Candace Parker left off U.S. Olympic team

Candace Parker
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Candace Parker will not be on the U.S. Olympic team expected to be announced Wednesday.

Parker, a two-time WNBA MVP and 2008 and 2012 Olympic champion, will be one of at least three 2012 U.S. Olympic women’s basketball players who don’t come back for Rio.

Two others — Swin Cash and Asjha Jones were not among 25 finalists named in January to make the 12-woman team.

The 6-foot-4 Parker’s place on the team was in jeopardy after she missed both the 2014 World Championship (knee injury) and a February training camp (overseas club commitment), the last camp before the team would be named, plus an influx of bigs who could make their first Olympic team.

Potential Olympic rookies Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Breanna Stewart are pushing the past Olympians for roster spots.

If all three make the Olympic team, then at least one 2012 Olympian among the 25 finalists can’t make the Rio roster. And it would probably be a big given Griner, Delle Donne and Stewart are all Parker’s height or taller.

The other bigs on the 2012 Olympic team who are Rio finalists are Tina Charles and Sylvia Fowles.

Charles started six games in London, Parker started three and Fowles, who also missed the 2014 World Championship and February camp, started none.

Parker led the Olympic team in rebounds (7.8 per game) and blocks (1.25 per game).

Stewart, 21, would be the youngest U.S. Olympic women’s basketball player since 1988. She recently won her fourth NCAA title with Connecticut and was drafted No. 1 overall by the Seattle Storm. Stewart played at the 2014 World Championship just after turning 20, recording a total of 36 minutes over six games and scoring 11 points, fewest on the team.

Parker’s absence means three-time Olympian Tamika Catchings is the only former University of Tennessee player who could make this year’s Olympic team.

Either Catchings becomes the oldest U.S. Olympic basketball player ever at 37, according to sports-reference.com, or there will be no Tennessee players on the U.S. Olympic women’s team for the first time.

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