having to squeeze into a six-passenger van with our luggage to take our very unnecessary road trip, in my opinion. Oh yeah, by the way, United Airlines lost my luggage due to all the changes dealing with flights. (Thought I would throw that in!)

Anyway, so after an hour and 45 minute drive in a six-passenger van, we finally arrived at the Olympic Center around 5:00. By that time I wasn't very thrilled because I hate to be rushed and the only thing on my mind was to check into the dorms and fall asleep. But come on, let's be realistic, it's USA Basketball -- we had to sign in, put on our practice gear and head to the gym floor where the first session of evaluations began.

As we ran into the gym -- jerseys untucked and everyone feeling a bit discombobulated and nervous at the same time -- we saw the 'COMMITTEE.' The 'COMMITTEE' was the group of people who determined who made the team or not. It consisted of Division I college coaches from all over the country. And let me say they did look a bit intimidating. Anyway, so we began with introductions -- you know, same old stuff, 'Blah, blah, blah' and some more 'Blah' (lol). Then we went right into stretching, footwork, shooting and ball handling drills.

My adrenaline began to flow because I looked in front of me there was North Caorlina's Ivory Latta. I looked to my left and there was LSU's Seimone Augustus. Looked to my right and it was Duke's Monique Currie. This was when everything kicked in and the thoughts began to flow and I was thinking to myself, 'HOLY MOLY, this is legit! I am really competing with players that I watched in the Final Four and that were for-sure a draft pick in the WNBA.' At this point I had two options: (A) I can be scared and intimidated by these big time players; or (B) I can say 'I'm just as good as them, they just don't know it yet,' and play my game because I don't have anything to lose.

Well, since I am a person who can see from both sides, I decided to do both options (hahahahahahaha)! The first few days of camp I was option-A, thinking 'I can't believe I'm here' during scrimmages. I was really passive, not looking to score, because I felt that there were other players on my team who were better at it. But the last couple of days of camp I began to get the hang of the drills and feel confident and I thought, 'Camp's almost over, I might as well play my game and get my shots up, too.' And that was when I started getting respect from coaches, committee members and even players, such as Liz Shimek from the last-minute upset Michigan State team and Lisa Willis from cross-town rival UCLA.

This change made me happy in a way and mad at the same time because I thought if I had done option B from the beginning like my friends, family and coaches told me to, there is not any doubt in my mind that I would have made the team. Anyway, the most important lesson that should be learned from this once-in-a-life-time experience is to never doubt yourself. You must believe in yourself and your abilities, because if you don't, who will?

Thank you guys for allowing me to share my experience with you, and lots of shouts out to all the people who supported us this year. We could not have had such a winning season without you. You are the ones who help the Women of Troy 'Bring It Back.' Make sure you guys keep your eyes and ears open for our new Galen Athletic Center.

Thanks a lot

Love always,

Shay-Bird 14

(Eshaya Murphy)

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