Caldwell assistant coach for USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team

Bill Martin
LSU head coach Nikki Caldwell. Photo by

For the second straight year, LSU women's basketball head coach Nikki Caldwell represented the United States as an assistant coach on the international level as trials for the 2013 USA Basketball U19 World Championship Team began last week at the U.S. Olympic Training Center.

Caldwell reunited with head coach Katie Meyer of Miami and Gonzaga's Kelly Graves. The three of them led the Americans to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship last summer. All three were elected by the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee and approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors.

"When the committee invited me back, I was just extremely honored," said Caldwell, who led LSU to the Sweet 16 this season. "Being able to work with these great athletes and coaches is exciting. Again, it's about representing your country. It also gives me a chance to continue scouting against opponents and improving development skills. We will see some of the best talent in the country at the trials."

The three-day team trials in Colorado Springs, Colo., gave Caldwell, Meyer and Graves a chance to select a 12-member team that they will take to Lithuania for the 2013 FIBA U19 World Championship, July 18-28. A majority of the trial invitees were from the U18 gold medal team last year.

The 12-member team will regroup for training on July 1 at the USOTC prior to traveling to Lithuania for the competition. The USA U19 team will be going for a fifth straight gold medal in the event.

Caldwell is the first LSU head coach to serve on a USA Basketball U19 World Championship staff. In two seasons with the Lady Tigers, she has compiled a 45-23 record and led the team to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths. In 2012, LSU reached the NCAA second round and the Southeastern Conference Tournament championship game. A year later, the Lady Tigers improved that mark by reaching their first Sweet 16 since 2008.