Thursday, January 28, 2016

Anna's Bellevue powerhouse girls basketball team relies on seniors, BENERGY

Chris Egan,, January 27, 2016

The Bellevue High School girls basketball team is ranked No. 1 in the state.
With five seniors leading the way, the Wolverines are 17-0.
"It's so funny when they are reading the starting line-ups it's 'senior, senior, senior, senior, senior,' which is fun, but it's a really strong group,”
And these girls are beating their opponents by an average of 39 points per game.
"I've never experienced a team like this before, this group is amazing and so much fun to play with,” 
"We are all leaders, we all know what it takes to get to state and be one of the best teams,"
The girls have grown close on and off the court this year, which they say has helped them play even better.
"The most successful part of this team is just being really close with each other outside of basketball, knowing each other as people,” said Anna Wilson.
Wilson, who'll play for Stanford next season, transferred to Bellevue for her senior year to be closer to big brother Russell Wilson, the Seahawks quarterback.
She said it didn't take long to gel with the other four seniors.
"They made me feel like I was part of a family, that's hard to come by, because there is not a lot of people that can take you in and make you feel like you've been here the whole time, the senior leadership is pretty awesome,” Wilson said.
“It's honestly my favorite high school memory so far," she said. "This team is so close, everyone gets along well, there is no drama -- it's just a great team to be a part of."
So the Wolverines have chemistry, no drama, work ethic, and five seniors, but they also have one more secret to their success, which they call BENERGY.
“BENERGY means bench energy and that means the energy we’re giving from the bench to the court,” 
"We don't play as much as the seniors, but we wanted to step up and be a solid part of the team, so we just decided that were just going to bring it from the bench, “ 
But this bench takes it a step further. Just like the Monmouth University men’s basketball team, the Wolverines like to celebrate big baskets.
On one night they created the human surf board and player jumped into her teammates arms and acted like a fish.
They even have a special routine after every made foul shot -- a two clap dab.
Bellevue head coach Leah Krautter has been around basketball much of her life.
“I do take basketball very seriously and I'm competitive but if the girls are not having fun, then what’s the point and they don't play hard if it's not intrinsic," said Krautter.
When the five seniors do need a break, the bench have shown they're capable of more than just support.
"Everyone is so unselfish, no one is worried about personal accolades, how much they are scoring, they are just concerned with the team's success,”

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Bellevue’s Anna Wilson, Russell Wilson’s sister, selected to play in McDonald’s All-American game

Bellevue High School’s Anna Wilson drives to the basket against Mercer Island’s players.

Bellevue's Anna Wilson, who is the sister of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, was one of 24 players picked and the only one from the state of Washington.

Ed Guzman,, January 18, 2016

Bellevue’s Anna Wilson was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game, it was announced Sunday night.

Wilson, who is the sister of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, was one of 24 players picked and the only one from the state of Washington. She is also one of three players committed to Stanford expected to play in the game.

The game will be played at the United Center in Chicago on March 30 at 3:30 PT and will be broadcast on ESPNU.

The Seahawks quarterback, for one, was thrilled by the news:

Congrats to my sis! @IamAnnaWilson3 named McDonald's All American!! @Stanford is getting a special girl! Love you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Three On West Roster, January 19, 2016

