South Kingstown resident Cameron Rust has already been mentioned as one of the nation’s top players in the class of 2024, and she’s getting an amazing opportunity to prove she belongs there this month.
A standout at Worcester Academy, Rust was one of 34 players invited to trials for USA Basketball’s U16 national team. She will travel to Indianapolis and compete June 13-16 for one of 12 roster spots. The team will represent USA Basketball at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in August.
“It’s honestly the biggest opportunity that’s ever presented itself to me,” Rust said. “I was just absolutely grateful and so excited, because I know I’ve put in the work.”
Rust’s basketball journey began in South Kingstown gyms, playing for longtime South Kingstown Parks and Recreation basketball coach Wayne Carroll. She attended the Gordon School in East Providence and began playing AAU basketball in fifth grade. A season with Team Providence in her seventh grade year provided the spark for the journey to come.
“My mom got me into basketball,” Rust said. “Wayne Carroll was my first coach and then my mom started bringing me to summer camps. That’s really how it started for me. In seventh grade, when I started playing with Team Providence – that’s when I decided this is what I really want to do.”
After one season of prep school at St. Andrew’s, Rust transferred to Worcester Academy and reclassified to the class of 2024. Her first season with the Hilltoppers was hampered by the pandemic, with the team unable to play its usual NEPSAC Double A rivals, but Rust will have three more seasons to make her mark.
“It’s very competitive,” Rust said. “This year because of COVID, we could only play against C Class teams. This season was really about getting to know the players and coaches and everything.”
The Naismith National Youth All American Report ranks Rust as the No. 2 player nationally in the class of 2024. She’s listed among the top 30 recruits in ESPN’s HoopGurlz 2024 rankings.
A 6-foot-2 forward, Rust blends ball-handling and outside shooting with the ability to get to the basket and play on the block.
“I’m a three in basketball and I consider myself an all-position player,” Rust said. “I can play one through five. That’s one of my best assets and I think that’s what people see – my physicality and my athleticism is what I think defines me.”
Rust already holds scholarship offers from Boston College, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State and Ole Miss. She’s planning to take some unofficial visits to schools this summer while traveling with her Mass Rivals AAU team.
The basketball travel circuit is among the most high pressure scenes in amateur sports, but Rust said her support system keeps her grounded.
“Always having my mom or my dad watching helps keep me calm,” Rust said. “There is a lot of pressure – a lot of people watching, keeping an eye on everything. But having the right people in your corner is the biggest thing.”
Rust has played against several of the players invited to the trials, including Joyce Edwards of Camden, South Carolina, who’s at the top of ESPN’s 2024 rankings. Rust is one of 13 players from the class of 2024 invited to the trials, with the other 20 from the class of 2023. Seven players participated in the 2019 national team trials.
For Rust, being among that kind of company is an honor, but she won’t look at it that way once the ball starts bouncing in Indianapolis. The invite was great and the future is bright regardless, but Rust knows what she wants the next step to be.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been this determined,” she said. “I’ve been grinding it out, doing a lot of strength and conditioning – just trying to do everything I can to put the odds in my favor. I’m so determined to take advantage of this opportunity.”