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USA basketball chair says it would have been ‘irresponsible’ to put Caitlin Clark on Olympic roster

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The USA Basketball staff knew what kind of backlash they would get if they had not included Caitlin Clark on the Olympic roster.

Well, they made the decision to leave the No. 1 overall pick off, and the noise has been loud.

Clark herself said that “they woke a monster,” and it remains a debate on whether she was snubbed or not.

However, the organization feels that, simply, Clark isn’t one of the 12 best players to represent the United States.

Of course, the eyeballs Clark brings are unprecedented in the women’s game — she was the star of the four most-watched women’s college basketball games ever, three of which came in this past March Madness tournament.

Attendance and ratings for her games also don’t even compare to others’.

However, USA basketball only cares about winning, not popularity, and they simply feel that Clark would not help them.

“It would be irresponsible for us to talk about her in a way other than how she would impact the play of the team,” selection committee chair Jen Rizzotti told The Associated Press. “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 [coach] Cheryl [Reeve].”

USA Today reported last week that a factor in Clark being left off the roster was any potential backlash that would come had Clark gotten little playing time.

Caitlin Clark after game

WNBA PLAYER SEEMS TO TAKE PRIDE IN CAITLIN CLARK’S TOUGH GAME: ‘SEATBELT SEASON’

It’s unknown how far Clark got in the running, but the evaluation seemed thorough.

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

Clark is averaging 16.3 points per game, which ranks 15th in the WNBA but first among rookies — her 6.0 assists, though, are the fourth-best mark, and she ranks fifth with 2.8 made three-pointers per contest.

Caitlin Clark poses with jersey

Clark has two 30-point games under her belt, including a historic performance on Friday, where she tied a WNBA rookie record with seven three-pointers in an 85-83 win over the Washington Mystics. She also was the second rookie ever to have a 30-5-5 line in a game.

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