2011 USA Men's Pan American Games Team Opens Play October 26 Versus Dominican Republic
BAKERSFIELD, October 20, 2011 Ė The official 12-man USA Basketball Menís Pan American Games Team was announced Wednesday night after six days of training in Tulsa, Okla. The U.S. squad, comprised for the first time in Pan American Games history of NBA Development League players who are under contract to play in the NBA D-League in 2011-12, will continue training in Tulsa through Oct. 22 and will compete Oct. 26-30 in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Selected as a finalists for the USA team were: Blake Ahearn (Erie BayHawks/Missouri State Ď07); Brian Butch (Injured for 2010-11 season/Wisconsin Ď08); Justin Dentmon (Texas Legends/Washington Ď09); Jerome Dyson (Tulsa 66ers/Connecticut Ď10); Moses Ehambe (Iowa Energy/Oral Roberts Ď08); Marcus Lewis (Tulsa 66ers/Oral Roberts Ď09); Leo Lyons (Austin Toros/Missouri Ď09); Renaldo Major (Dakota Wizards/Fresno State Ď04); Donald Sloan (Reno Bighorns/Texas A&M Ď10); Gregory Stiemsma (Sokhumi Tbilisi, Georgia/Wisconsin Ď09); Curtis Sumpter (Maroussi BC, Greece/Villanova Ď07); and Lance Thomas (Austin Toros/Duke Ď10).
ďItís a great opportunity to be able represent your country in something like this and represent Bakersfield. The NBA D-League is such a great opportunity and this is just one of the many great opportunities that the NBA D-League gives us. Iím looking forward to going down there and playing well and bringing back the gold medal and then start training camp,Ē said Bakersfield Jam Center, Brian Butch.
Butch appeared in 39 games, 38 starts, for Bakersfield during the 2009-10 season, averaging 17.7 points, 11.9 rebounds (second in the NBA D-League) and 1.7 assists in 33.9 minutes. The 2010 NBA D-League All-Star Most Valuable Player, Butch received a GATORADE Call-Up to the Denver Nuggets on April 11, 2010.
21 NBA D-League players entered the USA Menís Pan American Games Training Camp and competed for 12 spots on the roster. ďI just really focused on where I left off with Bakersfield and when I got called up - the need to be a vocal leader, concentrate on rebounding and making shots, the same things I did in Bakersfield. Even though the fans didnít get to see me last year, they can expect the same thing when I come back there,Ē Butch added. ďI feel great, my knee is healthy and Iím ready to go. So Iím looking forward to bringing a gold medal home and starting the season.Ē
The Pan American Games, held every four years in the year prior to the Olympics, are being held Oct. 13-30 in Guadalajara, Mexico. The menís basketball competition, which features eight teams, is being conducted Oct. 26-30.
The USA men were drawn into Group B for the Pan American Games and are joined by national teams from Brazil, Dominican Republic and Uruguay. Competing in Group A are Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The U.S. men open preliminary round play Oct. 26 facing Dominican Republic (5:30 p.m. CDT), then face defending Pan American Games champion Brazil on Oct. 27 (8 p.m. CDT), and conclude preliminary play versus Uruguay (5:30 p.m. CDT) on Oct. 28. Semifinals action will be played Oct. 29, and the finals will be contested on Oct. 30.
USA Men In The Pan American Games
The Pan American Games are organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO) and are a multi-sport competition open to men and women representing countries from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.
Comprised of college players, the USA men in the 2007 Pan Ams dropped their first two games and then reeled off three consecutive wins to finish 3-2 and in fifth place. The American men have earned a medal in 12 of their 15 Pan Am Games appearances, including a record eight golds, as well as three silvers and one bronze. The U.S. men currently own an 84-13 (.866 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 medal has eluded U.S. teams the past six Pan American Games as the Americans have earned three silvers and a bronze medal.
Many USA Basketball athletes who have been selected to a Pan American Games team have gone on to compete in the Olympic Games, while many others enjoyed stellar professional careers. In all, 34 USA Pan Am basketball players have also 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 head coaches is even more striking. The list of head coaches of USA Pan American Games teams includes Jay Wright (2007), 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).
Based in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA Basketball is a nonprofit organization and the national governing body for men's and women's basketball in the United States. As the recognized governing body for basketball in the United States by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), USA Basketball is responsible for the selection, training and fielding of USA teams that compete in FIBA sponsored international basketball competitions, as well as for some national competitions.
Since 2008, USA Basketball menís and womenís teams have compiled a sterling 134-6 win-loss record in FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. USA teams are the current menís and womenís champions of the Olympics and the FIBA World Championships; FIBA womenís U19 world champions; the menís and womenís title holders for the FIBA U17 World Championships; and the menís and womenís U18 and U16 FIBA Americas champions. USA Basketball currently ranks No. 1 in all five of FIBA's world ranking categories, including combined, men's, women's, boys and girls.
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