Three Pac-10 Players Selected to USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team
July 17, 2007
HAVERFORD, Pa. (July 17, 2007) - The official 12-member USA Pan American Games men's basketball team was announced Tuesday afternoon and includes four players owning prior USA Basketball experience. The player selections were made after USA Basketball conducted five trials sessions between July 12-14 and four practices between July 15-17 at Haverford College (Pa.).
Selected for the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team roster were: Joey Dorsey (Memphis / Baltimore, Md.); Wayne Ellington (North Carolina / Wynnewood, Pa.); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt / Kenner, La.); James Gist (Maryland / Silver Spring, Md.); Roy Hibbert (Georgetown / Adelphi, Md.); Maarty Leunen (Oregon / Redmond, Ore.); ; Derrick Low (Washington State / Honolulu, Hawaii); Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth / Fayetteville, N.C.); Drew Neitzel (Michigan State / Grand Rapids, Mich.); Scottie Reynolds (Villanova / Herndon, Va.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State / Beloit, Wis.); and D.J. White (Indiana / Tuscaloosa, Ala.).
'This was difficult of a decision as any I've been involved in with USA Basketball. Every kid here could play on this team and we would be proud to take them to Brazil. We just had to decide do we want to play with some extra guards and some extra bigs and maybe not as many wings, and that's really what it came down to,' stated USA and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright.
'I think it has been difficult for everybody on the team and even the coaching staff to really, really think like a team because we were all so concerned with the cuts. We became close, but everybody kind of felt like they had one foot out the door. Now I think everybody will feel `alright we're in this' and now we're going to go down there as a team, as a family, and were going to start building that now. We've got to learn who is going to play what spots, who's going to have what roles, and I think it will move quickly now that we know who the squad is.'
Wright is being assisted on the USA bench by University of Alabama head mentor Mark Gottfried and Yale University head coach James Jones.
Ellington (2006 Nike Hoop Summit, 2005 Youth Development Festival Blue Team); Leunen (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); Reynolds (2005 Youth Development Festival White Team); and White (2004 Nike Hoop Summit and 2003 Youth Development Festival South Team) all possess previous USA Basketball experience.
Honors also are plentiful for the USA finalists. Collegeinsider.com named Maynor to its Mid-Major All-America Team, selected Hibbert for its Defensive All-America Team, and named Reynolds to its Freshmen All-America Team. Also, Reynolds collected Big East Rookie of the Year honors, while Dorsey earned Conference USA Defensive Player of the Year recognition from their respective conferences.
Named to their respective 2006-07 all-conference teams were: Dorsey (All-Conference USA first team); Hibbert (All-Big East first team); Low (All-Pacific-10 first team); Maynor (All-Colonial Athletic Association first team); Neitzel (All-Big Ten first team); Weaver (All-Pacific-10 first team); White (All-Big Ten second team); Foster (All-Southeastern honorable mention); Leunen (All-Pacific-10 honorable mention); and Reynolds (All-Big East honorable mention).
The USA roster features nine players who will be seniors in 2007-08, one who will be a junior and two who will be sophomores in 2007-08.
USA Pan American Games Team's training will continue through July 18 at Haverford College (Pa.), and July 19-21 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
The USA Pan American Games squad will compete July 25-29 in the 2007 Pan American Games men's basketball competition. The United States has been placed in preliminary round Group A along with Argentina, Panama and Uruguay, and Group B consists of Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The U.S. opens preliminary play July 25 facing Uruguay (10 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time), then meets Panama on July 26 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time) and the U.S. closes out preliminary round action against Argentina on July 27 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time). Semifinals will be held on July 28 and the finals will be played July 29.
USA Men In The Pan American Games
The Pan American Games, held every four years in the year prior to the Olympics and organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO), is a multi-sport competition open to men and women representing countries from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
The 2007 Pan American Games will be held July 13-29 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the men's basketball competition slated for July 25-29.
Featuring a roster of collegians who competed primarily against older and more internationally experienced senior national teams, the USA men suffered three narrow defeats in five games to place fourth at the 2003 Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Americans have earned a medal in 12 of their 14 Pan Am Games appearances, including a record eight golds, as well as three silvers and one bronze. The U.S. men currently own an 81-11 (.880 winning percentage) all-time mark at the Pan Am Games.
Held since 1951, the USA dominated the first five Pan Am Games, earning five consecutive golds. At the 1971 Pan Ams, despite a record of 2-1 in the preliminary round, the USA did not advance to the medal round and for the first time in Pan American history did not win the gold medal. However, the United States rebounded for a 26-0 record over the next three Pan Am Games and captured its last Pan Am gold in 1983. The gold has eluded the U.S. in the past five Games, with the Americans earning three silvers (1987, 1995 and 1999), and a bronze medal (1991).
Many USA Basketball athletes who have been selected to a Pan American Games team have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games, while numerous others enjoyed stellar professional careers. In all, 34 Pan Am athletes have been a member of a U.S. Olympic squad, including Ernie Grunfeld; Grant Hill; Luscious Jackson; Michael Jordan; Christian Laettner; Danny Manning; Chris Mullin; Emeka Okafor; Sam Perkins; Oscar Robertson; David Robinson; Isiah Thomas; Jerry West; and Jo Jo White.
While the list of former Pan American Games players is impressive, the list of USA head coaches is equally striking. The list of head coaches of USA Pan American Games teams includes: Tom Izzo (2003); Mo McHone (1999); Mike Thibault (1995); Gene Keady (1991); Denny Crum (1987); Jack Hartman (1983); Bob Knight (1979); Marv Harshman (1975); Jim Gudger (1971); Hal Fischer (1967); Garland Pinholster (1963); Fred Schaus (1959); Lt. Norman Pilgrim (1955); and Hal Fischer and John Longfellow (1951).