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Tulsa 66ers Head Coach Nate Tibbetts To Lead 2011 USA Men’s Pan American Games Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.  (July 27, 201)  --With the 2011 Pan American Games less than three months off, USA Basketball and the NBA Development League today announced plans that call for the USA Men’s Pan American Games Team roster to be comprised of coaches and players from the NBA Development League.  USA Basketball also announced that Tulsa 66ers head coach Nate Tibbetts has been selected to serve as the USA’s head coach and that 66ers assistant coach Dale Osbourne will fill one of the team’s two assistant coach positions. One additional assistant coach and the players who will contend for roster positions will be announced at a later date.

The coaching selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games Committee, approved by USA Basketball's Board of Directors and are subject to final approval by the U.S. Olympic Committee Chief Executive Officer. The Pan American Games Committee, chaired by USA Basketball Men’s National Team Director Sean Ford, is charged with the coach and player selections for the 2011 USA Pan American Games squad.

“USA Basketball is excited to join forces with the NBA Development League to field the 2011 USA Pan American Games Men’s basketball team,” stated Ford. “Nate is one of the best coaches in the NBA D-League, he will bring great leadership and experience to the team. The fact that Nate and Dale already have a successful working relationship is a real benefit.”

“We’re excited about the opportunity for players and coaches from the NBA Development League to represent their country on an international stage,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “This is another testament to the world-class basketball talent we're attracting and promoting to the NBA, and we're very pleased to partner with USA Basketball to go for the gold!”

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 men’s 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 men's basketball preliminary round play is scheduled for Oct. 26-28, semifinals action will be played Oct. 29, and the finals will be contested on Oct. 30.

Training camp for the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games Team will held Oct. 14-22 at a site TBA.  The 12-member USA Men’s Pan American Games Team will be announced before the team departs for the competition in Mexico on Oct. 23.  The list of athletes participating in the USA Team training camp will be announced at a later date.

USA Basketball also announced that two players from the 2011 USA Pan American Team will be selected to be part of USA Basketball’s 2012 USA Select Team that will train against the U.S. National Team when it trains in the summer of 2012 for the ‘12 London Olympic Games.

In addition to Ford, the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games Committee is comprised of Tibbetts, 2000 Olympic gold medalist Steve Smith, NBA Development League Vice President of Basketball Operations & Player Personnel Chris Alpert, and NBA Development League consultant Gordon Chiesa.                

Nate Tibbetts
“I feel very humbled and privileged to be selected to lead the United States in the 2011 Pan American Games.  Coach Dale Osbourne and I are excited to represent the Tulsa 66ers and Oklahoma City Thunder organizations in this journey to earn a gold medal for the United States.  We can’t wait to get started and represent our great country,” said Tibbetts.

Tibbetts has led Tulsa to consecutive trips to the NBA Development League playoffs. In 2011, Tibbett’s 66ers team set a club record with 33 regular-season wins, which resulted in a No. 4 seed in the playoffs and Tulsa advanced to the semifinals. Between Dec. 30 and Jan. 29, the 66ers reeled off 14 consecutive victories. Additionally, Tibbetts saw three of his players earn four total Gatorade Call-Ups during the season, the most ever in a season.

For his success, Tibbetts was selected to lead the West team in the 2011 D-League All-Star Game. Tibbetts’ 2011 Tulsa team specialized in defense, ranking second in the league in points allowed per game (98.8), third in turnovers forced (18.1) and fourth in steals (9.04).

In his first season at the helm of Tulsa, Tibbetts guided the 66ers to their first ever playoff berth, leading them all the way to the finals. Tulsa’s 27-23 record was a 12-win improvement from the previous season, and at the time,  a franchise record for wins.

Prior to Tulsa, Tibbetts spent four seasons (2005-06 through 2008-09) with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, two as an assistant before being promoted to head coach prior to the 2007-08 season. In his two years at the helm of the Skyforce, Tibbetts guided Sioux Falls to a 53-47 record and a playoff berth. The seasoned coach also boasts of four years as an assistant coach at the University of Sioux Falls. In his four seasons, the Cougars posted a record of 92-44, earning two trips to the NAIA Division II National Tournament.

As a student-athlete at the University of South Dakota, Tibbetts enjoyed a successful playing career. He ranked second all-time at USD in career assists (678) and steals (215), and was named to the All-North Central Conference (NCC) team in 2000-01.

Dale Osbourne
“I am excited to join Coach Nate Tibbetts on the 2011 Pan American Games staff. There is no greater honor than to represent one’s country. Coach Tibbetts and I greatly enjoy working in Tulsa and being a part of the Oklahoma City Thunder organization, and we feel very honored to be on the bench together helping lead the United States,” said Osbourne.

Osbourne will assist Tibbetts and owns more than 20 years of coaching experience that includes stints in the USBL, CBA, WNBA and D-League. Tibbetts and Osbourne are familiar with each other’s coaching styles. After all, they’ve been working together with the NBA D-League’s Tulsa 66ers for the past two seasons.

Prior to his two seasons in Tulsa, Osbourne spent a total of three seasons with the Austin Toros and Utah Flash. From 2004-06 Osbourne was head coach of the United States Basketball League (USBL) Dodge City Legend, and also served as the team's general manager in 2005-06. He led Dodge City to consecutive regular season and division championships in 2004 and 2005, and was named the 2004 USBL Coach of the Year. The Legend won the USBL championship in 2004-05 and again reached the finals the next season.

In seven years as an assistant at the University of South Alabama, Osbourne helped guide his alma mater to a pair of Sun Belt Conference titles.

Pan American Games Team

Event: 2011 Pan American Games
Dates: October 13-30, 2011
Men’s Basketball Competition: October 26-30
Site: Guadalajara, Mexico
USA Basketball Pan American Games Team USA Team Training: Oct. 14-22, site TBA.
USA Head Coach: Nate Tibbetts (Tulsa 66ers)
USA Assistant Coach: Dale Osbourne (Tulsa 66ers), One TBA.
USA Team Members: The official 12 man roster for the 2011 USA Men’s Pan American Games Team will be selected during the Oct. 14-22 USA team training.
Competition Format: The eight teams have been divided into two preliminary round groups consisting of four teams each.

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. 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 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 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).

USA Basketball
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 men’s and women’s teams have compiled a sterling 113-4 win-loss record in FIBA or FIBA Americas competitions. USA teams are the current men’s and women’s champions of the Olympics and the FIBA World Championships; FIBA women’s U19 world champions;  the men’s and women’s title holders for the FIBA U17 World Championships; and the men’s and women’s 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.

For further information about USA Basketball, go to the official Web site of USA Basketball at www.usabasketball.com and connect with us on facebook.com/usabasketball, twitter.com/usabasketball and www.youtube.com/therealusabasketball.

About the NBA Development League
The NBA Development League, founded in 2001, is the NBA’s official minor league. Featuring 16 teams with direct affiliations to NBA franchises, the NBA D-League is a proven developer of talent: 23 percent of players in the NBA at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season boasted NBA D-League experience, and the league continues to develop coaches, referees, and front-office staff for the NBA and its teams. In fostering the league’s connection to the community, its teams, players and staff promote health and wellness, support local needs and interests, and assist in educational development through NBA D-League Cares programs. The NBA D-League also advances the game of basketball as the research and development arm of the NBA. Throughout the league’s 10th season, fans could watch all NBA D-League games on NBA FUTURECAST, the free live Web-streaming initiative found at www.nba.com/futurecast.