DON'T WAIT.

We publish the objective news, period. If you want the facts, then sign up below and join our movement for objective news:

TOP STORIES

Latest News

USA Basketball Explains Caitlin Clark's Olympic Omission

 June 14, 2024

The decision to leave Caitlin Clark off the USA Olympic basketball roster has sparked significant public debate and backlash.

Despite her status as the No. 1 overall draft pick and a highly popular player, the USA Basketball staff decided that Clark did not fit their criteria for building the strongest team for an Olympic run, as Fox News reports.

Backlash Over Clark's Exclusion

Some argue that Clark, known for drawing unprecedented viewership to women's basketball, was unfairly left off of the Olympic squad. However, the organization contends that Clark does not rank among the 12 players best suited to represent the USA.

Clark is celebrated for her star performances during high-profile women's college basketball games. Her appearances, especially those in the recent March Madness tournament, garnered record-breaking viewership.

Focus On Winning

USA Basketball maintains that their primary focus is on assembling a winning team. Popularity was not considered a criterion; instead, the selection was based on how players would impact the team's performance.

Jen Rizzotti, the selection committee chair, emphasized that the decision was driven by basketball criteria.

The selection process evaluated how players would fit within the team's style and strategy.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Rizzotti stated, "It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team."

Evaluation Criteria and Selection Process

The selection committee’s process was thorough, but the exact stage Clark reached in this evaluation remains undisclosed. Reports suggest that potential limited playing time for Clark might have influenced the final decision.

Rizzotti reiterated that the main consideration was basketball performance and team dynamics. Factors like position preferences and style of play also played crucial roles in the selection.

"Here’s the basketball criteria that we were given as a committee and how do we evaluate our players based on that?" added Rizzotti. "When you base your decision on criteria, there were other players that were harder to cut because they checked a lot more boxes."

Clark's Impressive Performance

Clark’s impressive statistics highlight her capabilities. She averages 16.3 points per game in the WNBA, ranking 15th overall but first among rookies.

Additionally, Clark averages 6.0 assists per game, the fourth-best mark, and ranks fifth in made three-pointers per contest with 2.8.

Her standout performances include two 30-point games this season. Notably, she tied a WNBA rookie record with seven three-pointers in an 85-83 win over the Washington Mystics.

Public Reaction

Despite the impressive stats, Caitlin Clark did not make the Olympic team. Clark's reaction to the omission was succinct as she remarked, "they woke a monster," suggesting she would redouble her efforts to make a future team.

Meanwhile, Rizzotti stressed that their decision focused solely on basketball performance, disregarding popularity and viewership metrics entirely.

"It was our purview to create the best team we could for [coach] Cheryl [Reeve]," Rizzotti explained, highlighting that decisions also considered position and style of play preferences.

Concluding Remarks

In summary, USA Basketball's decision to omit Caitlin Clark from the Olympic roster was reportedly driven by stringent basketball criteria aimed at winning. Despite her popularity and impressive performance metrics, the committee's focus remained on team dynamics and strategic fit.

The announcement has, as expected, ignited public criticism and debate. Clark’s continued performance in the WNBA will undoubtedly keep her in the spotlight as discussions about her Olympic exclusion continue.