AP Basketball Writer
Three-time Olympic gold medalists Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tamika Catchings highlight the 33 players invited to the U.S. women's basketball national team training camp that will take place the first weekend in October in Las Vegas.
Joining the three veterans are seven other members of the 2012 London Games that won a fifth straight gold medal for the U.S., as well as 2008 Olympian Cappie Pondexter.
Also invited are WNBA rookies Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins. Griner was part of the 2012 pool but turned down a chance to play in the Olympics to focus on school and her ailing mother.
Joining the veterans are seven college athletes, including four of U.S. coach Geno Auriemma's own UConn players. Stefanie Dolson, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, Bria Hartley and Breanna Stewart are joined by Maryland's Alyssa Thomas, Notre Dame's Kayla McBride, and Baylor's Odyssey Sims.
All seven have won internationally for the U.S. at a variety of levels with Stewart having the most experience despite being the youngest player.
"I think what the committee did, which I think is interesting, there are a lot of young WNBA players who are on the list, and with an eye toward the future there are players who have excelled at the college level already and who have also excelled at USA Basketball at a young age, who three years from now, four years from now, are going to be WNBA players," Auriemma said. "So, it's great to get a head start to see where the future really lies.
"I think that's one thing USA Basketball has always been great at, preparing for the future. This is another great example of that."
Out of the 33 players, the U.S. will choose a national pool to create the team for the 2014 world championship in Turkey.
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