USA WBB Team: Nneka Ogwumike disqualified from the Olympic team

Last week, USA Basketball revealed its 12-player Team USA roster for the 2021 Olympics. The team is led by Sue Bird and Diana Torassi, who will compete in a historic fifth Olympics. The other four athletes to repeat on the list are Sylvia Fowles, Tina Charles, Britney Greiner, and Britney Stewart. The top six timers are Chelsea Gray, Skylar Diggins-Smith, Joel Lloyd, Aja Wilson, Ariel Atkins and Nafisa Collier.

However, rather than celebrating the women who will represent the United States in Tokyo, the conversation focused on who would not attend, specifically Nika Ogomek. He recalls the situation in 2016, when Candice Parker, his former teammate Ogwumike, gold medalist in 2008 and 2012, was not named to Team USA.

Like Parker in 2016, Ogwumike’s collars’ appeal suggests her choice shouldn’t be called into question. She has a proven track record with USA Basketball, starting when she was a member of the USA Under-18 team that won gold at the 2008 NBA Championships. In 2014 and 2018, Ogwumike won the gold medal at the World Cup as a member of the USA team. She was also one of eight key players to commit to the 2019 NBA coaching program. Of course, her WNBA career is impressive as well, most notably the MVP and championship in 2016. Ogwumike is also the president of the WNBPA.

In a social media post, Shini Shini Ogwomiki expressed her disappointment and injustice felt by Nika and her supporters.

The opaque selection process has inspired both of them panic And the conspiratorial thinking. The selection panel is made up of national team manager Carol Callan, former Team USA head coach and longtime UConn head coach Geno Auriemma, former Olympian and current Minnesota Lynx assistant coach Katie Smith, Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller, and WNBA Chief Operating Officer Bethany Donavin. When asked about the team selection process, Miller objected, indicating that Callan should address any questions. According to NBA policy, the national team manager does not comment on the details of the selection process.

Since no satisfactory explanation will be given for Ogwumike’s exclusion, the best we can do is try to understand how Ogwumike ended up outside of Team USA. More than concerns about Ogwumike’s knee injury seem to have bothered her. Team USA’s ambivalent spirit, along with questions about the relationship between 3×3 and 5×5 teams, also contributed to the Ogwumike controversy.

Regarding her injury, Ogwumike deserved the benefit of the doubt

Head coach Don Staley, who had no say in the team selection, noted that Ogwomic’s knee injury greatly affected her leaving Team USA. In the availability of the media, I participated:

It really breaks my heart that Nika is not in this team. I mean, if we had to make a decision a month from now… I’m sure she’d be healthy.

However, stress too much That the expected timetable for recovery from Ogwumike will allow her to participate without issue. As Los Angeles Sparks coach Derek Fisher Put it in a press conference:

You can try to get rid of the infection if you wish; I’m calling BS on that too. The schedule does not add that it is not available to play during the Olympics. We respect other players, and are happy with those who made it. But you can in no way tell me that you put together a team and left Nneka away from it, and try to say that it makes sense and adds more, because it is not.

It should also be noted that Ogwumike wasn’t the only prospective Olympian with injury concerns.

As she returned to court last weekend, Diana Torres’ condition was called into question when the team was named last week. Sunday play, her first game since May 21, allayed any doubts. However, not only did Torassi suffer a broken sternum earlier this season, but the injuries have stalled in her last two seasons in the NBA. Team USA’s two older female statesmen – Sue Bird and Sylvia Fowles – also struggled with injury-stained 2020 seasons. Although both were fit and in great form in 2021, their ages, like that of Torassi, make the possibility of injury a real concern.

In short, if there was such doubt about Ogwumike’s ability to be ready to play, even when his recovery timeline indicated otherwise, shouldn’t the prospect of older players with a recent injury history be a reason to hold back?

Given the date that Taurasi and Bird are preparing to make in Tokyo, it seems impossible to imagine their exclusion. However, this is part of the problem. It can be assumed that the Taurasi and the birds will be given Every benefit of doubt Regarding their preparation for the Olympics; Ogwumike not. And while she’s not a four-time Olympian, her experience with USA Basketball and in the WNBA, as described above, suggests she deserves similar treatment.

