It's the second time Plum, who underwent knee surgery in April, will represent USA Basketball in international competition. She was a member of the 2013 gold-medal winning U19 World Championships team.
Washington sophomore Kelsey Plum was named to USA Basketball’s Pan American Games team on Sunday. The 5-foot-8 guard was one of 51 players invited to a tryout last week in Colorado.
The group was evaluated for two separate teams, the 2015 World University Games also competing this summer. That tournament will be held in South Korea.
The 2015 Pan American Games are July 16-20 in Toronto. The Americans will open training camp July 3 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
“This is absolutely amazing,” said Plum via phone on Sunday. “Getting invited is actually kind of crazy because I’m pretty fresh out of knee surgery. So, to get invited is one thing and being able to make the team with some of the most incredible people in the country is pretty awesome.”
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Plum underwent right knee surgery April 6. She suffered the injury in December but was told by doctors she could continue to play, averaging a Pac-12-leading 22.6 points per game. UW finished the season at 23-10 overall, losing to Miami in the opening round of the NCAA tournament.
After surgery, Plum was medically cleared to play on Tuesday. The USA Basketball team trials began Thursday.
“Originally they gave me a date to be cleared that was past the trials’ date,” said Plum of her rehabilitation with UW doctors that at times was three times daily. “I did everything I could to be in shape and be ready to go when I got cleared. And man, it just shows the great doctors we have at UW and the trainers that support me. There’s no way I’d be able to make this team without them.”
Plum said in addition to the physicians challenging her, tryout for the USA Basketball teams was a motivator. She was invited to camp a week after her knee surgery.
“I was really hurt by it (the invite) because at first, I was like, ‘There’s no way that I can get back in time,’” Plum said. “I decided to go for it. I felt like if I didn’t, I would regret it later. I really put my whole heart into this process and I’m just really grateful for being able to come out making the team.
“I’m not 100 percent in terms of my explosiveness and athletically. But I was in shape and I shot it OK. I’ve still got to rehab when I get back, it’s not like it’s over. But I wasn’t in pain.”
This is the second time Plum, a two-time All-Pac-12 player, will represent USA Basketball in international competition. She was a deep reserve on the gold-medal winning U19 World Championships team in 2013.
Plum scored a combined 45 points during the tournament in Lithuania, the Americans sweeping the competition with a 9-0 record.
She’ll return to the international stage with some of the same teammates, including University of Connecticut star Breanna Stewart, a two-time NCAA national player of the year.
First-timer, forward Sophie Brunner of Arizona State, was also named to the 12-player Pan American team with Plum. They are two of six Pac-12 players overall to make one of the rosters.
Conference players Courtney Range (California), Sydney Wiese (Oregon State), Jordin Canada (UCLA) and Erica McCall (Stanford) made the World University Games team.
Led by former Colorado coach Ceal Barry, 11 collegians and one high school player (Stewart) finished the 2011 Pan American Games in seventh place with a 2-2 record. Former Gonzaga stars Kayla Standish and Katelan Redmon were on the squad that competed in Guadalajara, Mexico.
The Pan American Games started in 1955 for women and is a multi-sport competition open to both genders representing countries from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean. It is held every four years in the year preceding the Olympics and organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO).
The American women have compiled a 87-15 overall record, winning eight gold, three silver and two bronze medals.
“I’ll give myself a couple of days rest,” said Plum of her plan before USA Basketball training camp opens. Her last final at UW is June 3. “Camp is pretty intense and the altitude here (Colorado) is not a joke. You have to come in in great shape and be ready to play to win a gold medal.”