Caitlin Clark ‘set up for failure’ in the WNBA? Coach unloads fury at ‘delusional fanbase’ tarnishing sport's image - Hindustan Times
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Caitlin Clark ‘set up for failure’ in the WNBA? Coach unloads fury at ‘delusional fanbase’ tarnishing sport's image

Jun 08, 2024 08:42 PM IST

Connecticut women's basketball head coach claims “there's a huge target” on Caitlin Clark's back.

Caitlin Clark has had a rough start in the WNBA. Each week, all conversations around the rookie sensation and her team, Indiana Fever, seem to stop short at the turbulent outlook of the game, supposedly “hammering” the draft's No. 1 overall pick.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 07: Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever reacts to a call in the fourth quarter against the Washington Mystics at Capital One Arena on June 07, 2024 in Washington, DC.(Getty Images via AFP)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 07: Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever reacts to a call in the fourth quarter against the Washington Mystics at Capital One Arena on June 07, 2024 in Washington, DC.(Getty Images via AFP)

Connecticut women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma also joined the discussion, with nearly every industry veteran and expert weighing in on the situation around #22 and her star status in the big leagues. The national championship-winning coach's appearance on the Dan Patrick Show on Wednesday gained quite the buzzworthy traction once he got down to dissecting how Clark was possibly “set up for failure” on the professional front.

Launching snide remarks at “the delusional fanbase” surrounding the 22-year-old stat at Iowa, Auriemma didn't mince words while suggesting how disrespectful the new addition to the vast fandom of the WNBA has been to the other players on the roster.

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Connecticut women's basketball head coach Geno Auriemma dives into the “Caitlin Clark effect” and its impact on the WNBA

Auriemma addressed how Clark's overwhelming star status and her old followers have worked as a double-edged sword, equally piercing her and women's sports' collective stand. The 11-time national championship-winning coach said, “These people are so disrespectful and so unknowledgeable and so stupid, that it gives women's basketball a bad name.”

Equally discerning the lethal impact on Clark, he added, “The kid was set up for failure right from the beginning.”

Signalling that there was a “huge target” on Caitlin's back, Auriemma foregrounded the harsh landscape the 2024 rookie class of players had been exposed to. The basketball coach spotlighted how the onus of social media presence and pressures had unexpectedly burdened the new additions to the roster, with all sides of the conversation expecting nothing less than perfection from them.

Alluding to Los Angeles Sparks star Cameron Brink's take on the “exhausting” WNBA rookies vs veterans narrative, Auriemma chimed in: “I thought Cameron Brink said something really smart… they're expecting this rookie class to be perfect. This rookie class isn't even one of the best rookie classes in the last ten years, but they've been put out to be that because the way social media is today.”

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He'd previously remarked that Clark had a long journey ahead of her. Although Auriemma pointed out that she is not yet “built for the physicality of this league,” being on a better team and having more experience will add to her evolution as a player.

The Indiana Fever vs Washington Mystics Friday match again rendered the latter winless. Clark's team took a three-point lead with the final buzzer clocking in 85-83 on the scoreboard. Fever now has a 3-9 win-loss ratio.

In other news, bubbling media speculations surrounding the 2024 Team USA roster suggest Clark will likely be omitted from the team as Coach Cheryl Reeve is heavily leaning towards veteran players' inclusion. This would aid the WNBA rookie in finding more breathing room as she tackles all these initiating hits and bruises on the court.

Caitlin Clark to be left off the Summer Olympics Team USA Women's Basketball roster

According to The Athletic, the 12-player Team USA squad is expected to bring back the defending champs, A'ja Wilson, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Alyssa Thomas, Diana Taurasi, Jewell Loyd, Jackie Young, Napheesa Collier, Sabrina Ionescu, Kelsey Plum, Kahleah Copper and Chelsea Gray for the Summer Olympics Paris round-trip.

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