McCray Excited For USA Basketball Trials

May 12, 2009


By Emily Franzenberg, Kansas Media Relations Student Assistant

As if being named Honorable Mention All-America by the Associated Press, State Farm Honorable Mention All-America and First Team All-Big 12 weren’t enough, Kansas women’s basketball guard-forward Danielle McCray can add another accolade to her growing list. McCray, a rising senior from Olathe, Kan., has been invited to the 2009 USA Women’s World University Games National Team Trials May 14-17 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

“It’s very important to represent Kansas well because it can help with the recruiting process,” said McCray, who posted 20 or more points in 24 games as a junior. “For me as an individual, it’s also a big honor to possibly be able to represent our country. When I was smaller I was watching those games on television and hearing about it and now I’m trying out for it.”

Although honored, McCray admits to some nerves when it comes to attending the trials.

“It goes back to those high school days when you’re nervous for tryouts and about making the team,” said McCray, who is ninth on the KU all-time scoring chart entering her final season as a Jayhawk. “Obviously it’s at a different level now, but I’m getting those same feelings. Once I lace up my shoes and start playing I’ll be fine.”

McCray has been putting in extra time, however, to prepare herself for four days of scrimmaging, position work and drills with some of the premier women’s basketball players in the country.

“It makes you do extra things – I’ve been in the gym two or three times a day, just making sure I’m ready for it,” said McCray, who attended Olathe East High School prior to joining the KU program. “I’ve been playing and keeping myself in shape doing things that I wouldn’t normally do. Saturday night I was in the gym from about eight o’clock to 11 o’clock and I’ve been going to the recreation center almost every day to play with the guys there.”

After averaging 21.6 points per game – good for eighth in the NCAA and second in the Big 12 Conference in scoring – McCray is looking to improve on her skills and show that she belongs in such high company.

“When I got the invite it was a great feeling and a great honor,” said McCray, who also ranked in the top 10 in the Big 12 in 10 different statistical categories. “I look at the list and there are a lot of great players to compete against. I will see how much I need to improve and where I stand with all those other athletes.”

With the extra workouts and preparation also comes advice from those around her.

“Every person I’ve talked to has told me to just play, relax and to do what I’d been doing all season,” said McCray. “I need to do what I’m capable of doing and not try to do too much.”

McCray is taking that advice to heart and looking at the opportunity as a learning experience. She said that although she hopes to end up “on the right end of things,” she’ll try to stay positive regardless of the outcome.

“It’s a cool thing to know where you stand, but you can always improve,” said McCray. “There aren’t a lot of players who even get to try out, so whatever the outcome it will be a great experience for me.”