Why is Sabrina Ionescu not on the US team’s roster for the 2021 Olympics?

If you have followed the women’s basketball team in the past few years, you might have this reaction to the 12-member list of the senior women’s national team announced by the US basketball team for the Olympics:

Wait, isn’t it Sabrina Ionescu?

However, if you have been paying close attention to WNBA basketball recently, you may know why. Ionescu’s rookie season in 2020 ended after three games, due to a serious ankle injury that resulted in offseason surgery. This affected her ability to participate in several training camps for the senior national team and the 3×3 team that will also compete in Tokyo.

National team selection committee chairman Carol Karan told Sports News that American basketball “definitely” appreciates Ionescu’s talent and potential.

more: View the Olympic basketball roster for the U.S. team

“Sabrina played a lot with us,” Karan said. “I’ve known her since she was 14 years old. I tell this story… For our U-16 project, we invited 35 athletes to participate in the trials. We have an open application that allows about 150 children to participate because we are very It’s easy to admit that the women’s competition is not developed enough, so that everyone knows who the top 30 is. In Sabrina’s first year, she was an applicant. She was not invited.

“Sabrina participated in the trial training and made it clear that she needs to be selected for the team.”

Ionescu won the gold medal with the U-16 team at the FIBA​​ Americas Championship, and then played for the U.S. basketball team that won the 2014 FIBA​​ U17 World Cup in the following summer.

During her stay in Oregon, she was invited to be part of the 3×3 project because FIBA ​​initially told the countries that the Olympic qualifiers will be held in the summer of 2019, when the WNBA season is competing and professional players will not be able to participate in the competition. This means that the U.S. basketball team involves college players. Ionescu became a 3×3 gold medalist at the 2019 Pan American Games.

more: Sabrina Ionescu and Kobe Bryant’s friendship timeline

The 3X3 Olympic qualifiers were subsequently rescheduled in March 2020 and then postponed to May 2021 due to the pandemic. The United States easily advanced with a 6-0 record, led by Kelsey Plum of the Las Vegas Aces and Alisha Gray of the Dallas Wings.

Ionescu is a 5-11-year-old point guard from Walnut Creek, California. He played four seasons in Oregon and became the NCAA career triple-double leader and the only one to score 2,000. Player with points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. She was a sensation in her senior year in Oregon in the 2019-20 season, which is different from what we see in the women’s competition. She became the National Player of the Year, but her chance of leading the Ducks to the Final Four was ruined by the COVID-19 pandemic.

She became the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft, and the New York Liberty was fortunate to get her rights. But she is still recovering to her pre-injury state. In 11 games this season, Ionescu averaged 12.1 points and 6.3 assists per game, shooting 33% from the field. In her only three games last season, the figures were 18.3%, 4.0% and 45.2%.

Because women’s national team players often have different schedules, including playing overseas games or working as coaches during the WNBA offseason, the U.S. basketball team held several training camps during this period to help get as many players together as possible. Together, even if not all are available at any time. These training camps helped win six consecutive gold medals. Ionescu was unable to compete due to injury.

“It is important to stay healthy to reach some of them,” Karan said. “There is absolutely no problem, except for this simple fact. I expect Sabrina to be part of our national team going forward. For a long time.”

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