Two of the three Colorado high school girls’ basketball players left at the USA Basketball U17 World Cup trials are committed to Stanford, and Regis Jesuit forward Fran Belibi and Cherry Creek point guard Jana Van Gytenbeek wouldn’t mind adding a third.
Discovery Canyon senior-to-be Ashten Prechtel is the only uncommitted prospect out of Colorado left in the group of 45 athletes vying for a spot on the national team, but she’s getting closer to a college decision.
“I have chosen a top three,” Prechtel said. “It’s UCLA, Texas and Stanford.”
Ties to all three universities are easily found in the gym at the Olympic Training Center. Celeste Taylor, a Texas commit from New York, is competing alongside the Colorado trio, while UCLA coach Cori Close is an assistant with the U18 team that took the floor after the U17s wrapped up.
Van Gytenbeek is doing her part to get Prechtel to think about the Cardinal.
“Oh yeah, of course,” the Cherry Creek junior-to-be answered when asked if there’s been some recruiting. “Ashten’s a really good player, obviously me and Fran want her to come with us.”
Belibi had the moment of Sunday’s second session when she palmed the Molten ball off a dribble and elevated for a one-handed dunk that wouldn’t quite go down.
“Everyone wants to see it happen,” Belibi said. “I mean, I figured it’s the last day, everyone’s tired, might as well put on a show. So I tried it out. It didn’t quite go in, but it’s OK.”
Belibi, who became the first girl in Colorado to dunk in a game as a sophomore, had the necessary elevation but saw the ball clang off the rim. The miss did little to quell the excitement.
“It’s like a dream, but it’s real,” Van Gytenbeek said.
“That’s cool. It helps girls’ basketball. It brings everybody up, everybody gets super hype about it.”
With an athletic forward in Belibi and a pass-first point guard in Van Gytenbeek, the 6-foot-5 Prechtel could fit alongside her Centennial State peers at Stanford, if she chooses. Prechtel’s best moments Sunday evening came in the final 10-minute scrimmage when the Discovery Canyon product had eight of her team’s points on three post moves and a mid-range jumper.
“I’m super glad to be a part of it and play against all these other amazing players,” Prechtel said. “I just want to play my best and hopefully make it as far as I can.”
Prechtel’s staying on the training center campus and fielding questions from the other athletes on how to deal with the elevation this year after commuting during last year’s tryouts.
The group of 45 will reduced again Monday morning. Belibi made the team a year ago, while Prechtel and Van Gytenbeek are hoping to make the team for the first time.
“Being here is definitely a cool experience. If it doesn’t work out, then I’ll still be really happy with it overall,” Prechtel said.
“It’s definitely a really cool thing because like not many players get that opportunity. To know that I’m one of them, is really cool.”