Incoming freshmen DiJonai Carrington, Nadia Fingall and Anna Wilson will participate in the 15th annual McDonald’s All American Game on March 30 in Chicago, it was announced Sunday on ESPNU.
The three future Cardinal, who signed with Stanford in November, all landed on the 12-member West Team. Of the 24 girls selected to be McDonald’s All Americans, Stanford and Maryland have the most players suiting up next fall with three commits each. The girls’ game begins at 3:30 p.m. PT on March 30 and will be televised live on ESPNU.
This year’s teams were selected from more than 750 nominees by the McDonald’s All American Games selection committee, led by Morgan Wootten, committee chairman and legendary Hall of Fame basketball coach.
Carrington (San Diego, Calif./Horizon Christian Academy), Fingall (Navarre, Fla./Choctawhatchee) and Wilson (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) will add their names to an exclusive list of 15 Cardinal women’s basketball alumnae to be featured in the nation’s premier high school basketball all-star event. Stanford most recently had a pair of McDonald’s All Americans in 2013 in current juniors Kailee Johnson and Erica McCall. The three Stanford signees to earn roster spots ties a program record from 2007 when Ashley Cimino, Kayla Pedersen and Jeanette Pohlen were each named McDonald’s All Americans.
The trio will join the Cardinal for the 2016-17 season along with fellow prep standout Mikaela Brewer (Barrie, Ontario/Innisdale Secondary School). Collectively, Stanford’s class is rated No. 9 by espnW HoopGurlz and No. 7 by Prospects Nation.
A versatile perimeter performer, Carrington is a five-star talent rated as the 34th best player in the country according to espnW HoopGurlz and 16th by Prospects Nation. She has played in nine games for Horizon this season and is averaging 14.8 points, 12.1 rebounds and 4.3 assists.
Fingall is a certifiable blue-chip prospect ranked 26th in the nation by espnW HoopGurlz and the seventh-best forward. The five-star post also checks in at No. 23 overall and No. 4 at her position according to Prospects Nation. The 6-foot-4 Fingall is averaging 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game for 18-4 Choctaw.
Wilson, a 5-foot-8 guard from Bellevue, Washington, will give Stanford another dynamic player in the backcourt and is rated as the 58th overall player in the class of 2016 by espnW Hoopgurlz and 34th by Prospects Nation. A 2014 USA Basketball gold medalist, she averages 16.9 points to go with 4.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.5 steals for the unbeaten Bellevue Wolverines, who are ranked No. 21 in the nation by espnW.
On Nov. 22, the Naismith Trophy announced that the three are among 50 players on the watch list for the Girls High School Player of the Year award.
Stanford's McDonald's All Americans
2016DiJonai Carrington
 Nadia Fingall
 Anna Wilson
2013Kailee Johnson
 Erica McCall
2011Amber Orrange
 Bonnie Samuelson
2010Chiney Ogwumike
2009Joslyn Tinkle
2008Nneka Ogwumike
2007Ashley Cimino
 Kayla Pedersen
 Jeanette Pohlen
2006Jayne Appel
 Michelle Harrison
2004Cissy Pierce
 Candice Wiggins
2002Brooke Smith

Monday, January 18, 2016

Anna, DiJonai, and Nadia named McDonalds All Americans

2016 McDonald's All American Game

When: March 30, 6:30 p.m. ET

Where: Chicago's United Center

Anna Wilson, above, will join forces with future Stanford teammates Nadia Fingall and DiJonai Carrington on the West squad at the McDonald's All American Games.

Dan Olson, espnw, January 18, 2018

The rosters for the 2016 McDonald's All American Games were announced Sunday night, and 24 players hailing from 15 different states and heading to at least 15 different schools were selected.

Here are things you need to know about the rosters.

1. Stanford union

Tune in, Stanford fans! The McDonald's All American Games could provide a taste of what will become your steady diet for the next several years.

Elite prospects Nadia Fingall, DiJonai Carrington, and  Anna Wilson have all signed with Stanford, and all three were chosen to represent the West team at the McDonald's All American Games on April 1.
Fingall, who somehow found her way onto the West roster despite attending Choctawhatchee in Florida, is a 6-foot-2 center with a feathery touch. She can -- and does -- score in a variety of ways.
Carrington, the sister of Oregon wide receiver Darren Carrington, is a double-double machine. The 6-foot guard can score inside, outside and everywhere in between. But perhaps her best attribute is her tenacity on the glass.
Wilson, the sister of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and a 2014 USA Basketball gold medalist, moved from Virginia to the Seattle area for her senior season and has Bellevue (Washington) playing like one of the best teams in the nation. The 5-7 point guard is an unselfish playmaker on both sides of the floor.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Russell Wilson’s sister, Anna, makes her own name as a Bellevue High basketball star

Anna Wilson, 18, transferred from Richmond, Va., to Bellevue High School to be closer to her brother, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — “the best older brother you could possibly ask for” — and to 
acclimate to the West Coast in preparation for Stanford. (Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times)

