Lisa Bluder reacts to Caitlin Clark’s Olympics omission

One of the biggest storylines in the world of sports over the past few days has been USA Basketball leaving Caitlin Clark off its 2024 Paris Olympics roster.

The 12-player roster was selected for experience over exposure and the youthful superstardom that Clark would have provided.

Team USA’s decision to omit Clark from its 2024 Olympics roster sparked plenty of debate and reaction from sports fans.

Now, Clark’s former head coach at Iowa, Lisa Bluder, sounded off on the subject. In an interview with Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, Bluder shared her reaction to the news.

“I obviously would love to have seen her on that team. She’s represented USA Basketball many times. She’s won three gold medals, but we have to remember, it is the hardest team to make anywhere. It is the hardest team to make and the 12 women that they have chosen are exceptional women.

“The only but I have is, what about the future? Because this team has not lost a game since 1992. A game they haven’t lost. So, they’re a great group. They’re experienced. There’s no doubt we’re going to win another gold medal in Paris, but what about the fact that in four years we’re going to be playing in LA. How are we preparing for that? That would be my only thought,” Bluder said.

Asked which player might be the next Sue Bird or great leader for USA Basketball, Bluder wasn’t ready to say definitively that it was Clark. But, coach Bluder knows the type of potential that Clark possesses and took a moment to share what she feels is one of the silver linings of Clark’s omission from the Olympics roster.

“Yeah, I couldn’t answer that, Sally. I’m not sure, but I think it would’ve benefited Caitlin if she would’ve had another year of experience and maybe not be coming right off of her collegiate season where she’s pretty tired as you can see in her play right now. When she’s tired, she struggles a little bit. When she’s fresh as in the other night, she has 30 points. So, her body needs a rest and the silver lining is that her body will get some rest during this break and I think that’s what we have to focus on is the silver lining to this whole deal,” Bluder said.

Clark’s new head coach in the WNBA, Indiana Fever head coach Christie Sides, shared an interesting nugget after Clark’s exclusion from the USA Basketball roster. Sides said that Clark told her in a text message that the Olympics snub “woke a monster.”

Bluder was asked if she’s shared any similar moments with Clark during their time together at Iowa.

“Yeah, not those exact words but certainly I mean any time that somebody doubts her, somebody says she can’t do something, she’s going to go prove them wrong. So, definitely she’s in a position to really be motivated highly to continue growing her game and being successful and making the next Olympics in four years,” Bluder said.

It should indeed be motivating for Clark and Clark said as much this past Sunday.

“I’m excited for the girls that are on the team. I know it’s the most competitive team in the world and I know it could have gone either way, me being on the team or me not being on the team. I’m going to be rooting them on to win gold. I was a kid that grew up watching the Olympics, so it will be fun to watch them.

“Honestly, no disappointment. It just gives me something to work for. It’s a dream. Hopefully one day I can be there. I think it’s just a little more motivation. You remember that. Hopefully when four years comes back around, I can be there,” Clark said.

Clark and the Fever return to action on Thursday at 6 p.m. versus the Atlanta Dream.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire