TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) – Two members of Florida State Women’s Basketball’s high-powered 2016 signing class in guard Nicole Ekhomu (Bolingbrook, Ill.) and forward Jasmine Walker (Montgomery, Ala.) will compete for spots on this summer’s USA Basketball U18 National Team on May 28-30 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Ekhomu and Walker are cornerstones of Florida State’s fourth-rated 2016 recruiting class that also consists of talented guards A’Tyanna Gaulden (Ocilla, Ga.), Nausia Woolfolk (Fort Valley, Ga.) and Spanish forward Iho Lopez (Blanes, Spain). The signing class is the highest-ranked group in the ACC according to ESPNW.
Trials will be utilized to select the 12-member roster for the 2016 USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team. The USA will look to defend its 2014 U18 gold at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship July 13-17 in Valdivia, Chile. Athletes eligible for this team must be U.S. citizens who are 18 years old or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998).
Ekhomu and Walker are two of 27 athletes invited to the trials. Of the 17 players who have signed National Letters of Intent, only Florida State and Ohio State are the universities who will have multiple players in attendance.
Walker is a 6-foot-3 post from Jefferson Davis High School. She is ranked 25th overall in the 2016 signing class as well as fifth at her position. Walker was honored as Alabama’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2016 as well as Alabama’s Miss Basketball 2016, averaging 19.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game as a senior.
Among several other accolades for Walker in her senior season, she was a watch list member of the 2016 Naismith Girls High School Player of the Year.
Ekhomu is a 5-foot-9 guard from Joliet Catholic Academy who is ranked 21st overall and fourth among guards by ESPNW. She is a dedicated player who also participated in the trials for the 2013 U16 team and the 2014 U17 squad. She was an honorable mention performer on the Naismith Girls High School All-American Team and was a watch list candidate for the award.
The play-making guard, who was also a first team all-state player, had another outstanding season at her high school in 2015-16, averaging 22 points, 4.9 assists, 6.1 rebounds and 3.1 steals per game.
The 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Women will be played July 13-17 in Valdivia, Chile. Not only is a gold medal at stake, the top four finishing teams will earn a qualifying berth in the 2017 FIBA U19 World Championship.
The USA was placed in preliminary round Group A with Brazil, Guatemala and Venezuela. Group B features Canada, host Chile, Mexico and Puerto Rico.
USA women’s teams boast of a remarkable 48-2 overall record in U18/Junior Qualifiers and have won gold in 1988, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014, while capturing silver medals in 1992 and 1996.