Saturday, April 30, 2016

Kelsey Bone speaks on Candace Parker omission

Connecticut Sun center Kelsey Bone says USA Basketball's omission of Candace Parker from the Olympic Team is due to a "personality conflict" between her and coach Geno Auriemma:

"Women's basketball and life in general is political. It's about who you know. I get it. Great. Fine. Dandy," Bone was saying Thursday at Mohegan Sun Arena. "But when you are talking about a player like Candace Parker and what she's done for women's basketball, the attention she's brought to the game and the resume she has, you'd be hard pressed to find a reason not to put her on the Olympic team.".....

"There is a personality conflict," Bone said. "But they are there for a month. They're not going be together for a whole season. (Auriemma) isn't going to coach her for the next 10 years of her career. We're trying to win a gold medal for a couple of weeks. But, yes, I do think there's a personality conflict."

Now comes Bone's true bone of contention: Why do personality conflicts appear to affect women's basketball more than men's basketball? As Auriemma has said many times: Women's basketball's biggest issue is that everyone has to be lovey-dovey all the time.

"In my opinion, in my small little bubble, it's a part of what's hindering our game from making the jump to mainstream. It's not always about who's the best player. It's not always about who plays the best basketball. A lot of times it's about who likes you and who doesn't. And that's only with women," Bone said.

"DeMarcus Cousins is the best post player in the (NBA) right now. His attitude is not always the best. But I think he might be in Rio. It's about putting the best players on the floor to win. We're going to win regardless. The rest of the world is afraid of us. When they see those three letters across our chest, there's a dominance that goes with being on Team USA.

"But the message you send to other young players is that you can work your ass off your whole career and if somebody doesn't like you, it means nothing. When (Auriemma) has had his issues with other coaches, he has said 'we don't have to all be friends. We don't have to all sing 'Kumbaya.' Which is true. At the end of the day, we're talking about adults. No one is going to the Olympics with USA Basketball and just be an ass.

"Candace does have a very big personality. But at the end of the day, why is it only in the women's game does that matter? You can say it's her reputation. You can say a lot of things. But all of those things have been there. There's not anything new that wasn't there in 2012 when she was the MVP in London."


WfanfrJump said...

Let me start by saying that I’m so thankful for your passion for women’s basketball. Your blog is one of the first things I check every day. As I fan of the game and supporter of the WNBA since inception, I want you to know that you are well appreciated, even from those of us who rarely, if ever, speak.

This week you’ve truly helped me not to lose my entire mind because honestly I’ve been pissed since Monday’s leak about the USAB roster. I kept hoping it was a mistake but in my heart, I knew it wasn’t. Over the week, my emotions about this have been on a roller coaster. Your words, Mechelle’s words, Brian’s words, Kelsey’s words, so many tweets and posts from every corner of the women’s bball community have given me some comfort in knowing we are collectively baffled by the level of BS!!! The sheer “volume” of the outcry has been utterly amazing!

Perhaps Kelsey hit the nail on the head and maybe this indeed is the issue. When I first read her comments, I was completely blown away by the level boldness she displayed. There are so many things that happen in the W that remain mysteries and so few who are able and/or willing to speak honestly. If her observations are true, women’s basketball is in a worse state than I thought. This foolishness helped to “run” many including two of our very best in Deanna Nolan and Becky Hammon to other countries seeking the opportunity to play in the Olympics. Being someone who has supported the league from day 1 and wants to see it grow, I’m reminded that we truly have work to do!

For the better part of the week, people discussed, dissected and compared the players. They are all very talented but considering skillset and experience, there simply is no comparison: I mean, who fills a stat sheet like Candace does? #NOBOOOODYYY! She is the epitome of versatility! There was no doubt in my mind that Candace would be in Rio! Much to my chagrin, it seems that USAB was so kind as to wish her “Happy Birthday” publicly and crush her hopes privately within the very same week!! I was livid upon reading the comments from Callan about CP playing a position where the team has strength. It is insulting and points to the fact they were well aware that the team had a weakness that needed to be addressed and PF was not it!! Further, Callan’s comments are along the line of those you use when maintaining the status quo, not when you are “excusing” someone who for nearly a decade has lent her talents and helped the USA Senior National team cultivate that strength!!!!! I know the decision is not all on her but she is the one speaking and I’m quite puzzled as to why young talent was so important in an area of strength and not where there is an unquestionable and detrimental weakness in the long term? There are a number of guards who are ready and could have flourished through this experience. Core to USAB’s success has been mentorship particularly for point guards. I’ve read articles and comments indicating that the committee wanted Candace to bear the brunt of this decision and say she needed more rest, more time with her family, etc. What on earth is this land of cowards?! Do you have any insight on where people have gotten that idea? Did I miss that in Callan’s comments somewhere?

