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When the Team USA women’s basketball roster was announced, and Caitlin Clark’s name wasn’t on it, the reaction was predictable if also disappointing.  

On one side, there are people bashing Team USA, saying that the attention Clark would bring, even as a bench player, would more than justify her being on the roster. On the other, there’s gloating from those who seem to want Clark to fail simply because of the hype surrounding her.  

The reality of the situation, as it so often does, lies somewhere in the middle. Would Clark undoubtably bring more eyes to the product, even if she barely played? Yes. But does she deserve to make the roster over any of the players that did? No, probably not.  

This is not a shot at Clark. She’s not responsible for the media circus that surrounds her, for the unworldly expectations that were placed on her before she had ever played a WNBA game. She’s a rookie, one who has been going non-stop since her senior season at Iowa began. With her talent, it doesn’t seem too far of a stretch to say that at some point in the future, she will make the Team USA roster. For now, a bit of a rest may not be the worst thing in the world. 

If anything, Clark deserves praise for how she has handled the drama. Her response to not making the team was a masterclass in something that so many who cover her seem to struggle with; being an adult.  

“I’m excited for the girls that are on the team,” Clark said. “I know it’s the most competitive team in the world and I know it could have gone either way — of me being on the team or me not being on the team, so I’m excited for them. 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. I think 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.” 

This is the perfect response, especially to those who think she should be on the team just for the attention she brings. Clark is a competitor; I’m sure it hurt to be left off the team, but she doesn’t want to be a side attraction. She wants to earn that honor of her own merit, and not just because she’d put some more butts in seats. Her reaction also gives no ammo to those that actively root for her downfall; the only way to deal with those people is for her to put her head down, work on her craft, and eventually prove them wrong. So far, that is exactly what she’s doing.  

During Monday’s edition of The Ride With JMV, John spoke about Caitlin Clark not making the Team USA roster with both Evan Sidery of Forbes Sports and Stephen Holder of ESPN. Listen to those conversations down below, and tune into The Ride With JMV weekdays from 3-6pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan! 

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