The 2013 American Family Insurance ALL-USA high school girls basketball team was chosen by USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Halley in consultation with high school coaches and recruiting analysts Mike Flynn of Blue Star Basketball and Dan Olsen of Collegiate Girls Basketball Report. All selections are seniors and have signed with their selected colleges.
AMERICAN FAMILY INSURANCE ALL-USA PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Diamond DeShields | G-F | Norcross, Ga. | 6-2 | North Carolina
The facts: The all-time leading scorer at Norcross helped lead her team to three state titles, including this season. Averaged 26 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 3.8 assists. Was the MVP of the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship. Daughter of former major league baseball player Delino DeShields.
Game strength: The ability to pick up new skills in a very short period of time. I’ll watch video and be able to pick up a move. I’m absorbent with everything. That helps when I’m trying to learn a new dance, too.
Working on: Playing hard every possession on defense. That’s what it takes to be great.
Underrated virtue: Humility. A lot of people have the talent and ability but they lack that one quality, humility, that sets them apart from the rest.
My game in song: Who Gon Stop Me? by Jay-Z and Kanye West. I just feel when I’m out there on the court, it’s mine. It’s not an arrogant thing. I know there are a lot of things I need to work on.
Embarrassing: Before I really learned to shoot free throws, I couldn’t shoot it straight, so I would go to the far right side of the line and for two years, I shot that way.
Recent read: The Hunger Games trilogy (by Suzanne Collins).
Favorite teacher: Audrey Herron, who teaches British literature at Norcross. She helps me out and understands my schedule.
Toughest opponent: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (now at Connecticut). She comes off a ton of screens and she’s extremely strong, powerful and quick. For her size, you wouldn’t expect her to be that quick. Plus she’s a pure shooter, so if you leave her open, she won’t miss.
Little-known fact: I’m pretty bad in Ruzzle (an online word game). I have a good vocabulary, but when it comes to finding the words quickly, it’s more difficult. I play with people from all over who enjoy beating me.
MEET THE REST OF THE FIRST TEAM
Rebecca Greenwell | G | Owensboro (Ky.) Catholic | 6-1 | Duke
The facts: Averaged 23.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 steals, despite playing with a torn anterior cruciate ligament and lateral and medial meniscus tears in her right knee. Set a national record with 17 three-pointers Jan. 14 in a 99-35 playoff defeat of Trinity (Whitesville, Ky.). Averaged 11.9 points and 7.3 rebounds for the USA as it won the 2012 FIBA U17 World Championship. Her sister, Rachel Greenwell, was a senior guard at Bellarmine University in Louisville this season.
Favorite meal: Fried pork tenderloin. My mom makes it. It’s awesome.
Underrated virtue: Humbleness. I don’t like it when players who are really good come off like they’re better than everybody else. People respect you more if you’re humble and don’t brag about everything. I look up to players like that. I think that’s a good quality to have.
Listening to: I like country and I also like hip-hop. It depends on what type of mood I’m in.
Embarrassing: One time, in the state championship in AAU, I chugged three Gatorades in a row, went back in the game and threw up around the court. It was horrible.
Game strength: My shooting. I can be a three-point threat, and I can hit mid-range shots.
Working on: My defense. I need to become quicker at the next level.
Favorite teacher: Ms. Bretnea Turner, my world civilization teacher. It wasn’t my favorite subject, but she makes it really fun and incorporates games into the learning.
Assist from sis: We always had a sister rivalry. Rachel was a junior when I was in seventh grade. We got to play one year of high school together. She really helped me. It was nice to have someone to look up to. I was starting as a seventh grader, and there were a few players on the team who weren’t happy with that and she helped me deal with that.
Linnae Harper | G | Whitney Young, Chicago | 5-6 | Kentucky
The facts: Averaged 19 points, 8.9 rebounds and 5.7 assists. Led team to four city titles and two state 4A titles.
Favorite meal: I just love food, period, but pot roast is my favorite.
Underrated virtue: Being humble and staying focused is very underrated. A lot of players who have talent come off being cocky.
My game in song: I’m Different by 2Chainz.
Embarrassing: I was playing AAU ball and it was a tough game. I went down and scored. I was so hyped about the fact we were doing good. I was backpedaling and did a roll and almost broke my neck. Everybody was laughing.
Recent read: The Stranger by Albert Camus.
Game strength: Probably my toughness. I like to be really physical. I like being competitive.
Working on: My defense. I could work more on my footwork and help-side defense.
Best opponent: I used to scrimmage with Amanda Thompson (who was an all-Big 12 forward at Oklahoma.).
Favorite teacher: Senorita (Stacey) Weiser for Spanish. She interacts with us. It’s not just about the work. She cracks jokes and tells a story. It makes we want to pay attention in class.
People don’t know that I: Am actually right-handed, but I don't even shoot with my right hand.
Taya Reimer | F | Hamilton Southeastern | Fishers, Ind. | 6-2 | Notre Dame
The facts: Averaged 20.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.1 assists while shooting 57% from the floor. Daughter of former NBA player Ben Davis.
Game strength: Versatility, being able to do a lot of different things on the floor.
Working on: I have to get better at everything, develop consistency in my outside game and get stronger.
MORE: Reimer talks music
Underrated virtue: Being polite is something I try to take pride in, saying you’re welcome and holding the door for people.
Embarrassing: I was in eighth grade and my school team went to camp over the summer. On one possession, I got a steal and went in for a breakaway layup but I tripped, fell and broke my wrist.
Favorite meal: I really love mac and cheese.
Learning from dad: I remember going to a few of his games in the NBA, but I was so young, I don’t remember much. He talks to me about getting ready for college and talks to me about what goes into being a collegiate athlete. He works with me on moves and helps me with my game.
Recent read: The Twilight series (by Stephanie Meyer). I’ve read them a few times.
Best basketball advice: Nobody can limit what I get out of basketball as long as I do the work.
Favorite teacher: Mr. (Gregory) Gastineau for advanced placement government. He made class really fun, and he’s really supportive of the girls basketball team.
Tough assignment: Either Breanna Stewart or Diamond DeShields. They both have crazy skill sets.
Tats all, folks: My mom has given me a limit on tattoos. I have two and her limit is three. I’ve talked to her about getting a shamrock (for Notre Dame).
Mercedes Russell | C | Springfield, Ore. | 6-6 | Tennessee
The facts: Averaged 25.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.5 blocked shots, 3.9 assists and 2.0 steals, leading team to state title game. Three-time state player of the year had 2,273 points, 1,642 rebounds and 562 blocked shots in her career at Springfield and won two gold medals with USA Basketball.
Listening to: Power Trip by J. Cole.
Game strength: My face-up rip move.
Working on: I have to get stronger.
Best basketball advice: Just keep working hard, no matter what.
Favorite postgame meal: Chicken burritos at Chipotle.
On the shelf: I am looking forward to reading the Pat Summitt book (Sum It Up by Summitt and Sally Jenkins).
Favorite teacher: Miss (Terrisa) Cook for health. She always supports me and tells me how proud she is of me.
Tough opponent: Kia Nurse from Canada.
People don’t know: I am in love with Dwight Howard.
Photos: Joshua Lindsey (Greenwell), Guy Rhodes (Harper), Brian Spurlock (Reimer and Russell). For a full photo gallery of first team players, click here. To view the second and third teams, click here.