Team USA Defends Snubbing Caitlin Clark After Backlash as Team Wants 'Good Perspective'


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it. 

Lack of experience was a major reason Caitlin Clark did not make Team USA for the upcoming Olympics, according to Team USA leaders.

Selection committee chairwoman Jen Rizzotti said everyone knew about the buzz over Clark and responded to the backlash that she was not picked, according to The Associated Press.

Selection was determined by player qualifications and the plans of coach Cheryl Reeve, she said.

“Here’s the basketball criteria that we were given as a committee and how do we evaluate our players based on that,” Rizzotti said.

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“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 Cheryl and then sometimes a vote,” she said.

Rizzotti, president of the Connecticut Sun and a former member of the national women’s basketball team, was joined by South Carolina coach Dawn Staley, LSU assistant coach, former WNBA player Seimone Augustus, Old Dominion coach Delisha Milton-Jones, and WNBA head of league operations Bethany Donaphin, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Should Caitlin Clark have been selected to the team?

Rizzotti said the issue of Clark’s vast fan following was not considered, according to AP.

“It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team,” Rizzotti 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,” she said.

USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley praised the 12 players selected.

“It’s a great mix of talent across the board in terms of individual skill sets. We have veterans, newcomers and those in the middle. Good perspective and continuity is such an important thing and is why we’ve been successful in the Olympics.”

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All 12 have national team experience. Clark does not, but Tooley said what she gains in the next few years will help her make a future national team.

“She’s certainly going to continue to get better and better,” Tooley said. “Really hope that she’s a big part of our future going forward.”

The team includes Diana Taurasi, 42, who has played on every Olympic team since 2004, Breanna Stewart, A’ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd and Brittney Griner. Gray, who is the point guard for the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, has yet to play this year due to an injury.

That raises the possibility Clark could be selected if a guard is needed on the roster.

As noted by Bleacher Report, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium said Clark and Connecticut Sun forward Brionna Jones are the top two alternates for the team.

CNN reported that Christine Brennan, a sports analyst for the network, said politics played a role in Clark’s omission.

“I have two sources, impeccable sources, who said that they had heard from various people that a concern was that if Caitlin was put on the team but only got a few minutes of playing time, which would be logical for a rookie on a great team that last lost in 1992 — the best, most dominant team in sports — that all of her fans would be upset and would be, I guess, just storming the gates and on radio shows and on social media,” she said.

“I couldn’t believe my ears that that was a discussion topic in the meetings about the reaction to Caitlin Clark,” she said.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at
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