Rachel Hollivay is going to be busy again this spring and summer.
The New Hope High School sophomore, who already is recognized as one of the state”s top prep girls basketball players, has been invited by USA Basketball to participate in the 2010 Under-17 National Team Trials on June 8-11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“It means a lot,” Hollivay said. “I am looking forward to going back so I can work harder to make the team this time.”
Last year, Hollivay was one of more than 30 players invited to Colorado Springs for the Under-16 National Team Trials. Hollivay wasn”t one of the final 12 players selected for the team, which played in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for the 2009 FIBA Americas U-16 Championship, but she said she learned a lot from the experience. She feels her time last year against some of the nation”s top prep players will help her know what to expect and to be ready this time.
This year, two teams will be picked from the trials. One team of 12 players will represent the U.S. in the 2010 FUBA U-17 World Championship on July 16-25 in France. Another group of four players will be picked to play on the 2010 Youth Olympic Games team.
Hollivay, a 6-foot-5 center, helped lead the New Hope High girls team to its first district championship in 18 years. She will stay busy before the trip to Colorado Springs by playing with her Amateur Athletic Union team, Florida Essence, which is based out of Tallahassee, Fla.
Hollivay also is working out with a personal trainer so she can be in top shape to compete against the best players. She said she saw last year that many of the players she faced had their own trainers to get them ready.
“I just have to play up to my mentality and do what I need to do to help myself make the team,” Hollivay said. “My eye has been holding me back a little bit, but I have gotten better, and I can get better from now until the time I go back.”
Last November, Hollivay and passenger Sabrina Harris were fortunate to survive an automobile accident. The teenagers were able to walk away from the crash, but Hollivay didn”t realize glass from the windshield of her car had went into her left eye.
Several surgeries later, Hollivay is wearing glasses when she plays basketball to protect her eyes. She said her eyesight continues to improve and that she is eager for another opportunity to make the U.S. team.
Hollivay said she will work on her ballhandling, her shooting, her post moves, and her conditioning between now and June so she can earn a spot on the team.
“I am very motivated,” Hollivay said. “I know there are going to be a lot of good players there, like there was last year, but now that I see I am one of those good players I can work harder every time.”
Hollivay also has earned an opportunity to hone her skills May 1-2 at the Nike Skills Academy at the Suwanee Sports Academy in Atlanta.
Nike has been running the National Skills Academies for elite athletes nationwide for the past six years.
Adam Minichino is the former Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.