Monday, May 20, 2024

Caitlin Clark’s WNBA Play With Fever Will Serve as Tryout for 2024 USA Olympic Team

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Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images

Despite missing Team USA’s recent training camp, the Indiana Fever’s Caitlin Clark still has the opportunity to earn her way onto the national team for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Jennifer Rizzotti, who chairs the women’s basketball selection committee, told the Associated Press’ Doug Feinberg she and other Team USA officials will be following the start to Clark’s WNBA career with an eye toward the Olympics.

“You always want to introduce new players into the pool whether it’s for now or the future,” she said. “We stick to our principles of talent, obviously, positional fit, loyalty and experience. It’s got to be a combination of an entire body of work. It’s still not going to be fair to some people.”

Clark was included in the 14-player pool for the United States’ training camp, which ran concurrently with the women’s Final Four in early April. She was unable to attend with Iowa advancing to the national semifinals and title game.

It’s not unprecedented for a player to get fast-tracked to Team USA largely on the strength of their college career. Breanna Stewart made the cut for the 2016 Summer Olympics despite only being a WNBA rookie. The same was true for Candace Parker in 2008.

In four years at Iowa, Clark averaged 28.4 points and 8.2 assists, becoming a two-time national player of the year and the all-time leading scorer in Division I history.

It’s entirely possible the 22-year-old is one of the best American guards in the player pool already. Even if she’s on the fringe, taking her to Paris would allow her to gain some invaluable international experience ahead of future tournaments.

Should Clark struggle out of the gate, however, Rizzotti and Team USA head coach Cheryl Reeve probably won’t hesitate to leave her behind for a more proven veteran.

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