Saturday, April 30, 2016

Sparks coach Agler: “You’ve got to make basketball decisions based on basketball”

Sparks coach Brian Agler had some words today about Candace Parker's Olympic Team snub.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Like the sands through the hour glass........

WNBA team news:

The Mystics are waiting for more than half of their team to arrive home from overseas.

A new coach, a returning superstar and quality draft picks give the Sun a shiny new outlook.

WNBA player news:

Crystal Langhorne welcomes fellow post player Breanna Stewart to the Storm.

Stewart embraces the pressure to elevate the Storm.

Chiney Ogwumike came to the rescue when a reporter ripped his pants during Sun media day.

Connecticut rookie Rachel Banham has the green light in camp.

League news:

How the WNBA can succeed in North Texas.

First training camp cuts:

April 29, 2016

Team Player Transaction


Atlanta Roy, Tina Waived
Atlanta Thompson, Amanda Waived
San Antonio Martin, Brittney Waived
San Antonio Adams, Danielle Waived

Olympics news:

Best players who never made the Olympics.

College team/program news:

Valparaiso is extra-motivated after the departure of a key player.

Former Tar Heel Erlana Larkins says the NCAA's allegations against North Carolina are bogus.

College player news:

Guard Jasmine Cincore has decided to remain at Nebraska.

Brandi Harvey-Carr and Elri Liebenberg will transfer from DePaul.

College coach news:

Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly spoke today about the lawsuit filed against him by former player Nikki Moody, and said he wouldn't change anything about their relationship.

Fennelly isn't interested in settling the lawsuit.

Could South Carolina assistant coach Nikki McCray-Penson take the Vanderbilt job? It's up to the search committee.

Kentucky's athletic director is confident that coach Matthew Mitchell will get the program back on track.

State of the game:

One writer says there is too much drama in women's basketball. The bottom line, she says, is that the game is growing; these are the growing pains. I agree.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Another day in basketball paradise

WNBA team news:

The Liberty is optimistic it can continue its recent success.

Promise is on the horizon for the Sun.

WNBA player news:

Finally healthy, Storm guard Monica Wright is eager to begin her first season with her new team.

Sun rookie Jonquel Jones' long road to the WNBA.

Rookie teammate Jamie Weisner should prove to be one tough cookie.

A third Sun rookie, Morgan Tuck, already has a pro pedigree. She was thrilled to remain in Connecticut.

Transactions today:

Team Player Transaction

Chicago Lyon, Maggie Waived
Connecticut Baker, Brandie Contract Signed
Dallas Baugh, Vicki Waived

Candace Parker omission discussion continues:

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel weighs in again: still trying to make sense of Parker exclusion.

Maria Cornelius sums up the issues nicely in this piece.

Other Olympic team news:

Angel McCoughtry's college coach, Jeff Walz, is impressed with her adaptability.

College team/program news:

Kentucky's AD discusses issues within the women's basketball program.

College player news:

The NCAA has approved a medical hardship waiver for Gonzaga's Elle Tinkle.

It's another busy summer for UConn's Kia Nurse.

College coach news:

Louisville coach Jeff Walz is excited about the Cardinals.

Louisiana Tech's new coach says the team can capitalize on their recent notoriety.

Texas' new assistant coach is Jamie Carey. How poetic is that?

Jim Foster's contract at Chattanooga has been extended through 2021-2022.

Virginia Tech coach Kenny Brooks has made staff additions.

New Mexico coach Mike Bradbury is bringing energy to the team's offense.

Vanderbilt is looking at coaching options with in-state ties.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

More "wow"s

What a week, and it's only Wednesday

WNBA team news:

The Dallas Wings want you to know they're not playing your mother's basketball.

WNBA player news:

Mystics guard Kara Lawson will sit out the first half of the season, and may retire.

Kelsey Minato is on leave from the Army while she tries out for the San Antonio Stars.

The Sky's Cheyenne Parker discusses the offseason and this season.

Elizabeth Williams and Bria Holmes are turning heads at Dream camp.

