L.D. Bell girls basketball phenom Lexi Gordon is participating in select ball over the spring, but took a break from it to participate in tryouts for the USA national under-16 team in Colorado Springs, Colo., May 22-25.
Gordon, who just finished up her sophomore season, was one of 40 girls in the final cut for 12 spots. Unfortunately, she didn't make it, but gained a lot of new friends and a whole new experience.
“I honestly didn't want to go at first because I knew that I didn't get invited, but I talked to some coaches and my parents and they said it would be a good idea and good experience,” Gordon said.
In total, Gordon was one of 158 athletes that traveled to Colorado Springs, 18 from Texas – the most of any state.
“Although I wasn't invited, I was very excited that I would get to compete against some of the best girls in my class and more,” she said.
Gordon, who averaged over 22 points per game for the bi-district finalist Lady Raiders last season, would display her skills for four days, making it past numerous cuts until the very end.
She was nervous at first, knowing she would play with and against some of the top athletes around the country, but once she stepped onto the court, she played her game.
“You don't really get this chance, but after that first session, I was having a lot of fun,” Gordon said.
As for her teammates and coaches at Bell, they couldn't be more excited.
“This really hasn't happened to a Bell girls basketball player – they wished me luck and told me they were really proud of me,” Gordon said.
She gave it her all. Once that final cut was announced, Gordon's heart sunk, but she knew she had done her best.
“Those final 40 girls were brought on the court and they announced the 12 spots. I was disappointed, but I knew I left everything on the court and did everything I knew how to do,” Gordon said.
“I didn't cry while I was there – I just thanked the coaches and congratulated a couple of girls I was close with, but when I got outside, the tears started coming out.”
Gordon, who was named Star-Telegram Newcomer of the Year in 2014 and first-team Star-Telegram Super Team in 2015, found only the positives in the USA experience.
“I looked at the positives first and saw that I can play with anyone in my class,” she said. “Going into trials, I feel like I wasn't known, ranked or looked at as good, and I feel like I showed everyone that I can play and opened some eyes.”
Gordon plans to be back to try out for the under-17 team next year.
“I will show them that I belong on that team,” she said. “I just feel like this experience just makes me want to work harder and become stronger at my position.”
“Next year I hope to get invited and make the team – I hope to represent our country and play for them. It would be amazing, and if I come back next year, I'm making that team, I'll do everything in my power to do so.”
As she enters her upcoming fall season, Gordon plans to be the same player she was last year.
“I'm still Lexi Gordon, and people around here know I can play. I don't look at myself as above anyone else, I'll remain humble and a hard worker,” she said.