Instead, the selection committee decided to evaluate Ogwumike very cautiously.

Should ‘Loyalty’ or ‘Future’ be Team USA’s #1 priority?

Ogwumike’s approach reflects the paradoxical, or at least inconspicuous, ethos of American basketball.

Should a proven commitment to NBA determine who makes the Olympic team, and reward players for their long-term dedication? Or, should the Olympic team be more future-oriented, prioritizing up-and-coming players regardless of their previous experience with NBA?

These questions covered Team USA (pre-COVID) bootcamp rosters and show games. As noted at the time, that players who have recovered from recent injuries dominated training and the display lists were a little weird. In preparation for what was then expected to be the 2020 Olympics, shouldn’t NBA organize a highly competitive training environment? In contrast, NBA appears to prioritize loyalty, allowing players with a history with Team USA to use the program to rediscover their form rather than inviting more fresh faces.

This was an acceptable approach. However, now in the summer of 2021, it seems that this spirit of loyalty hasn’t extended to Ogwumike, despite her participation in all of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 NBA events.

For, NBA also wants to look to the future, and begin to pass the torch on to the next generation of Team USA. For the first time ever, three members of Team USA Under 24: Aja Wilson, Ariel Atkins and Nafisa Collier.

While including younger players on the roster has been standard practice for Team USA – from Bird and Torassi in 2004 to Brenna Stewart in 2016 – the record for young players is notable, especially when these young players are rewarded with a place on the USA. Basketball lover has not yet participated in the Olympics for the first time.

As has been the case in this millennium, Team USA has attempted to connect the needle between honoring long-term loyalty and looking to the future, with a more significant tilt toward the future than previous Olympics. However, the execution led to the knot – Nneka Ogwumike was the WNBA’s best player to never make an Olympic team.

There seems to be a way to avoid this puzzle. Although it is mostly left un-articleIt can be assumed that most critics of Ogwumike’s exclusion would ask her to replace Collier or Atkins.

Collier was originally scheduled to play Team USA 3 x 3 points for a seemingly obvious solution. However, the relationship between Team USA 3×3 and 5×5 is a bit unclear, which raises more questions.

The selection process for Team USA 3×3 is also worth checking out

In February 2020USA Basketball has announced that Collier, Kelsey Bloom, Alisha Gray and Stephanie Dolson will be the first USA 3×3 qualifier team.

Post COVID-19 Delayed QualificationAnd the Olympics and everything else, Collier has been replaced by UConn bestieKatie Lou Samuelson in Team 3×3. Presumably, based on the strong 2020 WNBA season, Collier “graduated” in serious consideration for the 5×5 Olympic team. That makes sense; It has been replaced with Samuelson no.

The Team USA pool is filled with players who have done more in their WNBA career than Samuelson, who is on her third team in three seasons. Why were Samuelson, as well as Plum, Gray and Dolson, named to the 3×3 team? For all the scrutiny about choosing a 5×5 Team USA team, choosing a 3×3 team is even more baffling. That the team includes two UConn alum and one South Carolina alum using additional fuel accusations of favoritism and politics.

Even if USA Basketball declines to comment on player selection, it would be helpful to clarify the relationship between 3×3 and 5×5 Team USA. Do players actually “graduate” from considering 3×3 to 5×5? Is a 3×3 team an incubator for younger players? Do the players in the group decide whether they want to be considered for both the 3×3 and 5×5 teams or just the 5×5 team? Since 3×3 and 5×5 hoops are different games, it is understandable if some players, especially older players, are not interested in 3×3. However, it is the knowledge of the players under consideration for which team will provide the required clarity.

Instead, questions only abound. In particular, why weren’t Collier and/or Atkins named on the 3×3 team, allowing the Ugomike to claim their deserved spot on the 5×5 team?

From now on, NBA should implement a modified and more transparent selection process.

Wide support for Nika

While nothing can replace the opportunity to represent one country at the Olympics, perhaps all the support Ogwumike has received – from her Los Angeles Sparks legend Goon Squad teammate – She can slightly lift her spirits.

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