WNBA transactions:

April 27, 2016

Team Player Transaction


New York Lacy, Jennifer Contract Signed
Seattle Whyte, Davellyn Waived
Atlanta Braxton, Kara Waived
New York Tarakchian, Annie Waived
New York Ballard, Danielle Waived

College player news:

Why are so many leaving Kentucky?

Iowa transfer Whitney Jennings has landed at Butler.

Former Clemson post player Justice Wright has transferred to Auburn.

Evansville guards Camille Coleman and Taloni Reese are transferring.

College coach news:

Kentucky coach Matthew Mitchell takes the responsibility for the upheaval in the program.

Mitchell Q&A.

SMU coach Travis Mays has announced his coaching staff.

Geno Auriemma had been suffering from the flu and a bronchial infection when he was hospitalized after the Final Four earlier this month.

Camryn Whitaker said it was best she moved on from Kentucky's staff.

Olympics news:

Opals' coach Brendan Joyce believes Liz Cambage can deliver for Australia at the games.

He also says Candace Parker is one of the world's top three players. DUH.

USA Basketball names Olympic Team

My write up.

Hey, there's always Olympic track and field to watch.

Olympic team named

Olympic team named.

So, Breanna Stewart over two-time Olympian and two-time WNBA MVP Candace Parker, huh?

Right.

But notice that some of the same folks crying foul now are the ones who hyped Stewart all season long.

First time in my life I am indifferent to the Olympic basketball team. I'm trying to feel differently, but so far no luck. I don't like it when people are used as political pawns.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The ups and the downs

Candace Parker reacts to being cut from Olympic team:

She kept it classy, of course.

The Olympic door has opened for Breanna Stewart since Parker was omitted. (No surprise there)

Former Mercury coach Corey Gaines is working with Japan's National Team. If you're not feeling as enthusiastic for Team USA anymore, you could always cheer for Japan.

WNBA player news:

Dream guard Shoni Schimmel has shown up for training camp out of shape for the second consecutive year, and coach Michael Cooper is extremely disappointed.

Storm guard Jewell Loyd wants to be among the greats.

Lindsay Whalen, Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles aren't at Lynx practice for a reason.

Chiney Ogwumike is pleased to be back with the Sun.

Becca Tobin is getting a second chance at the WNBA with the Sparks.

WNBA coach news:

New Sun coach Curt Miller is eager to get going.

College team news:

The Kentucky exodus continues, as a player decommits.

The NCAA is scapegoating North Carolina women's basketball for the school's academic fraud issues.

Another lawsuit: a former College of Charleston player is suing the school for gross negligence on the part of the coaching staff.

College player news:

Florida State's Leticia Romero aims to make Spain's Olympic team.

College coach news:

Vanderbilt has released coach Melanie Balcomb.

Guess who's back at Kentucky as an assistant coach? Kyra Elzy.

This move follows yesterday's resignation of assistant coach Tamika Williams-Jeter.

Full court press on Florida coach Amanda Butler.

Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina WBB, and true desolation.

Jimmy Garrity is Wofford's new coach.

Monday, April 25, 2016

We are gathered here today to get through this thing called life

WNBA team news:

The Mercury opened training camp today.

For the Lynx and their new players, camp opened with introductions.

Two Minnesota starters Seimone Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson could miss all of preseason.

Youth is served for the Stars.

WNBA player news:

After missing last season, Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike is ready to go.

All eyes are on Breanna Stewart at Storm camp.

Q&A with Minnesota's Renee Montgomery.

Mystics guard Kara Lawson is pondering retirement.

Rookie Whitney Knight had a good start at Sparks camp, she says.

WNBA coach/GM news:

For Stars general manager Ruth Riley's second act.....

Q&A with Dallas Wings general manager Greg Bibb.

Mystics coach Mike Thibault talks about what to expect this season.

