15 FINALISTS NAMED FOR USA MEN'S PAN AM GAMES TEAM

TULSA, Okla., Oct. 17, 2011— Following five training sessions held between Oct. 14-16, 15 NBA D-League players were selected as finalists for the 2011 USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games Team. Included in the 15 finalists were Jerome Dyson and Marcus Lewis who both suited up for the Tulsa 66ers last season.

The full list of finalists were: Blake Ahearn (Erie BayHawks/Missouri State ‘07); Brian Butch (Injured for 2010-11 season/Wisconsin ‘08); Chris Daniels (KCC Egis, South Korea/Texas A&M-Corpus Christi ‘08); Justin Dentmon (Texas Legends/Washington ‘09); Jerome Dyson (Tulsa 66ers/Connecticut ‘10); Moses Ehambe (Iowa Energy/Oral Roberts ‘08); Ron Howard (Fort Wayne Mad Ants/Valparaiso ‘06); Marcus Lewis (Tulsa 66ers/Oral Roberts ‘09); Leo Lyons (Austin Toros/Missouri ‘09); Renaldo Major (Dakota Wizards/Fresno State ‘04); Donald Sloan (Reno Bighorns/Texas A&M ‘10); Gregory Stiemsma (Sokhumi Tbilisi, Georgia/Wisconsin ‘09); Curtis Sumpter (Maroussi BC, Greece/Villanova ‘07): Lance Thomas (Austin Toros/Duke ‘10); and Luke Zeller (Bakersfield Jam/Notre Dame ‘09).

“Coming in you never know what kind of shape the guys are going to be in and I thought they were in good shape. The guys competed at a high level and it is tough making cuts, but we felt comfortable getting down to our 15,” said USA Pan American Games and Tulsa 66ers head coach Nate Tibbetts.

“I think our perimeter is formidable, we’ve got some guys that can handle the basketball and not just at the one, the two or the three. We’re going to have to be a team that guards people on every possession and were asking our bigs to do some things that maybe they haven’t been asked to do. So getting that group of bigs to come along defensively is important, but we’ve got some bigs that can really shoot it and we’re excited about that.

“I think we’ve now got to step up our offensive execution, we’ve got start putting some more stuff in. We kind of tried to keep it basic here just so we could see guys play. We didn’t want to overwhelm them, have them thinking about too many things, and so now we can really start focusing on our prep for Guadalajara,” added Tibbetts.

Assisting Tibbetts on the USA bench are Tulsa 66ers coaching staff members Jermaine Byrd and Dale Osbourne. Additionally, Austin Toros head coach Brad Jones and Idaho Stampede head coach Randy Livingston are assisting as court coaches during the USA’s training camp.

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 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.

The player and coaching staff 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 USA Basketball Pan American Games Committee is chaired by USA Basketball Men’s National Team Director Sean Ford, and also 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.