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Westtown's Jordyn Palmer makes Team USA U-17 National team

06/05/2024, 12:15pm EDT
By Josh Verlin

Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)

One of the Philadelphia area’s top young talents is going global. 

Jordyn Palmer, the Westtown School’s sensational freshman and 2024 PA Gatorade Player of the Year, was one of 12 players picked to comprise the 2024 USA Basketball Women’s U-17 National team after a four-day tryout in Colorado Springs earlier this month.

She’ll make her international debut on July 13 as Team USA competes in the FIBA U-17 World Cup, aiming to defend the country’s championship win two years ago.

“Definitely blessed to have this opportunity,” Palmer told CoBL during a Tuesday afternoon phone call. “Never thought, a couple years ago, couple months ago, that I’d be playing for my country with my name on my back. Last name on my back, country on my front, I’m just blessed, happy, excited.”

Jordyn Palmer (above) was selected for the Team USA U-17 National Team. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

A 6-foot-1 wing/forward, Palmer had her first taste of USA Basketball last year as an eighth grader, trying out for the USA Women’s U16 National squad. The Westtown standout, who plays her summer ball with Philly Rise, got to the final cut, but didn’t make the team. 

She was invited back this spring for a minicamp in Portland and then to the U-17 tryouts last week in Colorado Springs. A year older from her first attempt — though still two years below the age limit — Palmer emerged as a force to be reckoned with, staking her claim as the best in her class and her country as she earned a spot on the national team for the first time.

She’s one of three Class of 2027 prospects on the squad, and one of four players who are 15 years old, including Jerzy Robinson, the No. 1 ranked player in the 2026 class according to ESPN.

“My first experience, I was a little nervous, especially because it was my first year, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” Palmer said. “I was really just feeling it out [...] this year I was more confident in knowing what I had to do.”

“Jordyn’s growth as a player and leader the last year has been impressive to watch,” Philly Rise director Kevin Lynch said by text.“She knew exactly what she needed to work on from last year, she identified her weaknesses, [and] attacked them with determination. We are so proud of her for all her accomplishments, especially one as prominent as making a USA National team as one of its youngest team members. She’s a special talent!”

Palmer drew rave reviews from the coaches and scouts in attendance for her versatility at the ‘3’ and ‘4’ spots, her rebounding and scoring versatility two traits that continued to pop up in reports from the training camp.

Ursinus head coach Bobbi Morgan, one of the team’s assistant coaches, was there for both of Palmer’s tryouts. She said a “sense of urgency” was present in Palmer’s efforts at the tryout, something she didn’t quite have a year ago.

“I think she just was much more assertive on both ends of the floor, just playing more aggressively,” Morgan added. “She had some really great moments last year, but she had many more this year that was much more consistent.”

Palmer wasn’t the only local prospect involved in the tryout. Penn Charter’s Ryan Carter, another top 2027, was invited, along with Ursuline Academy (Del.)’s Jezelle ‘G.G.’ Banks. Of course, she was most excited about her Westtown classmate and Rise teammate, Jessie Moses, who got her first USA Basketball call-up for the tryout.

Even though Moses and Carter were among the first 20 players cut and Banks left off the final team, all of them made positive impressions upon the coaching staff, and they’ll all have more chances to make a national team before they’re done with high school.

“Jessie did great,” Morgan said. “There were a ton of guards, it was her first year at the trials, but she had a great trial. That kid should walk away feeling really good, too, because she really impressed a lot of people. Everybody was talking about her.”

The 2024 FIBA U-17 Women’s Basketball World Cup takes place from July 13-21 in Mexico, with games in both Irapuato and Leon. The 16 teams, which hail from all over the globe, have been split into four groups; Team USA will play Australia (July 13), Puerto Rico (July 14) and Croatia (July 16) in Group C, though all 16 teams advance to bracket play on July 17.

Regardless of finish, all 16 teams will play seven games during the tournament, giving Palmer plenty of international experience as she builds towards her sophomore season. 

“Playing basketball for my country, that’s probably my favorite thing about this, but I think it’s going to be fun leaving the country for the first time,” she said, “especially [going to] Mexico, a beautiful country.”

Westtown is the defending Friends’ Schools League and PAISAA state champions, and will be the overwhelming favorite to repeat as both. For Palmer, whose future in the sport looked bright a couple years ago and has only continued to grow, it’s all just taking further steps in her progression, using every opportunity to continue to refine her game. 

That she’ll play high-major basketball is a sure thing; just what her ceiling is still remains to be determined.

“Right now (I’m working on) definitely my shooting and my dribbling,” she said. “I feel like I can shoot the ball well, but I want to be a lot more confident in my shot.”

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