Courtney Ogden won a gold medal with the U18 U.S. team at the Americas Championship this past summer. (Photo courtesy of USA Basketball)

There’s no singularly obvious reason for Courtney Ogden’s success. JWS’ 10th-ranked recruit in the Class of 2023, Ogden is confident, focused and patient. She values her coaches, mentors and teammates. She puts in a tremendous amount of work both on the court and in the classroom.

The Stanford-bound guard has everything it takes to become a franchise player at the college level and beyond.

Ogden’s basketball journey began in elementary school. As a third grader, she was the only girl to attend the annual Dell Curry Camp in Charlotte, N.C. In an interview with Jr. NBA’s Elevate Series, she said that, despite her best efforts at the camp, none of the boys would pass her the ball. Ogden’s parents, Christopher and Carla, and Dell Curry himself encouraged her to keep working. If she persisted, they said, she would improve.

The term “Basketball IQ” is regularly thrown around in today’s game to describe athletes who have an elite ability to see plays develop before they unfold and to adapt at a moment’s notice.

Courtney Ogden exemplifies Basketball IQ. As with her commitment to the game, she has polished and developed that skill over time.

One influential teacher in Ogden’s life is trainer Dorian Lee, the CEO of B’Ball 101 who specializes in player development at all levels. Ogden began working with Lee in elementary school. The talented guard is one of thousands of players who have trained with Lee, and his impact is evident in her adaptability on the court.

While training with Lee, Ogden also joined an AAU team before she entered fifth grade.

In the state of Georgia, there’s a clear choice for young girls looking to improve their game on the AAU circuit: Atlanta-based program, Finest Basketball Club. Creator and coach Alfred “Mo” Motton has helped catapult young basketball players to the next level for nearly two decades.

FBC teams have collected hundreds of wins over the years. To play for a program of that caliber, and to shine while doing so, attracts attention no matter how old you are.

So, in the sixth grade, just three years after nobody would pass her the ball at the Dell Curry Camp, Ogden picked up her first Division I offer from then-coach MaChelle Joseph at Georgia Tech.

That same year, she enrolled at the Westminster School in Atlanta, where she played for the JV team as an eighth grader and moved up to varsity as a freshman. That season, she averaged a double-double while shooting 42 percent from the field. As a sophomore, she increased her field goal percentage to nearly 50 percent.

Ogden also excels in her community and in the classroom, prioritizing her education off the court. In 2021, she earned her a spot on the inaugural Jr. NBA Court of Leaders, a youth leadership council that connects student-athletes with opportunities to develop. In school, the senior has studied Mandarin since around the same time she got that first DI offer.

When she gets to college next year, Ogden can continue to grow at one of the world’s top universities and on a team that excels at developing guards while regularly vying for titles.

“Courtney is, plain and simple, a pure and excellent scorer,” Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer said after Ogden signed with the program. “She’s a very physical player on both sides of the ball, loves to look for her 3-point shot and can knock them down.”

Ogden committed to Stanford in December of her junior year of high school, just months after breaking her ankle during the summer. The injury required surgery, causing her to miss the beginning of the Westminster season. After making a full recovery, Ogden exceeded expectations, averaging 18.4 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game that season.

She was named a 2022 GHSA All-Georgia Honorable Mention and GHSA Class AAA First Team selection in addition to leading Westminster to the state semifinals.

Around the same time, she was also invited to her first USA Basketball roster tryout. Ogden earned a spot on the roster for the U18 Women’s Americas Championship in Argentina, despite being a year younger than most of the other players on the team.

Playing for Team USA is a unique learning experience due to the specific style of play the coaching staff demands. Those who make the roster must demonstrate their adaptability and talent to stick around.

U.S. U18 assistant coach DeLisha Milton-Jones, also currently the head coach at Old Dominion, describes Ogden as a skilled player with good size at the guard spot.

“Courtney is a triple-level scorer with good handles that allow her to penetrate the rim and finish through traffic,” she said.

Ogden and the U18 team, entering the Championship on a nine-tournament gold-medal streak, won gold again in Buenos Aires. Ogden averaged 2.4 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.0 steals in 14.5 minutes across five games as the U.S. went 6-0.

She returned to the States and wrapped up her club career this July at the GUAA U17 Championship, marking the culmination of more than a decade with FBC.

Though Ogden’s squad fell in the title game after four overtime periods, she and her teammates — including Alabama signee Essence Cody, UNC signee Reniya Kelly and 2024 standouts Jaloni Cambridge and Zamareya Jones — demonstrated just how effectively FBC prepares and develops its players for the next level.

Ogden continued to shine at the Elite 24 game in Chicago, where she put on a show alongside other dynamic five-star recruits.

She was also selected as one of nine athletes — and the only girls’ basketball player — to participate in UA Next’s The Workout. The Workout is an annual performance development weekend at Under Armour’s headquarters designed to push invited participants from a variety of sports through different workouts and activities, demonstrating what college athletics has in store.

And now, the 1,000-point scorer has begun her final season in a Westminster jersey as one of 10 student-athletes named to the 2022-23 Naismith Girls’ High School Player of the Year Preseason Watchlist.

The Westminster Wildcats have started the 2022-23 season 8-4 and resume play in the New Year. Ogden leads the team in scoring (21.3 points per game), rebounds (10.7) and steals (2.5).

Caroline Makauskas is a contributing writer for Just Women’s Sports. She also covers a variety of sports on her TikTok @cmakauskas. Follow her on Twitter @cmakauskas.