Game Day In Guadalajara - Finally!
October 26, 2011 • Guadalajara, Mexico
• 2011 USA Men's Pan American Games Team Roster
• 2011 USA Men's Pan American Games Schedule
• 2011 USA Men's Pan American Games Features
The Pan American Games men’s basketball competition gets underway Wednesday, exactly 13 days after the USA Basketball men’s group assembled in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The U.S. squad is comprised for the first time in Pan American Games history by professional players who are under contract to play in the NBA Development League in 2011-12. Serving as the USA Pan American Games head coach is Tulsa 66ers mentor Nate Tibbetts. The 2011 USA Pan American Games Team consists of Blake Ahearn (Erie BayHawks/Missouri State ‘07); Brian Butch (Injured for 2010-11 season/Wisconsin ‘08); Justin Dentmon (Texas Legends/Washington ‘09); Jerome Dyson (Tulsa 66ers/Connecticut ‘10); Moses Ehambe (Iowa Energy/Oral Roberts ‘08); 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 ‘08); Curtis Sumpter (Maroussi BC, Greece/Villanova ‘07); and Lance Thomas (Austin Toros/Duke ‘10).
“I think what excites me about this team is our commitment to defense, our guys have really bought into that,” said Tibbetts during the team’s training. “And then we’ve got some guards that can really push it and we’ve got some bigs that are really, really playing hard and are game changers just with their effort.”
Because of the team’s shorter than desired training period, Tibbetts knows his USA team enters this competition as a project under construction, a team that will need to continue to improve each day.
“Because we have had a short training period, it’s critical that our team improve with each game. That’s our goal – to get better every day,” stated Tibbetts,
Eight national teams comprise the ’11 Pan Am men’s basketball field, with the teams divided into two preliminary round groups of four teams each. The USA men were drawn into Group B and are joined by defending champion Brazil, Dominican Republic and Uruguay. Competing in Group A are Argentina, Canada, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The U.S. men open preliminary round play facing the Dominican Republic at 5:30 p.m. CDT. The game is being broadcast by ESPN Deportes.
The American men have not won a Pan American Games title since 1983 when hoops coaching legend Jack Hartman led a U.S. team of collegians that featured Michael Jordan, Wayman Tisdale, Sam Perkins, Mark Price and others to an 8-0 record and the gold medal in Caracas, Venezuela.
Since then the USA has earned silver in 1987, bronze in 1991, silver in 1995 and 1999, and finished fourth in 2003 and fifth in 2007. All told, the U.S. 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.
The USA and preliminary round opening foe Dominican Republic have met just one time previously in Pan American Games play, and that was in 1999, a game the USA claimed victory in by a 95-83 score.