De'Janae Boykin can be her own toughest critic.
The 6-foot-2 forward from Springdale, Md., was named to USA Basketball's U-17 national team on May 26 though she admitted she didn't play her best ball at the trials. But in the three weeks since, the University of Connecticut commit has picked up a gold medal from the U-18 3x3 national tournament and taken part in the U-17 training camp at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.
As Team USA headed to Europe Wednesday, Boykin seems pleased with where her game is at 10 days before the start of the 2014 FIBA U-17 world championships to be held in the Czech Republic June 28-July 6.
"It's been pretty good," Boykin said on Tuesday. "I'm trying to do the things that will help our team. The coaches want me to be versatile and I'm trying to do that for them.
"The camp was great and very intense. It was an opportunity to learn about each other and to play with each other. I think we're going to have a lot of fun."
Team USA is traveling to France Wednesday and will play exhibition games against China on Friday, Canada on Saturday, and France on Sunday. After a tour of Paris on Monday, the Americans move on to Pilsen, Czech Republic, for the world championships.
Boykin is representing her country for the second straight summer. She averaged 8.4 points and 7.6 rebounds as Team USA won the gold medal at the 2013 FIBA Americas U-16 tournament that qualified it for the 2014 world championships. As a junior at C.H. Flowers High she averaged 21.1 points, 15.8 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 3.2 steals and 3.0 blocks per game, leading the Jaguars (17-2) to the Class 4A South Region semifinals.
She announced her oral commitment to UConn on May 4, her 17th birthday.
After admitting, "I could have played better this whole weekend" at the U-17 trials, she teamed with fellow UConn commit Napheesa Collier and U-17 teammates Arike Ogunbowale and Natalie Chou to win the U-18 3x3 national tournament title on June 1.
"The 3x3 tournament helped me a lot," Boykin said. "It's a whole different kind of game with a lot of movement and things. It was good."
Boykin and her 3x3 teammates will represent the United States at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, Aug. 16-28. The basketball competition at the Games is a 3x3 format organized by the International Olympic Committee and FIBA and is expected to include 20 women's teams.
They'll be joined in China by UConn commit and U-17 teammate Katie Lou Samuelson, who was replaced by Chou for the national tournament after injuring her left ankle during the U-17 trials on May 25.
"We wanted to win it for Lou," Boykin said. "It was sad that she wasn't able to play with us. But it's exciting to think that we'll be going to China together and we're looking forward to trying to win that gold medal."
But first Boykin will try to help the U-17 squad defend its gold medal. After arriving in the Czech Republic, there will be three more days of practice before Team USA begins Group D pool play against China on June 28.
Like Samuelson, it is Boykin's first trip to Europe.
"I'm looking forward to trying the food," Boykin said with a laugh. "I'm usually not someone that tries different things, so we'll see how that goes."
It's a part of going for the gold.