WNBA transactions:

April 25, 2016

Team Player Transaction


Phoenix Fields, Nirra Contract Signed
Minnesota McLaren, Kaili Contract Signed
Minnesota Wallace, Sydney Contract Signed
Washington Galdeira, Lia Contract Signed
San Antonio Thornton, Kayla Waived
Seattle Enemkpali, Nneka Waived

College team news:

North Carolina's women's basketball team might get hit hardest with NCAA sanctions - more than men's basketball and football. (WHAT?)

College player news:

Kentucky freshman Batouly Camara will transfer.

Shakeela Fowler has left Illinois State.

College coach news:

It's 2016, and coaches still don't feel comfortable coming out.

Nebraska's new assistant coaches will be paid $140,000 each.

USA Basketball leaving Candace Parker off the Olympic Team roster

They're leaving WHO off the Olympic Team roster?

USA Basketball has decided not to include Los Angeles Sparks star Candace Parker on the final 12-player roster that will represent the United States at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this August, sources close to the situation told ESPN.....

When contacted Monday, USA Basketball declined to comment.

Parker is a two-time Olympic gold medalist (2008 and '12) and two-time WNBA MVP (2008 and '13).

She was informed of USA Basketball's decision not to include her for Rio last week, sources said.

Last October during USA Basketball's four-game European tour, Parker had a triple-double. She averaged a team-high 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds in helping the U.S. women to a 4-0 record.


WHAT?

And more importantly, WHY?

So Parker is one of the weakest players on this roster?

Obviously not. I can name off each player who should be cut before her, but I don't want to be rude.

ESPN's Mechelle Voepel illuminates this:

But of the 10 players who competed, Parker was statistically the best overall performer. How do you go from that to six months later being left off the Olympic team? How is that possible?......

And explores possible reasons why she was omitted:

Others will say it came down to chemistry/personality clashes. To that end, some will see this as evidence that USA Basketball has turned into Club UConn in the past eight years with Huskies coach Geno Auriemma guiding the senior national team. And that Tennessee grad Parker was outside of that clique, and thus deemed more expendable. (Six of the 12 Olympians in 2012 were former Huskies.)

I'm sure USA Basketball will insist college affiliation was totally irrelevant in how the team was picked by the selection committee. I'm equally sure that many Tennessee and Sparks fans will believe the committee members rubber-stamped what they knew Auriemma wanted. And never the twain shall meet.

But even if you don't think this is some kind of personality conflict that goes way back, it's still jarring to think Parker will not be on the Olympic team.....

Still, this is Candace Parker. Can you picture an NBA player of her age, experience, ability and accomplishment being left off the men's Olympic team if he'd played in two previous Olympics and remained eager to be a part of it again? Can you imagine being Parker right now and not feeling utterly stunned and angry?


USA Basketball declined to comment, but politics come to mind immediately.

Parker was left out of game action in London for extended periods of time, and fans speculated it was because Auriemma didn't like her. As with poor officiating, we'll never know for sure if there was animosity involved. But it looks like it now.

Auriemma has been hinting at retirement of late. Perhaps having half of the Olympic Team comprised of former UConn players last time wasn't good enough for him as his career winds down?

If Auriemma/USA Basketball is upset about her taking half of last WNBA season off, then why aren't they carrying a grudge against Brittney Griner, who flat out turned down the invitation four years ago to tend to family matters?

There's no justification for leaving Candace Parker off the Olympic Team roster. Her skills and abilities are among the world's best. Is USA Basketball really that confident that we're so much farther ahead than the rest of the world's nations that they can omit one of our best players? With the decision to exclude Parker from the roster, they have leveled the playing field.

Idiotic. Unfathomable. Beyond reason. Shame on you, USA Basketball.

This is the first time in my life that someone has stunk up the Summer Olympic Games before they even began.

Fortunately, any ill feelings Parker likely had over this decision seem to be well under her control. I had a great interview with her after the first day of Sparks training camp yesterday, and she was relaxed and at ease. She gave no indication of getting any bad news last week.

Parker, who just turned 30 last week, seems to be settling into her ever-burgeoning wisdom with a lot of grace. And she hasn't commented on the situation today. I do appreciate that someone who has been so disrespected is demonstrating that much class.