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Earlier this week, Los Angeles Sparks rookie Cameron Brink tore her ACL during a loss to the Connecticut Sun. The injury will keep the No. 2 overall pick out for the remainder of the WNBA season, and she'll also miss the Paris Olympics, where she was set to represent Team USA on the 3x3 squad

USA Basketball will now need to decide on a replacement for Brink in short order with the festivities in Paris set to begin in just over a month on July 26. But it's not as simple as just picking any player they want as there are specific rules regarding 3x3 eligibility.

Each player registered with FIBA for 3x3 play has an individual ranking that is "calculated based on the 9 best results in FIBA-endorsed events played in the last 12 months." For the Olympics, FIBA requires that the four-player rosters for each country feature:

  • 2 players ranked within the top 10 of their country
  • 2 players ranked within the top 50 of their country, or have the minimum number of ranking points

In addition to Brink, the current Team USA group features former WNBA player Cierra Burdick, Atlanta Dream guard Rhyne Howard and TCU guard Hailey Van Lith. Burdick (ranked third among U.S. players) and Van Lith (ranked fifth) satisfy the first requirement. 

Thus, the replacement for Brink only needs to be in the top 50 of American players or have the minimum number of ranking points. FIBA's website is not clear on what that minimum number is, and their official document regarding Olympic eligibility does not mention points at all. Here is what that document says:

"To be eligible to participate in the Olympic games, all athletes must have a confirmed account at play.fiba3x3.com and at least two (2) athletes, out of the four (4) per team, have to be ranked within the top 10 of their national individual ranking (only athletes with verified eligibility are considered) on 24 June 2024 (i.e. two weeks before the Paris 2024 Sport Entries deadline on 8 July 2024; while the other two (2) athletes on the team, have to be either ranked within the top 10 of their national individual ranking (only athletes with verified eligibility are considered) on 24 June 24 or have participated in minimum one (1) FIBA 3x3 Official Competition between 1 January 2023 and 24 June 2024."

There are hundreds of Americans who have participated in at least one FIBA-sanctioned 3x3 event since the start of 2023, and the vast majority of them are unknown. That group does not include the likes of Indiana Fever star Aliyah Boston or Washington Mystics forward Stefanie Dolson (who won a gold medal with Team USA's 3x3 team at the Tokyo Olympics). 

And despite being two of the biggest rising stars in the WNBA, neither Caitlin Clark nor Angel Reese are eligible as they both have no ranking points.

It's not worth listing out all of the eligible Americans, though you can click the link to see for yourself if you're so inclined. Instead, here is a short list of five potential replacements:

Dearica Hamby -- F, Los Angeles Sparks

Hamby, who is playing the best basketball of her life right now for the Sparks, is the most obvious choice to take Brink's spot. She's not quite as big as Brink, but she does fill the void of a versatile frontcourt player. Plus, she not only has 3x3 experience, she has proven she can excel on the biggest stage. In December, she was named MVP of the AmeriCup and hit the game-winning shot in the gold medal game against Brazil. 

Katie Lou Samuelson -- F, Indiana Fever

Samuelson made Team USA's 3x3 squad for the Tokyo Olympics but tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before the games and was unable to make the trip. While she didn't make the initial cut this time around, she would be a viable replacement. She also won a gold medal at the AmeriCup in December and said before that event that she feels she has "unfinished business" at the international level. Though she wouldn't offer as much versatility as Hamby, or the defensive acumen of Brink, she would give the team an elite outside shooter, and that's extremely valuable in 3x3 which scores by 1s and 2s instead of 2s and 3s. 

Camille Zimmerman -- F

Most WNBA fans are likely not familiar with Zimmerman, who did participate in training camp with the Minnesota Lynx in 2018, but has not played a game in the league. An undersized forward with a knack for rebounding, Zimmerman has played all over the world overseas and has extensive 3x3 experience with Team USA. Most recently, she was also a part of that gold medal-winning AmeriCup team alongside Hamby and Samuelson. She will likely not be USA Basketball's first call, but she deserves to be in the mix considering her commitment to the program. 

Sarah Strong -- F, UConn

If you're looking for an outside-the-box suggestion, how about the No. 1 recruit in the class of 2024? She is currently playing in the U18 AmeriCup in Colombia, but that tournament is set to end on June 23, so her calendar would be clear by the Olympics. She led Team USA to the gold medal at the U18 3x3 World Cup in both 2022 and 2023 and has a versatile game tailor-made for this format. She has to be considered a long shot, but it would be fun to see Strong on this stage. 

Allisha Gray -- G, Atlanta Dream

In terms of pure talent, Gray, who is having another strong season for the Dream, would be the second choice behind Hamby from this group. She won a 3x3 gold medal with Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics and was ninth in the entire tournament in scoring, so it's clear she can perform on that level. However, the current American team already has two guards in Howard and Van Lith. If USA Basketball wants a big to replace Brink, then Gray is out of the running. But if they're just looking for the best player available, she has a chance.