Why is Caitlin Clark Not On the Olympic Women’s Basketball Team?

She’s set to be one of the biggest WNBA stars of all time, but people are asking why Caitlin Clark is not on the USA Olympics basketball team.

On April 15, 2024, the all-star was drafted by the Indiana Fever as the number one overall pick in the WNBA Draft. In her freshman season with Iowa University, she led the NCAA Division I in scoring and earned All-American honors. As a sophomore, Clark was a unanimous first-team All-American and became the first women’s player to lead Division I in points and assists in a single season. In her first season in the WNBA, she’s averaging 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 6.3 assists.

Why isn’t Caitlin Clark on the USA Olympics basketball team?

While there’s been no official explanation why Clark didn’t make Team USA, fans on Reddit have their theories, going so far as to suggest the Olympic coach Cheryl Reeve “has been against Caitlin from the start.” Reeve posted on X with #TheWismorethan one player and alluded to Caitlin Clark when a fan replied back to her post. USA TODAY Sports correspondent Nancy Rumor posted, “When I asked Cheryl Reeve at USOPC Summit about Clark, she said, “I’ve never been in the trenches with her.” Not even at a USA Basketball camp.”

Caitlin Clark expressed that she had “no disappointment” due to the level of talent and experience of the 12-member team. The USA team is set to consist of MVPs and experienced players like Britney Griner, A’ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Alyssa Thomas, and Napheesa Collier.

Clark was invited to Team USA’s training camp in Spring 2024, but was unable to participate due to the Final Four. However, Clark says that she’s looking forward to what’s to come from the team. “I’m excited for the girls that are on the team,” Clark said via Huffington Post. “I know it’s the most competitive team in the world and I know it could have gone either way of me being on the team, me not being on the team. I’m excited for them, gonna be rooting them on to win gold. I was a kid who grew up watching the Olympics, so it’ll be fun to watch them. 

“They called me and let me know before everything came out, which was really respectful of them, and I appreciated that,” Clark said of USA Basketball. “They did the same for every girl that made the team or every girl that didn’t make the team. There was a lot of players in the Olympic pool, it’s not like I was the only one they had to call. They had to make quite a few calls.”

She’s also setting her sights on the future since she’s just a rookie in professional sports anyways. “I think it just gives you something to work for. It’s a dream, hopefully, one day I can be there and I think it’s just a little more motivation. You remember that and hopefully, in four years I can be there.”

But like any good basketball player, she’s shooting her shot. “If USA Basketball needs something, I have a great relationship with them, but the 12 they have selected are really great players so I think they’re in pretty great hands,” Clark said. “Cheryl [Reeve] is a great coach, the selection committee did a really good job.” 

Caitlin Clark holding a jersey with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Englebert and Aliyah Edwards holding up a jersey.

Indiana Fever coach Christie Sides said that Clark was “a little disappointed” at the decision adding that the US basketball team is “the toughest team in the world to make.” “She got the call on the bus, and texted me ‘they woke a monster,’ which I thought was awesome.”

“I didn’t have time to go to a training camp and obviously it was a quick turnaround to come here [to Indiana],” Clark said. “So it’s good motivation for us and we all know how talented that team is.”

As expected, basketball fans were quick to be split on the decision. “She’s already the greatest college female basketball player in history,” one fan posted on Reddit. “She’s got plenty of time to prove her worth in Olympics and will probably be on their roster well into her 40s once they accept her. Besides it’s not like the Olympic team needs her to win, WNBA is much more challenging.”

While another posted, “Let’s be honest the U.S will steamroll to the gold anyway, why not get the viewership bump she will bring? It seems the entire pro women’s basketball set up in the U.S is actively working against this sport getting more attention”

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