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Candace Parker talks candidly about Geno Auriemma: 'We don't like each other'

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Candace Parker and Geno Auriemma don't have the coziest of relationships.

The women's basketball titans got to know each other as on-court rivals. Parker starred at Tennessee from 2005-08, where she led the Lady Vols to a pair of national titles — championships that Auriemma's rival Connecticut Huskies didn't win.

By 2016, Parker was a two-time WNBA MVP and three-time All-Star. She didn't make Auriemma's roster for the Rio Olympics despite being healthy and one of USA Basketball's best performers leading up to the Games. She's since vowed to never play again for USA Basketball and didn't try out to play in the 2020 Tokyo Games.

On Tuesday, she spoke with Turner Sports' Taylor Rooks on her feelings about Auriemma and USA Basketball. She didn't hold back.

Candace Parker: 'I don't think Geno wanted me on the team'

"I don't have one," Parker said when asked about her relationship with USA Basketball.

She was even more candid about Auriemma when asked why she thought she was left off the team.

"He doesn't like me, I don't like him," Parker said. "We don't like each other."

Parker then explained that she believes Auriemma wasted her time away from family and effort on the court.

"Just tell me. And then I won't waste my time," Parker said of being left off the team. ... "I went to a camp. I got a triple-double at the camp. Was, I think, first or second in scoring. It wasn't on the court. So if it's me as an individual, as a person, I'm spending time away from my daughter to come and do these camps that I'm not even being judged off of how I'm playing. ...

"I don't think I personally fit. I don't think Geno wanted me on the team."

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS - OCTOBER 17: Candace Parker #3 of the Chicago Sky walks backcourt during Game Four of the WNBA Finals against the Phoenix Mercury at Wintrust Arena on October 17, 2021 in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Sky defeated the Phoenix Mercury 80-74.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Candace Parker is not pleased with Geno Auriemma. (Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

Parker remains upset about Nneka Ogwumike snub

Parker then reiterated her anger for 2016 WNBA MVP and six-time All-Star Nneka Ogwumike being left of the roster in Tokyo. Parker was one of the most vocal critics of the decision over the summer as a USA Basketball selection committee that included Auriemma chose five former UConn players but not Ogwumike. South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley took over for Auriemma as head coach, while Carol Callan serves as the national team director.

"I get more angry at the people that I love getting hurt," Parker continued. "And what they did to Nneka was unbelievable. ...

"Respect to Connecticut. Connecticut continues to crank out player of the year after player of the year. At the same time, when I was there, my four years at Tennessee, they didn't win no national championships. They never beat us. I don't know, that might be a soft spot. I don't know."

Auriemma responded to the roster criticism this summer prior to USA Basketball winning gold in Tokyo.

“What I find humorous was the two times I was the coach, it was UConn politics, UConn bias because of Geno Auriemma,” he told reporters in July, per CT Insider. “Carol made a point to say, no, there’s a committee that picked the team. Now I’m not the coach and Geno Auriemma is still the (expletive), and I’m on the committee. So I think there’s a common thread there.

“What I think a lot of people don’t realize is once you start putting a team together and you have certain picks ... you can’t just put them all out there individually and pick them out of thin air. Once you put these four people on the team, you better complement them with the right other people.”

Parker clearly isn't satisfied with that explanation.

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