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Highlighted by five players who own prior USA Basketball experience, 14 finalists for the 2007 USA Pan American Games men's basketball team were announced Sunday morning. The player selections, which were made after USA Basketball conducted five trials se

USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games Team Finalists Announced

 
Highlighted by five players who own prior USA Basketball experience, 14 finalists for the 2007 USA Pan American Games men�s basketball team were announced Sunday morning. The player selections, which were made after USA Basketball conducted five trials sessions between July 12-14 at Haverford College (Pa.), were made by the USA Basketball Men�s Collegiate Committee, chaired by Syracuse University (N.Y.) head coach Jim Boeheim.

Selected for the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team roster were: Josh Carter (Texas A&M / Dallas, Texas); 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.); Bryce Taylor (Oregon / Encino, Calif.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State / Beloit, Wis.); D.J. White (Indiana / Tuscaloosa, Ala.).

'The trials were as competitive as any we have ever had. With the group of 14 finalists there is really good balance. We�ve got good inside guys, we�ve got good wing players and the point guards have really come on,' said Boeheim. 'I don�t know that we have a superstar type player, but we�ve got really good balance and the players worked very hard and they look like they�ll be good teammates, guys who will play well together which is tremendously important.'

'This was definitely the most difficult choice we�ve ever had to make, but I just love this group. I think we have great options. We�ve got shooters, we�ve got penetrators, we�ve got size, we�ve got post people - a guy like Hibbert could be a game changer,' stated USA and Villanova University head coach Jay Wright. 'It�s just a really diverse group that has great personality and I think the committee did a great job of putting together a really strong team. Our staff is excited about working with this team and getting them to come together and think like a team.'

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); Taylor (2003 Youth Development Festival West 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); Carter (All-Big 12 honorable mention); Foster (All-Southeastern honorable mention); Leunen (All-Pacific-10 honorable mention); and Reynolds (All-Big East honorable mention).

Of the roster of finalists features 10 players who will be seniors in 2007-08, two who will be juniors and two who will be sophomores in 2007-08.

USA Pan American Games Team training will continue July 13-18 at Haverford College (Pa.), and July 19-21 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

The official 12-member 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).

USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee
The USA Basketball Men's Collegiate Committee, in addition to chair Boeheim, consists of: NCAA appointees Fran Dunphy (head coach, Temple University, Pa.); Tom Izzo (head coach, Michigan State University); Ernie Kent (head coach, University of Oregon) and Tubby Smith (head coach, University of Minnesota); NABC appointee Bill Self (head coach, University of Kansas); NAIA appointee Bob Burchard (head coach, Columbia College, Mo.); NJCAA appointee Scott Schumacher (head coach, Kilgore C.C., Texas), and athlete representatives Steve Wojciechowski (1995 Junior World Championship team / assistant coach, Duke University, N.C.) and A.J. Wynder (1995 Pan American Games team / head coach, Nassau Community College, N.Y.).