Diamond DeShields chronicles USA Basketball prep for FIBA World Cup

Sep 13, 2022, 9:01 PM
Phoenix Mercury guard Diamond DeShields (1) grabs a rebound against the Las Vegas Aces during the f...

Phoenix Mercury guard Diamond DeShields (1) grabs a rebound against the Las Vegas Aces during the first half in Game 1 of a WNBA basketball first-round playoff series Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

(AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) — I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to put on the USA jersey every day.

It’s been a long road back after thinking my career was over after having spinal surgery in January of 2020.

I thought my life was going to change drastically and I wouldn’t ever be able to play again. Yet here I am 2 years later, hoping to earn a spot on the U.S. World Cup roster.

Thinking back to my time in the hospital bed to be now being back at the peak of competition, I’m just so grateful to be playing basketball at this level again. I can’t really discredit God at this point, I’m just really humbled to be here.

It’s a dream as a basketball player to play for the USA. It’s the one team that everyone wants to play for at some point and everyone knows is one of the hardest to make. To have the opportunity right now is a dream come true.

This isn’t my first time playing for USA, having won a gold medal at the World University Games when I was in college. That probably was the longest flight I ever took, well until now when we head off to Sydney.

One thing you can always count with USA Basketball is that they take you all over the world. Up next might be outer space.

This is my first time going to the Outback. I think I’m looking forward to learning more about the place. Experiencing the continent and just trying to get myself back on track. Ever since the Phoenix Mercury season ended I’ve been running and ripping across multiple states.

We had a good training week in Las Vegas. It’s a really good group and everybody carries the same energy and intensity as far as winning goes. Practices are really competitive and there are a lot of new faces which is nice. There’s also a lot of youth.

I’ve gotten to spend some time with Rhyne Howard. She and I are very similar in a lot of ways. It’s been great to pick her brain a little bit and take in this whole experience with her. At some point soon, we’ll have to have a conversation about SEC basketball.

As a group, we’re still looking to build our team chemistry, but everyone’s bought in on the process and what the team will look like. We eat all our meals together and lift together. We’ve had some good recovery pool workouts too.

And now we’ll get a chance to bond for 15 hours on the flight to Australia. Catch you all soon.

Penguin Air

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Diamond DeShields chronicles USA Basketball prep for FIBA World Cup