Sandy Ringer,, January 14, 2016

Anna Wilson once felt she lived in her famous brother’s shadow. But after moving to Bellevue, she has learned to embrace his fame and create her own identity.
You can see him in her soft brown eyes and engaging smile. You can hear him when she speaks or laughs.
The similarities between the siblings are clear. And the likenesses run far deeper.
The longer you listen to Anna Wilson, the more you detect Russell Wilson’s influence and the shared characteristics that set them apart as athletes and individuals.
Drive, determination, dedication — they come in big doses with the ultracompetitive Wilsons, undoubtedly the most talented brother-sister act in the Seattle area.
Russell, of course, is the star NFL quarterback trying to take the Seahawks to a third straight Super Bowl.
Anna is a rising basketball standout hoping to help Bellevue High School’s program capture its first Class 3A state championship since 1975 before taking her game to Stanford.
Each is a gigantic fan of the other.
Russell: “She’s one of the most special people I know.”
Anna: “I really look up to my brother.”
“I can see her being president”
Anna, 18, is the youngest of three children born to Tammy Wilson and the late Harrison Wilson III, following Harry, 32; and Russell, 27.
Anna and Russell are especially close, and his presence in Seattle played a significant role in her decision to move with her mom from Richmond, Va., for her senior year of high school.
They are more alike than different, both agree.
“A lot of people think we’re identical, if not identical twins,” Russell said in a phone interview, chuckling. “I can speak about her. She’s so dedicated, she’s committed to her friends and family and she’s just a special, special person. She’s a person who always wants to give back, and that’s what I love about her. There’s no thing she cannot do, and that’s inspiring to watch and be a part of.”
He was impressed with her 5 a.m. shooting sessions during the offseason, along with her commitment to school work.
“Even though she’s only 18 years old, I can see her being the president of the United States one day, just because of her dedication and her intelligence. I could see her playing in the WNBA for a long time and making it in the Hall of Fame and playing in the Olympics … I can see her doing so many special things and just changing the world because of the type of person she is inside and out.”
“They both have big dreams”
Anna, a 5-foot-8 point guard who almost sees eye-to-eye with her 5-11 brother, already earned one gold medal while playing for the 2014 USA Women’s Under-17 team. She averages 17.3 points to go with 4.7 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 3.7 steals for the unbeaten Bellevue Wolverines, who are ranked No. 18 in the nation.
Anna was voted MVP after leading Bellevue to the title in one of the top divisions of the Nike Tournament of Champions. Russell proudly tweeted a picture of her with the trophies.
She received her first scholarship offer in eighth grade (from Maryland) and, yes, she wants to play in the Women’s National Basketball Association — although she has thought about becoming an astronaut, or a journalist. Lately, she’s more into environmental science.
Like Russell, Anna aims high.
“They both have big dreams,” their mom said.
Anna says one of the many traits she and Russell share is the ability to remain poised under pressure.
“We both have this calm before the storm,” Anna said. “My facial expressions are exactly the same whether we’re up by a hundred or we’re down by 20.”
Anna impressed Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer so much she earned a scholarship offer as a sophomore.
“She’s athletic, she’s smart, she has really good point-guard skills and kind of the intuitive point-guard sense,” the veteran coach said. “But so much depends on her work ethic, and one thing she’s had is such a great example with her brother (Russell), watching how hard he works and his commitment and just understanding what it takes to be great.”
Reaching for greatness
Greatness is a goal in the Wilson household, whether it’s in athletics, academics or social responsibility.
Anna has accompanied Russell on his weekly Seattle Children’s hospital visits. She strives to improve herself daily, in basketball and in life. She was drawn to Stanford University because of its high standards, and she raised her own bar academically to make sure she qualified.
“I knew that was the school I needed to go to in terms of if I wanted to be great in everything,” she said.
Anna quickly showed her leadership and competitiveness during basketball tryouts at Bellevue. She wasn’t shy around her new teammates.
