WEST CHESTER TOWNSHIP, Ohio — Abby Prohaska received 80 text messages during the first round of well wishes the night of June 2 in Colorado Springs.
There is no telling how many messages she may receive if her USA Basketball Under-17 Women’s World Championship Team brings home gold this summer.
Prohaska, a 2018 guard, was selected June 2 for the prestigious U17 national team after she was an at-large attendee. This occurred a year after she made it to the round of 40 after her freshman season at Lakota West.
Prohaska, a Liberty Township resident, returned to West Chester Saturday morning to great fanfare as family, friends and the Lakota West girls’ basketball program threw a surprise welcome home party at an area restaurant.
“It’s an amazing accomplishment and it couldn’t happen to a more deserving young lady,” Lakota West coach Andy Fishman told WCPO.com.
Prohaska, 16, was scheduled to leave at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday to return to Colorado Springs for a training camp until June 15 before leaving for the FIBA U17 World Championship, which will be played June 22-July 2 in Zaragoza, Spain.
Prohaska admits it’s difficult to put together a team in a week but she likes the chemistry the players have shown. They have shared phone numbers and SnapChat names to keep in touch.
“We are all talking about getting the gold so I hope that is what happens,” Prohaska said.
She is one of two Ohio players on the team. Prohaska has also forged a friendship with Massillon Jackson 2018 guard Taylor Mikesell, who competed in last year's trials.
This will be the first time Prohaska will travel overseas. She had a wave of nervousness Monday night thinking about how she will be away from her family, but she’s looking forward to the trip.
“I’m really excited and to just be a part of it – it’s crazy,” Prohaska said. “The opportunity is unbelievable.”
Prohaska and her 11 teammates will play in France prior to the formal start of the tournament in Spain.
First held in 2010, the FIBA U17 World Championship features the world’s top 17-year-old and younger players. The championships are held every two years.
“I’m really looking forward to playing with this group of girls because this week after training with them and getting to know them as people it’s obvious that there is chemistry,” Prohaska said.
“It’s exciting to be a part of something bigger than yourself and especially representing your country. I can only imagine what it’s going to feel like to put that jersey on.”
Prohaska, who has several significant college scholarship offers including schools from the Big Ten, SEC, Big East, ACC and Atlantic-10, has been consistent with her pull-up jumper and has increased her 3-point percentage.
Prohaska averaged 7.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.1 steals for the Firebirds (26-2) in 19 games this past season.
Known for her tenacious competitiveness on the court, Prohaska was a key member of the Firebirds’ success. She had a team-high 15 points and six rebounds in the regional against Mason March 5. She shot 7 of 11 from the field that game.
Ohio Girls’ Basketball Report director Tom Jenkins says Prohaska has quickly emerged as arguably the best player in Ohio, regardless of class.
Though she has kept the balance between basketball and enjoying her time off from school, Prohaska surprisingly attended an open gym session with her teammates Monday night at Lakota West.
Prohaska considers herself a gym rat and she wanted to get extra shots in before she returns to her temporary second home in Colorado Springs.
“I think relentless is a great word to describe her,” Fishman said. “I believe that the more you see of Abby over a longer sample period the more you realize that she is the real deal because it’s consistent. If someone makes a mistake of looking at her in a very short sample size you can no way appreciate all she is about and what she accomplishes.”