Freshman sensation Kourtney Weber made a splash in her first varsity season at Ursuline, and it appears the rest of the nation has taken notice.
Weber, a 5-foot-11, 160-pound combo guard-forward, has earned an invitation the USA Basketball U16 National Team tryouts from May 21-25 at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The 15-year-old Weber received the news earlier this week via an email while in Spanish class, and a very stunned freshman was very quick to get lost in the moment.
“It was crazy. I just couldn’t believe it at first. It was so cool,” Weber said Thursday. “It’s kind of like a dream come true … if I make it.”
Of course the invitation to try out doesn’t guarantee Weber a spot on the team, she acknowledged, but she remains devoted to doing everything in her power to turn heads next month in Colorado.
Even prior to receiving the invite, Weber was working out five days a week with her AAU club, Elevate New Orleans. That regimen will remain the same until tryouts take place.
Weber led the Lions in scoring with 19.0 points per game, in addition to 8.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists. She was named an All District 9-4A selection by both NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and by the district’s coaches.
Accomplishing so much at such a young age, Ursuline coach Andrea Williams said, is truly remarkable. In her four years at the Uptown school, she has never encountered such an impact freshman like Weber.
“She’s a special kid just being a ninth grader, and it’s just such an accolade for her at such a young age to be invited to try out,” Williams said. “I’m very proud of Kourtney. It just goes to show you how high her ceiling already is and how much better she can get with four more years left of school.”
Ursuline finished 14-14 in 2014-15 en route to a No. 26 seed in the Class 4A state basketball playoffs and eventually a first-round exit. The Lions finished 6-4 in league play, with the lone losses coming against state semifinalist Cabrini and eventual state champion Warren Easton.
Weber held her own again the veteran-laden district foes, including double-digit scoring efforts against Cabrini and a double-double against Easton before fouling out in a highly competitive showdown.
Weber was thrust into being a prominent figure both on and off the court, and realized she had to take on a grander role right away because of the senior talent lost from the previous year. She’s hoping her success against some of New Orleans’ and really Louisiana’s top girls basketball squads will pay dividends as she competes against other invitees for a spot on the U16 team.
“I have a lot of confidence going into the tryouts,” the guard-forward said. “Being able to still play like a guard at my height continues to give me an edge. I have a lot of confidence going into tryouts.”
“To be 15 and make the U16 team, it would be great,” she added, “but if I don’t make it this year, I just want to be able to make it back (to tryouts) next year and make sure they keep an eye on me.”
While the freshman remains humble, her coach offered no shortage of optimism.
Williams raved about Weber’s ability to play at both guard and forward, and believes enduring success in a fiercely competitive District 9-4A will give her an edge come tryouts.
After all, it’s not too common that a freshman can rebound and play in the post, as well as shoot from beyond the arc and handle the ball, her coach said, adding that the intangibles — her work ethic and her upbeat attitude — can be the difference between simply trying out and making the national team.
“The people I’ve seen that have tried out and made the team are expected to be very explosive, play defense, knock down open shots, make free throws, be aggressive and have a positive attitude. I think her work ethic, for her age, is something most juniors and seniors have.
“For someone to work like that now and continue to be positive and ready to learn, she could be on that team. She can make the team, or show what she can do to get invited again next year. As long as she goes into tryouts with that attitude, she’s going to put herself in a good position.”