“She’d get on her teammates in drills if they weren’t going hard enough,” coach Leah Krautter said. “But the girls really responded to it … They know she sees a future in basketball, so she takes it seriously, but she’s also really funny and likable.”
Anna jokes that one of the differences between her and Russell is that she has a better sense of humor. And she’s better looking, too, she adds with a laugh.
Taking “a leap of faith”
It’s not always easy growing up with a famous older brother. Anna wrote about the challenges in an essay last year as part of her Stanford application:
“Since I could walk, I have lived in a dark space produced by a body that intercepts the light of my personal fulfillment. My brother is the body, but he is not at fault. His fame and accomplishments unintentionally created the dark space composed of the inescapable expectation of onlookers. The dark space is his shadow in which I have lived.”
She wrote how friendships could be challenging — are people only interested in Russell? — about the frustrations of her own successes being trivialized and whispers of favoritism because of who he is.
Yet rather than try to distance herself, Anna moved closer to Russell, leaving the small prep school of Collegiate in Richmond, Va., where he and Harry graduated, for Bellevue.
Russell was a big fan of the move, an idea formulated a year earlier in part to allow Anna to acclimate to the West Coast and prepare for Stanford, but it took awhile to talk their mother into it (their father passed away in 2010).
“There were definitely pros and cons to moving,” Tammy Wilson said. “I probably focused more on the cons, and the kids focused more on the pros.”
Tammy liked the academic support at Collegiate, enjoyed her job as a nursing manager at the University of Virginia and loved their church.
“In the end, I decided I’d take a leap of faith and just do it,” Tammy said. “We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.”
Russell Wilson days
In some ways, moving closer did shrink the shadow.
Russell was a famous alum at Collegiate, which has just over 1,600 students in 12 grades. The school held Russell Wilson days, when Anna was surrounded by classmates adorned in No. 3 jerseys and walls plastered with life-size cutouts of him.
“He was larger than life and suddenly I was nothing, insignificant,” Anna wrote.
Older brother Harry, a former two-sport athlete who is now a pharmaceutical representative in Louisville, knows it had to be difficult.
“He’s kind of a legend there, although I don’t want to be that dramatic,” Harry said. “Everyone knew she was his sister and expected her to do the same things — live up to this and live up to that.”
Anna has come to terms with having a famous big brother. She has been able to attend the past two Super Bowls and the 2014 Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Sports Awards, where she had a photo taken with Russell and recording artist Pharrell Williams.
Russell is a regular at Bellevue home games, often accompanied by girlfriend Ciara, a recording star and someone Anna considers an older sister.
“It’s really cool that he’s able to come to the games and see me play because I really enjoy watching him play,” she said of watching Russell and the Seahawks.
Bellevue’s basketball games are about her, not him, their mom said. Russell makes his presence felt vocally.
“You can hear him cheering for her,” according to teammates.
During the school day, Anna blends in. She rarely hears questions about her big brother.
“They know I’m my own person,” she said, “and Russell is who he is and he’s great and he’s the best older brother you could possibly ask for.”
Living in a shadow
Russell relishes time spent with Anna and mom, their home now just 10 minutes from his Bellevue mansion. Anna usually comes to his house for lunch, and family dinners are frequent.
“Being around my sister, Anna, and my mom, it’s been an awesome experience for me,” he said. “After losing my dad, I really realized how much family really, really is important and just loving on each other and just being there for one another in the good times and the bad and just supporting one another.”
Even before moving here, Anna began escaping that once oppressive shadow. She wrote in her essay that she had an “epiphany” after noticing her niece jumping in and out of an actual shadow on the ground.
“I realized that living in my brother’s shadow is my choice. I have the option whether to live in or out of the dark space created by the onlookers … I am responsible for the successes and failures that I experience. I entertain my own dreams and desires.
“So, in terms of who is living in whose shadow he is beginning to live in mine.”

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Anna helps Bellevue past Mercer Island

Matt Massey,, January 13, 2016

The transfer of Anna Wilson from Virginia to Bellevue High School has brought more talent to an already loaded Wolverines girls basketball team.

And with Wilson’s addition, it has brought many sightings of her brother, Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks quarterback. In turn, there are more seats filling up this season in the Wolverines’ gymnasium.

Fans are getting to see Class 3A No. 1 Bellevue fill up the hoop with regularity as well.

The Wolverines passed their biggest KingCo 3A/2A test with a decisive 78-56 triumph over seventh-ranked Mercer Island on Wednesday night.

“We try to be an aggressive team and cause chaos,” said Bellevue coach Leah Krautter. “That’s our go-to. One of the things we were frustrated with in the first half, and the pressure wasn’t quite what we wanted. So, we tried to turn that up a little bit.”

Krautter was pleased with her team’s effort, but felt her team can afford to make some improvements. 

Bellevue (13-0 overall, 6-0 league) entertained the home fans, frustrated another opponent and another opposing coach. The Wolverines broke open a nine-point game with a 15-2 surge that finished late in the third quarter and put them ahead 59-37.

Wilson, who committed to play for Stanford prior to her sophomore year, transferred to Bellevue for her senior season from Collegiate School in Richmond, Va. There, she averaged 13.1 points, 4.9 assists, 4.4 steals and 3.7 rebounds last season for the Collegiate Cougars.

With her brother, Russell, watching just three rows up by the scorer’s table, Wilson finished with 11 points, four assists and two steals.

“It’s been a lot of fun, and I was able to transition to a really great school with really great academics, but also a really family-oriented team,” Wilson said. “That’s been the best part about it, getting to know my teammates. I’ve been really blessed.”

Mercer Island (11-1, 5-1) stayed within striking distance until Bellevue used full-court defensive pressure to turn turnovers into fastbreak points midway through the third quarter.

Wilson has helped elevate the Bellevue program into elite status. The Wolverines are ranked No. 15 in the MaxPreps national rankings and No. 18 in the MaxPreps Xcellent25 writers’ poll.

Wilson has taken her game to a new level with Bellevue, leading the Wolverines prior to Wednesday with 17.8 points per game, 4.7 assists, 3.8 steals and 4.0 rebounds.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Dijonai-Prep Athlete of the Week, January 13, 2016

The San Diego Union-Tribune's top high school performers.
High school Athletes of the Week are recognized through a partnership between The San Diego Union-Tribune and the San Diego Hall of Champions.

Dijonai Carrington
Basketball | Horizon Christian

Showing herself to be a fast healer for the second time in her career, the Stanford-bound senior recorded a 14-point, 16-rebound double-double in a 59-52 victory over Imperial. Carrington is returning from a second ACL injury.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Fingall selected to McDonald's All-American list

SETH STRINGER,, January 6, 2016

Choctaw’s Nadia Fingall is enjoying quite the prodigious senior season.
Fingall signed on to Stanford University.
Named Fab Five selections.
Averaging around 20 points and 10 rebounds for a team in control of their district.
And, now, is a McDonald’s All-American nomination, one of two honorees – boys and girls combined – in the Daily News’ coverage area.
Fingall is a 6-4 forward who’s just as good facing the basket as she is in the paint. She’s the two-time reigning Daily News Player of the Year and helped lead Choctaw to the Elite Eight last year and a state championship appearance her sophomore season.
The final 24 players selected for the McDonald's Game will be announced on Jan. 17 at 10:30 p.m. on ESPNU. The 2016 McDonald's Game will be played on March 30 at the United Center in Chicago.

Choctaw secures playoff spot behind Fingall, defense

Choctaw senior Nadia Fingall goes up for a layup during Thursday's 40-26 win over District 2-6A foe Fort Walton Beach.

SETH STRINGER,, January 7, 2016

“Get the ball inside,” screamed the Choctaw coach, his team mired in a 4-for-16 shooting slump and trailing District 2-6A rival Fort Walton Beach 12-11 in the second quarter Thursday night.
His focus then shifted to his 6-foot-4 senior center, Nadia Fingall.
“Lead your team,” he yelled. “Get the ball in the paint in score. Stop taking these outside shots.”
Out of the timeout, and thus began a 14-2 run for the Indians, who rode Fingall’s 18-point, 16-rebound double-double and a stifling defensive effort to a 40-26 win on their home court.
Of course the yelling never stopped, not with the implications of a district tournament No. 1 seed and playoff bid on the line.
And that’s just what the Indians (16-4) secured, moving to 3-0 to secure a spot in the district championship while the Vikings (13-5) fell to 1-2 ahead of 0-2 Crestview
“We didn’t play our best but we still won the ball game,” said Brown, whose team also defeated the Vikings 49-30 on Dec. 15. “Good teams just find a way to win.”
The Indians found a way to win based on a multitude of factors.
Defensively, they held Fort Walton Beach to 23 percent shooting (3 of 18 from beyond the arc) and didn’t allow a single Viking to score in double figures.

