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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.


Indiana Fever guard Caitlin Clark (22) poses during WNBA basketball team's media day in Indianapolis, Wednesday, May 1, 2024.  (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, File)

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 #22 of the Indiana Fever