TopOfTheCircle.com

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April 27, 2016 — When depth may not be an asset

Remember this?

Today, this happened.

And as we thought in February, the decision on which 13 players to cut was a difficult one. Amongst those who did not make the final roster were former WNBA MVP Candace Parker, two-time Lieberman Award winner Skylar Diggins, five-time WNBA All-Star Candice Dupree, and the Ogwumike sisters, Chiney and Nnemkadi.

That’s an awful lot of talent left off the Olympic roster.

Which means that there is an awful lot of talent on the roster. Look at the player positions, and four of them are swing players: Elena Delle Donne, Seimone Augustus, and Angel McCoughtrey are guard-forwards, and Breanna Stewart is a forward-center.

Social media has been aflutter over the last two days since it was leaked that Parker was not going to make the team despite her experience and her leadership in a four-game European tour last October.

But, as Mechelle Voepel at espnW observes, “There’s no such thing as an ‘until you retire’ appointment to the national team.”

And it’s important to break this down a bit. It used to be, especially in USA Field Hockey, a tenure system where veteran players could simply show up at “A” Camp, have one good week of practice and scrimmages, and renew their gold cards for the next year.

Instead, most national teams have selection camps from which a side is chosen in time for a major world tournament, as is the case with soccer.

It’s also important to note here that, while Geno Auriemma is the head coach of the United States, and that five of his former players from the University of Connecticut are going to Rio with him, it’s one fewer than the number of UConn alumnae who went to London.

Too, the team was selected by USA Basketball’s Carol Callan, the WNBA’s Renee Brown, veteran WNBA/ABL coach Dan Hughes, Chris Sienko of the Connecticut Sun, and New York Liberty assistant coach Katie Smith.

While this roster is being selected 100 days before Rio, anything can happen. This, especially given the wave of injuries that have befallen your current FIFA World Cup champions in the last several weeks.

I have a feeling Parker’s phone is going to be ringing sometime soon.

 

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