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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Taking a stab at picking U.S. Olympic team

The U.S. Olympic team will be announced at a press conference in Denver in about 5 hours so I thought this would be a perfect time for me to throw out there who I would pick if I were on the committee (and the U.S. team's championship hopes increase dramatically because I am not).

I will start with who I see as the core players.

Seimone Augustus
Sue Bird
Tamika Catchings
Tina Charles
Sylvia Fowles
Angel McCoughtry
Maya Moore
Candace Parker
Diana Taurasi

That leaves three spots. I would think Baylor's Brittney Griner gets one of them as her shot-blocking ability and size could be of great help against the huge frontlines of some of the other gold-medal contenders. That leaves two spots remaining.

In my eyes one will go to a combination forward. I would say that the top candidates would be Candice Dupree and former UConn stars Swin Cash and Asjha Jones. I don't think there is a wrong choice here. Jones is one of the most versatile players around and as good of a teammate as there is while Cash is a former gold medal winner and was the United States' second-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder in the most recent slate of exhibition games played by the squad. However I'm going with Dupree. She started five of the nine games during the World Championships, led by team in rebounding (pulling down six per game in just 16.6 minutes), was the fourth leading scorer (9.2 a game) and had a 10/3 assist/turnover ratio.

That leaves one spot that should be given to a point guard or at least somebody with the skill set to run the point during the Olympics. The wild card is Cappie Pondexter. There's no question that she is one of the most talented players around but she was a no show at one training camp and did not wow U.S. coach Geno Auriemma when she was at training camp. I'd be surprised to see her make the ream. If I had to pick I'd go with Lindsay Whalen over Kara Lawson and Renee Montgomery. Whalen is a pro's pro and was rock solid in the World Championships. So there's the team I would select

Seimone Augustus
Sue Bird
Tamika Catchings
Tina Charles
Candice Dupree
Sylvia Fowles
Brittney Griner
Angel McCoughtry
Maya Moore
Candace Parker
Diana Taurasi
Lindsay Whalen

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Steve Walsh said...

Jim -

Do you know if USA Basketball will announce 3 Alternates today?

Has the USA WNT played Griner and Tina or Giner and Big Syl in high-low post offense and zone defense - in games or practices?

I assume Griner stays planted in the paint when the USA is in a Zone, while Tina or Big Syl plays when the USA is in player on player defense.

Catchings, Angel, and Griner on defense - there are no words to describe the potential lock down defense there.

As far as the 12th spot, is there a Greater need for a PG-SG combo or a SF-PF combo?

If Griner, Tina, and Big Syl all make the 12 player roster, those are 3 players who are Not known for Ball Handling and 3PT Shooting.

Maya is not a ball handler, although she has improved since UConn days.

Thanks, Jim.

1:00 PM 
Anonymous Joe said...

It was my understanding that Geno had no "direct" say in picking the members of the squad?

(which is not to say that the people who do pick the squad wouldn't listen to him...)

3:20 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

I would say that with Bird, Whalen and Taurasi they have three people who can run the offense. If they needed another I guess they would try to make due with an Augustus or Moore.

I have not heard whether the alternates would be named today.

Geno is not on the committee but he certainly has made him opinions known. That doesn't nean that the team will be the 12 players he would have picked but I would guess it's pretty close.

3:43 PM 
Anonymous Steve Walsh said...

Maybe the USA committee is waiting to see if Griner becomes super assertive and totally dominates both ends of the floor in the Final Four.

Maybe the committee is looking to see how Griner reacts if things do not go her way in the Final Four.

Maybe the USA committee is testing Griner by not naming her in the 12th spot today.

Geno is not the only one who plays mind games.

6:39 PM 
Blogger Jim Fuller said...

I would disagree with the idea that they are testing Griner. I would say it is more likely they don't want to add any distractions and not have her have to answer about not be focused on the task at hand if Baylor were to lose at the Final Four. Of course that is merely my opinion and we will see what happens when they name the 12th Olympian.

10:30 PM 

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