BENDIGO Bank Spirit star Kelsey Griffin will bypass the 2016 Women's National Basketball Association season in an attempt to win Australian Opals selection.
Griffin, who was this week named in the WNBL All-Star Team five for the second straight season, has committed to spending the winter in Australia.
The Spirit's two-time WNBL grand final most valuable player has knocked back opportunities to return to the WNBA, where she played from 2010-2015 with the Connecticut Sun.
Griffin is coming off a brilliant season in which she averaged a double-double, with 17.9 points and 10 rebounds a game.
Underpinning her credentials at both ends of the court, he finished 10th in the WNBL for blocks with 20 total and fourth for steals with 39.
Griffin became an Australian citizen during a ceremony after the Spirit's clash against the Dandenong Rangers last November and says her focus is on wearing the Australian green and gold.
"I am really excited to be chosen in the Opals training squad and I want to give that everything I can," she said.
"While I enjoyed the WNBA, I love Australia more and want to contribute as much as I can to the Opals and to Australia and Bendigo."
Alaskan-born Griffin was selected in a 27-player Opals squad from which up to a maximum of 20 will participate in four selection camps from March-July.
She is joined by fellow Spirit star Kelly Wilson.
Griffin is continuing to recover from a hamstring injury that sidelined her from three of the Spirit’s final games this season.
She was pick three in the 2010 WNBA draft after a stellar career with the University of Nebraska.
Griffin said she was looking forward to experiencing her first Australian winter and getting to know the country more.
"I'm keen to help others reach their goals by speaking at functions and events and telling my story," she said.
"I'm also looking forward to using my skills and experience on the court to do some one-on-one coaching."
Griffin won the Spirit's MVP this season and was the 2014-15 WNBL defensive player of the year.
She was third in voting for this year’s defensive player award behind Dandenong’s Steph Cumming and the Perth Lynx’s Louella Tomlinson.
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