COLORADO SPRINGS (FIBA World Championship for Women) - United States coach Geno Auriemma has named four additions to his squad for the FIBA World Championship for Women, but the big talking point was a player not called.
Auriemma added veterans Jayne Appel, Rebekkah Brunson, Ebony Hoffman and Kia Vaughn, but there was no place for one of the WNBA's leading lights, Crystal Langhorne.
That is despite the fact the 23-year-old plays the United States' position of need - the post.
“Certainly one of the positions that we are trying to shore up is in the post,” Auriemma said. “With Candace Parker not being available because of her operation, these four additions give us a lot of options to choose from. I’m anxious to see how they fit in. And depending on who’s available because of the playoffs, I think it’s important to have as many options as possible."
But that does not include a player who has averaged 16.4 points and 9.8 rebounds to lead the Washington Mystics towards the play-offs.
Those numbers are clearly superior to all four of the players added on Wednesday, a group led by Brunson who has 11.6ppg and 10.6rpg.
"Crystal being kind of an undersized post player, the biggest need that we have on this team right now is to find someone who can play that center position," Auriemma said by way of explanation.
"[To have] enough size to compete with some of the teams we are going to have to beat in the world championship. We're just not big enough. With Candace Parker out, that makes it even more imperative that size is a tremendous issue for us. That being said, I think Crystal has a tremendous future with USA Basketball."
Langhorne is 6ft 2in, and that seems to have counted against her versus the 6ft 3in Brunson, 6ft 4in Vaughn and 6ft 4in Appel.
"If she was a 6ft 5in center, then I would tell you she'd be looked at completely different," Auriemma said, "and it's got nothing to do with is she good enough as a player, is she a good enough rebounder and all those other things."
The squad will now gather in Washington at the beginning of September for a training camp, before heading up to Hartford for games against Australia and Spain.
“I’m really looking forward to that first week in September in DC, and even more so the following few weeks as the playoffs wind down and we’re able to add more and more players," Auriemma said.
"Speaking for all the coaches, we’re anxious to get our whole team together. And even then it might not happen until the start of competition, but at least we’re getting close.”
United States squad: Jayne Appel, Seimone Augustus, Alana Beard, Sue Bird, Rebekkah Brunson, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Tina Charles, Shameka Christon, Candice Dupree, Sylvia Fowles, Lindsey Harding, Ebony Hoffman, Asjha Jones, Kara Lawson, Angel McCoughtry, Renee Montgomery, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Cappie Pondexter, Diana Taurasi, Kia Vaughn, Lindsay Whalen, Candice Wiggins.
photos Janos Schmidt