Tibbetts Ready For Pan Am Training Camp
October 13, 2011 • Tulsa, Okla.
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On Friday, 21 players from the NBA D-League will gather in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for the start of the USA Basketball Men's Pan American Games training camp. Tulsa 66ers head coach Nate Tibbetts is undertaking his first USA Basketball coaching assignment. and will lead the Americans into the 2011 Pan American Games basketball competition that is being held Oct. 26-30 in Guadalajara, Mexico.
A newcomer to USA Basketball, Tibbetts concluded his second season as the head coach for the Tulsa 66ers in 2010-11. In his two seasons with Tulsa he has led the 66ers to back-to-back playoff appearances and posted regular season records of 33-17 in 2010-11 and 27-23 in 2009-10. Tibbetts joined the 66ers in 2009 after spending four seasons with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League. After two seasons as an assistant with the Skyforce, Tibbetts was promoted to head coach prior the 2007-08 season. In two seasons at the helm, Tibbetts guided Sioux Falls to a 53-47 (.530) mark including a playoff berth during the 2007-08 season.
While training camp starts Friday, don't fool yourself into thinking Coach Tibbetts hasn't been busy preparing for his USA coaching debut.What have you been doing to prepare for the Pan American Games?
I was able to go out to Colorado Springs and see how they put together the World University Team, which is a team of college players. I was able to be around college coaches that put that team together, and that was a great experience just to see how a training camp works at the USA level. From there, there is a committee of five people that put our Pan Am team together, and I was one of the five. All of these guys on our team will play in the D-League this year and most of them have played in the D-League in years past. We are really excited about the 21 guys coming into training camp in Tulsa on Friday.
I have also talked to different coaches who have spent time overseas coaching against some of these International and European teams because it is a different game than the NBA, a different game than the D-League or college. I have tried to pick their brains a little bit to see what are some things we should be looking for and what works and what doesn’t work, how physical the game is over there. From there, I have tried to put together a philosophy of how we are going to play.
How quickly the coaching staff will cut down to finalize the 12-man USA roster?
Our guys come in on Friday and our first cuts will either be Sunday night or Monday to get down to 12 guys. We have 21 players coming in so there are going to be some tough cuts. Last week I reached out to all the guys and told them to be ready to compete for a spot and to be in shape. Most of the teams we will play have been together for a long time, so we have to put together a team in less than 15 days that can play for a gold medal. We have to make sure we are in shape and ready to go.
1983 was the last time the USA brought home the Pan Am gold medal:
It has been a while. (USA assistant coach) Jermaine Byrd and I have been trying to research and find some video clips on the 1983 games. We found some clips on Michael Jordan and Mark Price and Wayman Tisdale. It was a really good team coached by Bob Knight. A lot of our guys were probably just born after those games. We might use that as some motivation to show our guys. It has been a while and we would love to bring the gold medal home again.
What about the opportunity these players have to represent their country and be showcased globally?
This is going to be a great opportunity for these guys. A great thing about guys who have played in the D-League or in the minors or overseas is that they typically have a chip on their shoulders. We feel like we have some really good players. These guys are excited to put ‘USA’ on their chests and represent our country in the Pan Am games. Normally they wouldn’t be able to do this. We play five games in five nights. We have to play as a team and all 12 guys will get to play. We can’t try to pace ourselves. We have to play like every possession matters.