Hailey Van Lith trying to make US Olympic 3×3 team; next college choice to come soon

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Hailey Van Lith is focused on making the USA Basketball 3×3 Olympic team this summer and not worried about where she’ll end up at college next year.

Van Lith is currently taking part in a training camp in Springfield, Massachusetts, and will play in a 3×3 tournament early next week at The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

The 22-year-old guard, who played at Louisville and LSU, has experienced success in 3×3 for the U.S. She won a gold medal on the U18 team in 2019 and helped win gold at the FIBA 3×3 World Cup last year. The Paris Games is the second Olympics offering 3×3, after the event debuted in Tokyo in the 2021 Games.

“What I remember most is that every game is so unique,” she said of 3×3 play. “The strategy from game to game is so different. You can’t specialize in one thing and make it as a player in 3 on 3. You have to be able to guard every position for at least a couple of seconds.”

Van Lith has a chance to make the Paris Games because two of the four members of the U.S. team must be in America’s top 10 for total points accumulated in FIBA rankings. Van Lith currently qualifies at fifth.

Playing in the training camp with so many WNBA players — Dearica Hamby, Allisha Gray and Rhyne Howard — has helped Van Lith improve her game.

“Playing against them and seeing how I’m able to score and not score shows me what I need to get better at,” Van Lith said. “It’s a little taste of the league early.”

As far as where she will play college basketball next year, she says she still hasn’t signed anywhere yet. Van Lith decided to play in college one more season instead of entering the WNBA draft.

“I did take a visit to TCU and am very interested in them, but I took visits to other schools and was very interested in them, too,” she told The Associated Press. “I haven’t made an official commitment, but I’m very close. The ink has not touched the paper for any school.”

Van Lith said she’s really stayed off social media for the most part since LSU lost to Iowa in the Elite Eight this month. She didn’t even know that Haley Cavinder had decided to not play at TCU and go back to Miami until Saturday afternoon.

She said Cavinder’s choice wouldn’t play a role in her decision.

“It’s a non-factor for me,” Van Lith said. “If she had stayed and I did go to TCU, I’d have loved to play with her.”

Van Lith averaged 11.6 points and 3.6 assists in her only season at LSU, joining the NCAA defending champions for the 2023-24 season. She has the option for another season because of the extra year granted by the NCAA to athletes whose freshmen season was affected by the pandemic.

She starred at Louisville her first three years, leading the Cardinals to the Final Four in 2022. Louisville lost in the Elite Eight last year before she decided to transfer to LSU. She was one of the biggest names in the portal last season and is again now.


AP women’s college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-womens-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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