USA Basketball speaks out on controversial Caitlin Clark Paris Olympics snub: ‘Other players checked a lot more boxes’

caitlin clark
Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

USA Basketball has responded to the controversy of leaving Caitlin Clark off their roster for the 2024 Paris Olympics, and it seems she did not “check off enough boxes” compared to the other players who made the team.

The United States women’s basketball team has been one of the most dominant of the various Olympic sports. While the men’s team, swimmers, or women’s gymnastics seem to get more attention, the ladies’ basketball squad has not won anything less than gold since 1992. So, the standard for making the team is fairly high.

Also Read: Reason Caitlin Clark left off USA Basketball Olympic roster revealed and it’s ridiculous

Nevertheless, it surprised many fans when it was revealed this weekend that Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark would not be on the roster for this year’s team. She is the greatest offensive player in women’s college basketball history and despite her early struggles is a top 15 player in several categories during her rookie season in the WNBA.

Well, following a great deal of blowback from Clark’s millions of fans and sports media, the heads of USA Basketball have made their first comments about why she will not be competing for her country this summer.

  • Caitlin Clark stats (2024 WNBA): 16.8 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 6.3 APG, 1.5 SPG, 37% 3PT

“Here’s the basketball criteria that we were given as a committee and how do we evaluate our players based on that?” Selection committee chair Jen Rizzotti told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “And when you base your decision on criteria, there were other players that were harder to cut because they checked a lot more boxes. Then sometimes it comes down to position, style of play for [coach Cheryl Reeve], and then sometimes a vote.”

The reasoning is understandable, but it is still surprising that Clark was left out but 42-year-old WNBA great Dianna Taurasi made the team despite not putting up quite the same numbers as the rookie. The Phoenix Mercury veteran will be making a record sixth trip to the Olympics and has been a part of five of their last seven gold medal wins.

Also Read: Local reporter gets banned from Indiana Fever games after creepy interaction with Caitlin Clark

While they did not pick her this year, the selection committee is hoping the former Iowa Hawkeyes star can still be a part of USA Basketball’s future. “She’s certainly going to continue to get better and better,” USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said. “Really hope that she’s a big part of our future going forward.”

Caitlin Clark was big business for college basketball and has been a key part of a boom in interest for the WNBA. However, Rizzotti claims the final decision came down to getting the best players possible instead of bringing attention to the underappreciated team.

“It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team,” she said. “Because it wasn’t the purview of our committee to decide how many people would watch or how many people would root for the U.S. It was our purview to create the best team we could for Cheryl.”

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