But in the team effort, the Stanford-bound Fingall shined.
Along with swatting four shots, Fingall scored 11 of her 18 points in the second half. That included a traditional 3-point play in the fourth quarter that elicited a fist pump and a hefty yell from the animated Fingall.
“We came out really flat, but we got fed up,” Fingall said. “It shouldn’t have been that close of a game early on. I think we just needed to calm down and play our game.”
But Fingall scored nine points down the stretch and the Vikings, mustered just four fourth-quarter points.
“We’ve had a pretty good history over the last couple of years, but we never take (making the playoffs) for granted because you never know when it will stop,” said Fingall, who has helped lead the Indians to back-to-back Elite Eight appearances and a state championship appearance as a sophomore.
“It’s a good start to where we want to get to.”

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Dijonai earns McDonald’s nomination

John Maffei,, January 7, 2016
Five local seniors have been nominated for the McDonald’s All-American Basketball Games.
On the girls side, DiJonai Carrington of Horizon has been named.
Carrington, one of the top players in the country and a Stanford signee, suffered a second ACL injury and isn’t expected to play this season.
The top 24 boys and girls will be chosen for the games scheduled for April 1 in Chicago.

Defense, bench energy, and team chemistry power Anna's Bellevue basketball Team

Bellevue point guard Anna Wilson dribbles down the court during a non-league game against Inglemoor.

Allison Thomasseau,, January 7, 2016

The leader. The silent assassin. The coach’s dream. The muscle. The rebounding machine.
No, it’s not a weird version of the Breakfast Club. It’s parts and pieces of the Bellevue girls basketball team.
“That’s what’s been so successful”.  “Everyone has their own role, and every role is so important, whether it’s on or off the court.”
The five senior Wolverines are as different as you can get, but this year they come together with one common goal: Take home a state title.
There’s a lot of reasons why you should expect to see undefeated Bellevue with a state tournament trophy.
They’re big – six girls on the nine-player roster are at least six foot.
They’re talented – three players are going Division I next season.
But the most important reason why the Wolverines (11-0) are ranked No. 1 is team chemistry. Bellevue head coach Leah Krautter said this is the most cohesive group she has had in her five years with the Wolverines.
“No one on the team is selfish or worrying about themselves”.  “It’s always been about team success."
Defense wins championships
Bellevue’s put up big numbers this season. The Wolverines broke 100 points for the first time in school history when they beat Juanita 104-56 Dec. 9. Then they put the cherry on top of the record beating Sammamish 112-27 a week later.
Even though the Wolverines are averaging over 80 points per game, Bellevue will tell you it’s about defense first.
“What we want to do defensively is make teams feel uncomfortable,” Krautter said. “We want to cause chaos.”
Meet the Wolverines
Bellevue has been a perennial power the last few years, making it to state semifinals the last three seasons. However, the Wolverines lost five players from last season’s fifth place team, and this year’s squad is completely different.
Transfers, one being point guard Anna Wilson, changed the face of the season.
Wilson (13.1 points, 3.9 assists, 2.9 steals), a Stanford commit who moved from Virginia at the beginning of the school year, learned leadership ability from her big brother Seahawk Russell Wilson.
During Bellevue’s first close game against Oaks Christian (Calif.) during the Nike Tournament of Champions, Wilson was the one to stay cool and collected.
“We just have to stay calm,” Wilson told the team during the final time out. “We got this.”
The seniors were quick to mention their supportive bench. When the rotation players aren’t on the court, they find it hard to contain their bench energy, or “benergy”.
Inspired by Monmouth basketball’s bench celebrations, the Bellevue team has also come up with its own cheers, including the football hike, human defibrillator, and bow-and-arrow.
With energy and depth powering the way, Bellevue hopes this will be the year the Wolverines break through state semifinals.
“State is the only thing I haven’t done, so everyone’s goal is to focus on state and winning as a team,”