WfanfrJump said...

As Brian said, it seems like they used her and the “omission” feels personal. I love all of the ladies on the team, but there appears to be a blinding level of nepotism and frankly, the optics have been suspect for a while. Even if that was not the intent, they had to know that the team composition would automatically garner backlash and suspicion. Maybe they didn’t know or knew and didn’t care….

I feel for her and am angry for her. No, Candace is not perfect (none of us are), but there is no denying that she is a BADDD GIRL! When you include the European tour, she has competed with every last one of these women and the result of her individual and the teams’ efforts have consistently been stellar! I looked back at an article from the 2012 gold medal game and the comments from her teammates were wonderful. I remember similar sentiments from players in some of the follow-up training camps. They seemed to love playing with her and watching her do what only she can do. Of course, the newly minted “best coach” of the tourney said “Geno” things and his comments about her (MVP and best center of the tournament) were quiet similar to what he has said about a number of his very gifted players.

I don’t know if there is a larger purpose in the midst of this but I simply wish Candace the very best in every area of her life. The resounding support for her and what she continues to bring to the game has been amazing! I didn’t realize this was her first full WNBA training camp. Wow!! Indeed, I’m hoping this is a good sign leading up to a breathtaking season. I am thankful that we have a league in the US that affords us the ability to see such talent on display. I love the W in general, but have been a Sparks fan since the first jump ball in 1997, sooooo #GOCP #BEASTBALLA #BEASTWIFE #BEASTMOM #GOSPARKS

Sue Favor said...

Hey there, my friend. Thank you sincerely, first of all, for your appreciating words. That means a lot to me. And I did chuckle at your "losing my entire mind" comment. I do share your sentiments on this state of BS with the Olympic roster. I am similarly impressed with Kelsey Bone's willingness to speak. She has more guts than many much older than her in this society where everyone is afraid to speak up.

I'm not, and I'll keep banging this drum. At this point, I don't even plan to watch women's Olympic basketball this summer; that's how irritated I am.

Have a great day.

Vicki Russo said...

Great and truthful comments indeed. I too lost my mind hearing Parker was to say nicely OMITTED from USA team. There's no one better end of story ! I'm glad to be a Sparks fan & feel lucky to watch such an awesome athlete in Parker.I join others and will boycott reading / viewing USA BB Team.Hopefully the coaching staff & the so called committee is changed for the future of the women's game.

WfanfrJump said...

Wow! I apologize for the length of my original comment. I couldn’t stop writing and thought about asking you if I could do a guest post entitled “CP, the Olympics and the Lost Art of Truth” but decided to try to cut it down and at least get most of the thoughts out of my head. It was cathartic and I thank you for allowing me to share.

In this moment, I’m right there with you both about not viewing the games. Thankfully, it is not today or this week. This is indeed the first time I’ve been….less than excited about the Olympics. I find myself annoyed to the point of wanting to ignore it altogether. However, I know that when the time comes, I’ll be watching because I recognize that the Olympics served as a launching pad for the WNBA and is the pinnacle of competition for our ladies. They wear USA across their chests with pride. I celebrate it and I celebrate them. Thankfully, I have time to try to rustle up some level of excitement. We know that the women’s team is going for their 6th straight gold and rather than lifting it up as a shining beacon of excellence, it is barely mentioned or truly celebrated in our country. If it were the men’s team, they would not shut up about it! Lol! So I have to support them because it is not the fault of the players and if not for us, who will continue to support our ladies? I know I’ll be there just maybe not in the wee hours of the morning and late into the night! ;-) lol!

Thank you again for this space. I wish you much continued energy, patience, support and success!

WfanfrJump said...

On second thought, I may be joining y'all on the sidelines! I just got newly pissed! Have you seen these?

Sue Favor said...