LEXINGTON, Ky. – University of Kentucky women’s basketball signee Rhyne Howard has accepted an invitation to participate in the 2018 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team Trials. The trails will run May 26-28 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The 12-member 2018 USA Women’s U18 National Team is expected to be announced on May 28, and athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 2000). The team members will return to Colorado Springs for training camp (dates to be determined), before the team departs for the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Howard is coming off an amazing high school career at Bradley Central High School in Cleveland, Tenn. She was recently named the Tennessee Gatorade Player of the Year, which recognizes the nation’s most outstanding high school student-athletes for their athletic excellence, academic achievement and exemplary character. The honor joined a lengthy list of accolades this season for Howard. On top of her Tennessee Miss Basketball honor, she was tabbed one of 24 players to the 2018 Jordan Brand Classic game, where she scored 13 points to lead the White team. Earlier this year, she was named a McDonald’s All-America Game nominee and was on the Naismith Trophy Preseason and Midseason Watch Lists.
Howard paced Bradley Central to over 30 wins this season, including an appearance in the Class AAA State Tournament. The Bears won one game at the state tournament with Howard scoring 12 points with 12 rebounds adding five assists. Howard was brilliant in leading the Bears to the state tournament, scoring 41 points on 16-of-25 shooting in the District 5-AAA championship before scoring 32 points on 14-of-17 shooting with six steals, five assists, four rebounds and two blocks in the Region 1-AAA quarterfinal. She helped the Bears clinch the sectional championship with 27 points and 15 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season.
Ranked as the eighth best player overall in the 2018 class according to All-Star Girls Report, Howard had a great senior season. The athletic combo guard averaged 22.2 points per game, 7.7 rebounds per game, 5.3 steals per game and 4.1 assists per game. She shot 54 percent from the field this season and scored 758 points. The native of Cleveland, Tenn., averaged 19.6 points per game, 7.2 rebounds per game, 4.6 steals per game, 3.8 assists per game and 1.2 blocks per game as a junior. She scored 647 points that year for the Bears, hitting 55 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3. For her efforts, she was named the 2017 TSSAA Class AAA Miss Basketball runner up, was a unanimous District 5 AAA Player of the Year and a Tennessee Sports Writer’s Association All-State honoree.
The 2018 USA Women’s U18 National Team will be led by Jeff Walz of the University of Louisville, with Natasha Adair of the University of Delaware and Cori Close of UCLA serving as the USA’s assistant coaches. The trio will guide the USA at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship, for which the dates and location are still to be announced. The top four finishing teams at the championship will earn a qualifying berth into next summer’s 2019 FIBA U19 World Cup.