The Pan American Games feature athletes from the Western hemisphere, meaning individuals from North, South, and Central America are all able to participate, as well as countries from the Caribbean.
The games run every four years, and are held in the year preceding the summer Olympic games (2015, 2019, etc.). This year’s Pan Am Games are being held in Toronto, ON.
One of this year’s marquee events is men’s basketball, being held at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in downtown Toronto, home of the Ryerson Rams. Entering the event, Team USA looks to be the heavy favourite, although don’t count out the homegrown talent of the Canadians.
Team USA released their list of camp invitees a few weeks back, and it was chalked full of talented NCAA, NBA and international players. On Sunday, the final roster was announced, and it’s quite possible that you wouldn’t find a more random bunch of players for a national team roster.
Below are the 12 players who will represent the United States of America at the 2015 Pan Am Games.
Team USA Roster
Ron Baker (G) – Wichita State Shockers (NCAA)
Malcolm Brogdon (G) – Virginia Cavaliers (NCAA)
Bobby Brown (G) – Dongguan Leopards (China)
Ryan Hollins (C) – Sacramento Kings (NBA)
Keith Langford (G) – UNICS Kazan (Russia)
Shawn Long (F) – UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns (NCAA)
Taurean Prince (F) – Baylor Bears (NCAA)
Anthony Randolph (F) – Lokomotiv-Kuban (Russia)
Kaleb Tarczewski (C) – Arizona Wildcats (NCAA)
Melo Trimble (G) – Maryland Terrapins (NCAA)
Denzel Valentine (G) – Michigan State Spartans (NCAA)
Damien Wilkins (F) – Indios de Mayaguez (Puerto Rico)
The 2015 edition of Team USA for the Pan American Games has a healthy mix of youth and experience. Four of the players on the roster (Wilkins, Randolph, Hollins, and Brown) are all 30 years of age or older, while seven others are stars at the NCAA level.
Two notable omissions from the final 12 players are Baylor’s Rico Gathers and Wichita State’s Fred VanVleet.
Leading up to the Pan American Games, Gathers was arrested on the suspicion of shoplifting on June 11th. The incident itself took place on June 1st, where Gathers was caught on video surveillance shoplifting from a local Wal-Mart. He spent one night in jail before being released on a $1,000 bond.
Gathers was still given an invitation to attend the selection camp for Team USA, but it came with a stipulation. Gathers had to complete 20 hours of community service before he could play for Team USA, if he was given the opportunity.
The Baylor big man put up monster numbers in 2014-15 for the Bears, averaging 11.6 points and 11.6 rebounds.
Fred VanVleet is the surprising omission from the team, simply because of the chemistry and familiarity that he and teammate Ron Baker have from playing alongside one another at Wichita State.
VanVleet is widely considered as one of the best point guards in the country, and his true point guard abilities would have been a huge asset for Mark Few and Team USA.
While both Gathers and VanVleet are notable players who didn’t make the roster, the 2015 edition of Team USA is still loaded with talent from top to bottom, and identifying the omissions wasn’t a knock on the players who earned a spot on the team.
High-scoring Big Ten guards Denzel Valentine and Melo Trimble earned spots on the roster, and will be looked upon to lead the offense from the back end, alongside Ron Baker. Last season, Valentine filled up the stat sheets on a regular basis, flirting with triple-doubles on several occasions.
Add in guard Malcolm Brogdon, who is a defensive specialist, and Team USA has a loaded back court filled with players who excel at different facets of the game.
In the front court, Kaleb Tarczewski and NBA big man Ryan Hollins will anchor things in the middle. Alongside them, forwards like Taurean Prince, Shawn Long, and Damien Wilkins will be nice complements at the 3 and 4 spots.
Here are our projected lineups for Team USA at the 2015 Pan American Games, one based on sheer talent alone, and one based on a mix of experience and talent.
Talent-Rich Starting Five
G: Melo Trimble
G: Ron Baker
G/F: Denzel Valentine
F: Taurean Prince
C: Kaleb Tarczewski
Balanced Starting Five
G: Melo Trimble
G: Malcolm Brogdon
G/F: Damien Wilkins
F: Taurean Prince
C: Ryan Hollins
Agree or disagree with our rosters and assessment? Leave us a comment and let us know your thoughts!