Changing Colors

By Jeff Lippman - October 02, 2007

The next time leading scorer Candace Parker and the United States Senior National Team step onto a basketball court together, Parker will be wearing completely different uniform colors.

On a team filled with WNBA superstars like Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, it was the collegiate athlete Parker, who has yet to play a game in her junior season at Tennessee, that led the U.S. in scoring, steals, blocked shots and field goals, all while playing the 6th most amount of minutes on the team.

But when the U.S. and Parker meet again, Parker will be playing with her Lady Vols teammates in a college tour exhibition with the Senior National Team on Nov. 4 in Knoxville, Tenn.

I don't think it is going out on a limb to say that when the U.S. finally makes it to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Candace Parker, one year more experienced, will once again lead that team in many categories, and will be its best player.

The gold medal-winning FIBA Americas team showcased both Parker and fellow collegiate Oklahoma's Courtney Paris, for sure one of the most dominant college players in the nation. On the National Team, Paris looked like what she was, a youngster playing with veterans. Parker shined brighter than the veterans.

If the U.S. had not won gold at the FIBA tournament, Olympic coach Anne Donovan could have had a supreme scheduling conflict with the WNBA players on her hands.

If they had failed to qualify in Chile, they would have to compete in a last-chance qualifier next June in the middle of the WNBA season, prompting Donovan to ask the question, "What would we have done, sent out a bunch of college kids?"

In Candace Parker's case at least, that has only been an improvement.

Posted by Jeff Lippman at 12:39 PM on October 02, 2007

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