Caitlin Clark will be left off the Team USA roster for Paris Olympics, source says

Caitlin Clark, the WNBA rookie sensation and all-time college scoring leader, is set to be left home when the U.S. national team travels to the Paris Olympics, a source familiar with the decision told NBC News on Saturday.

The formal announcement of Team USA’s roster has not been made, but the squad headed to the international competition will include 12 veterans, the source said.

The roster is set to include such WNBA stars as Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson and New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart, the source told NBC News.

“We have not made any official announcement yet,” a Team USA spokesperson said.

The decision about Clark’s absence was first reported by The Athletic.

Clark is coming off her best game yet in her short pro career, pouring in 30 points and sinking seven 3-pointers in the Indiana Fever’s 85-83 win at the Washington Mystics on Friday.

She was named the WNBA’s rookie of the month for May, though her time in the league hasn’t been completely smooth so far.

Her long-range shooting has been inconsistent, with her making 32.7% of her 3-point attempts against a league average of 32.6%.

She’s been plagued by an average of more than five turnovers per game for a total of 67 giveaways, the most in the league.

So her absence from a Team USA roster that’ll be seeking an eighth consecutive gold medal for America can certainly be justified from a pure on-the-court standpoint.

But by leaving Clark at home, USA Basketball is passing on an opportunity to add additional buzz to the competition.

Her mere presence in the WNBA has transformed the league into a hot ticket and must-see TV.

Teams have been moving to larger arenas when Indiana visits to accommodate new fans eager to spend their money on WNBA games.

Squads are even flying charter this season, a perk long sought by players that has finally come in this time of explosive growth in the women’s game.

Clark was the WNBAs overall No. 1 pick back in April, coming off a four-year University of Iowa career in which she scored a record 3,951 points.

The two-time national player of the year led the Hawkeyes to consecutive NCAA championship games.

Rookies have been on past Olympic squads.

The 2016 team that went to Rio included Stewart, then in her first year with the Seattle Storm and fresh off her award-filled career at the University of Connecticut.

The 2008 team that competed in Beijing included then first-year WNBA players Candace Parker and Sylvia Fowles.

While Clark’s legion of fans may be disappointed with this decision, she’s far from the only top WNBA player who didn’t make the Olympic squad.

The roster is expected to be Wilson, Stewart, Griner, Diana Taurasi, Alyssa Thomas, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, Sabrina Ionescu, Chelsea Gray and Kahleah Copper, the source told NBC News.

That group also did not include Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale, the Milwaukee native who is second in the league in scoring at 26.6 points per game.

Los Angeles Sparks forward and Georgia native Dearica Hamby was also left off Team USA even though she’s the WNBA’s fifth-highest scorer at 20.6 points per game.

If Clark ends up not going to Paris, her next Olympic opportunity would come in 2028 when she’ll be 26 and possibly headed to Los Angeles.

Team USAs first game in the upcoming Olympics is set for July 29 against Japan, with tipoff set for 3 p.m. ET in Lille, France.

This article was originally published on