There should be “term limits” in USA Basketball National Team pool

USA Basketball revealed its 29-member National Team pool today:

PLAYER TEAM

Seimone Augustus Lynx
Sue Bird Storm
Tina Charles Liberty
Layshia Clarendon Dream
Napheesa Collier Connecticut
Elena Delle Donne Mystics
Skylar Diggins-Smith Wings
Stefanie Dolson Sky
Asia Durr Louisville
Sylvia Fowles Lynx
Brittney Griner Mercury
Tiffany Hayes Dream
Jantel Lavender Sparks
Jewell Loyd Storm
Kayla McBride Aces
Angel McCoughtry Dream
Kelsey Mitchell Ohio State
Maya Moore Lynx
Chiney Ogwumike Sun
Nneka Ogwumike Sparks
Kelsey Plum Aces
Katie Lou Samuelson Connecticut
Odyssey Sims Sparks
Breanna Stewart Storm
Diana Taurasi Mercury
Morgan Tuck Sun
Lindsay Whalen Lynx
Courtney Williams Sun
A’ja Wilson South Carolina

News release.

I’m glad to see the Ogwumikes, McBride, Diggins-Smith, Lavender, Williams, Dolson and Hayes finally make the roster. It’s also great to see collegians Mitchell, Wilson and Durr on the list.

Wondering why Tuck made it over Moriah Jefferson and how Sims could be named but not Chelsea Gray.

But what is really outrageous is to see Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi in this pool. Each has already won four gold medals. If both are chosen for the 2020 Tokyo Games roster, Bird will be 39 and Taurasi, 38.

Augustus and Fowles have each won three medals. They will be 36 and 34, respectively, at the next Olympics. Charles, McCoughtry, Moore and Whalen have all helped the U.S. win two gold medals.

When this country began its reign of winning in 1996, there weren’t as many great players as there are now, and there was less competition to make the roster. But the game has grown so much since then, and especially over the last six years or so. Today there is more parity both in college and in the pros, with greater talent spread farther and wider among different teams.

Keeping older players who have already won multiple gold medals on a roster deprives younger players from having a chance. If Nneka Ogwumike, Diggins-Smith and Chiney Ogwumike make the cut for Tokyo, they will be first-time Olympians at ages 30, 29 and 28, respectively. Given the fact that Nneka is a former WNBA MVP, in particular, is especially shameful.

With all due respect to the two, three and four-time gold medalists, I’d like to see some fresh blood in the pool instead. We have so many amazing players in the U.S., including Kalani Brown and Jordin Canada, who helped the U23 Team win a tournament this summer. Katelyn Flaherty, Tyler Scaife, Victoria Vivians, Arike Ogunbowale, Megan Gustafson, Stephanie Mavunga and Sabrina Ionescu are just a few more who have been burning up nets, hammering the boards and dishing dimes in a fashion this year that makes them over-qualified to try out for the Olympic team.

It’s not like the U.S. is in danger of losing to other countries if they let newcomers give it a go. Most every team we send to an international tournament ends up whipping opponent behinds by huge margins. The average cushion of victory in Rio last year was somewhere between outrageous and embarrassing. It has been like watching National Champions play community colleges, these last several Games.

Let the youngsters have their time in the sun; let them earn some hardware. Greed is not ethical.

Term limits for U.S. basketball Olympians. Two trips to the Olympics would be fair.

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