Brittney Griner returns to USA Basketball
Brittney Griner is set to play her first games with USA Basketball since the Tokyo Olympics after she was named to a 16-player roster for a training camp and exhibitions next month.
Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, is on the roster for exhibition games Nov. 5 at the University of Tennessee and Nov. 12 at Duke with a training camp in Atlanta in between.
The roster includes some, but not all, of the most prominent 2024 Olympic hopefuls. The 12-woman team for Paris is expected to be chosen next spring.
Griner’s most recent national team activity was the Tokyo Olympic final. She scored 30 points, the second-highest total in an Olympic game in U.S. women’s history, as the Americans beat Japan 90-75.
Griner was then arrested in Russia in February 2022 -- while traveling to rejoin her Russian club team -- on drug-related charges and later convicted and sentenced to nine years in a Russian jail.
The State Department said that Griner was wrongfully detained until she was brought home in December on a prisoner swap.
Without Griner and other veteran stars, the U.S. won the world championship last year and qualified for the 2024 Paris Games, where it will go for an eighth consecutive Olympic title.
“I’m never going overseas to play again unless I’m representing my country at the Olympics,” she said in April before the WNBA season began. “If I make that team, that’d be the only time I would leave the U.S. soil, and that’s just to represent the USA.”
Griner, 33, returned to her WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, this season. She played 31 of the 40 games and averaged 17.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Griner’s fellow Tokyo Olympic centers were Sylvia Fowles, who retired last year, and Tina Charles, who said last year that she served her time with the national team but was available if needed, then didn’t play in the 2023 WNBA season.
The 2022 World team centers were Brionna Jones, who suffered a season-ending ruptured Achilles in June, and Shakira Austin, who missed the last six games of her WNBA season with a left hip injury. Neither is on the November USA Basketball roster.