The top pick in the WNBA draft recently expressed her aspiration to represent Team USA at the Olympics as a cherished goal. With Caitlin Clark’s WNBA premiere just around the corner, speculation arises regarding her potential participation in the Paris Olympics scheduled for July.

The Caitlin Clark Effect -

Aged 22, Clark is under consideration for the Team USA women’s basketball roster, as confirmed by Jennifer Rizzotti, the chair of the selection committee, in an interview with The Associated Press. Nevertheless, the NCAA’s Division I all-time leading scorer must demonstrate her capabilities in the initial weeks of the season. According to Rizzotti, the competition is fierce among six talented American guards, including Clark, vying for a coveted spot on the team.

Rizzotti emphasized the importance of incorporating new talent into the player pool, whether for immediate or future purposes. She outlined the selection criteria, which encompass talent, positional suitability, loyalty, and experience, stressing the need for a comprehensive assessment. However, she acknowledged the inherent challenges in the selection process, acknowledging that fairness may elude some candidates.

Clark’s absence from the previous Team USA try-out stemmed from her commitment to competing in the NCAA National Championship with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Additionally, she faces formidable competition for a roster position, contending with established guards such as Diana Taurasi, Chelsea Gray, Ariel Atkins, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu.

The retirement of Sue Bird in 2022 created an opening for a guard position on the Team USA roster, which adds further intrigue to Clark’s prospects. Despite her prominence in women’s basketball, securing a spot on the team is far from guaranteed. Historically, rookies seldom make the cut, with Breanna Stewart being the last to achieve the feat in 2016.

Caitlin Clark poses with WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected first overall pick by the Indiana Fever during the 2024 WNBA Draft at Brooklyn Academy of Music on April 15, 2024 in New York City.
Obviously [Clark is] a great player and what she’s been able to accomplish in college, and now she’s taking it to the next level in the WNBA, and we’ll see how things go,” Stewart, 29, recently told The Los Angeles Times. “Obviously what I want to do is play alongside the other players that are named on this roster. I don’t know what that’s going to be, but I’m sure Caitlin has played USA Basketball before and I don’t think her time with USA Basketball is going to be done anytime soon.

The Des Moines, Iowa, native told reporters during a press conference at the NCAA Tournament this month that playing for Team USA at the upcoming Olympics “would be a dream,” according to CBS Sports.

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Iowa Hawkeyes shoots the ball over Ashlynn Shade #12 of the UConn Huskies in the first half during the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament Final Four semifinal game at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on April 05, 2024

And Clark wants that dream to begin sooner than later.

You always want to grow up and be on the Olympic team,” she said, getting asked about having to decline her invite to Team USA’s tryouts because of the Final Four. “Lucky for me, I have the opportunity to possibly not doing that because I want to be at the Final Four playing basketball with my team. But if not, that’s where I’ll be. People that are on that roster are people that I idolize and have idolized growing up. So just to be extended a camp invite is something you have to be proud of and celebrate and enjoy.

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If Clark doesn’t make Team USA’s five-on-five squad, there is the potential she could represent the country on the women’s three-on-three team. But five-on-five is the goal, she told the AP.

It’s where I want to be,” Clark said. “Three-on-three is really cool, I’ve just never done it. But 5-on-5 is the goal and the dream. To play with the best in the world and against the best in the world, you can’t script it better than that.”

The American women’s basketball team’s Olympic roster is scheduled to be announced sometime after June 1, the AP reported. The Fever open their regular season against the Phoenix Sun on May 14.