Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Who are these Guys?

So I got home from work tonight and flipped on ESPN and caught the final 7 or 8 minutes of the 4th quarter of the Pan-Am Games USA - Dominican Republic basketball game. Now, I've never really considered the Dominican Republic to be a basketball powerhouse - baseball? absolutely. basketball? eh. But here we were, down 62-61 in the 4th quarter. So I watched the game for a bit and realized, most of the guys of the guys on the court I'd never even heard of. Granted, my college hoops knowledge doesn't go much beyond the ACC and Big East, but most of the bigger names generally at least sound familiar. So following our narrow 77-76 win our the Dominicans, which can't be a good sign of what's to come, I figured I'd do a little research and try to find out just who these guys are. So here's a look at your 2011 Pan-Am Games U.S. Men's Basketball Team:

Blake Ahearn - Guard
Photo Credit:

The 6'2" Ahearn played collegiately at Missouri State. Ahearn is the NCAA's all-time Division I leader in free throw percentage (94.6%), and set the single season mark as a freshman when he hit 97.5% (117 of 120 shots) from the line. Ahearn went undrafted after graduating from Missouri State in 2007, but he would go on to star in the NBA Developmental (D) League where he was named the league's Rookie of the Year in 2008. He would also appear in 15 NBA games over two seasons splitting time between the Heat and the Spurs. Ahearn currently plays for the Erie BayHawks of the NBA-D League.

Brian Butch - Center
Photo Credit:

The 6'11" Butch is back in action after a dislocating his left patella during last year's NBA Summer League while playing for the Denver Nuggets. Butch had been coming off a solid D-League campaign in which he scored 17.7 points per game and chipped in nearly 12 rebounds and was the MVP of the D-League All Star Game. Butch was also the league's Impact Player of the Year. Butch played college ball at Wisconsin where he was First-Team All Big-Ten as a Senior in 2008 while averaging 12.3 points and 6.6 rebounds. Despite being under contract with the Nuggets for almost 5 months in 2010, Butch has yet to play in an NBA game.

Justin Dentmon - Guard
Photo Credit:

The 6'0" Dentmon was the PAC-10's Most Improved Player in 2009, his senior year, while at the University of Washington. Dentmon averaged 14.4 points per game that year and was also named to the All-Pac Ten First Team. Dentmon joined the NBA D-League last year and played 50 games for the Texas Legends in which he averaged 18.7 points per game. Dentmon played in last year's NBA Summer League with the Memphis Grizzlies.

Jerome Dyson - Guard
Photo Credit:

One of the bigger names on the U.S. Roster, Dyson played four years at the University of Connecticut and was a member of the Conference's All-Freshman team in 2007, and the All-Big East third team as a Senior in 2010. After playing in the 2010 NBA Summer League with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Dyson was invited to Training Camp by the Oklahoma City Thunder, but wouldn't make the team instead getting allocated to the Tulsa 66ers of the D-League. Dyson would average 15.5 points for the 66ers and was named to the League's All-Rookie Team.

Moses Ehambe - Guard
Photo Credit:

The 6'6" Ehambe helped lead Oral Roberts to back-to-back-to-back Summit League Tournament Championships from 2006-2008. In 2008 he was named the tournament MVP when he 8 three-pointers in the first round and scored 25 points in the Championship Game. Ehambe has spent the last three years playing in the NBA D-League for the Tulsa 66ers, Austin Toros and Iowa Energy averaging 11.6 points per game while connecting on 44.7% of his 3-pointers. Last year Ehambe helped the Energy win their first D-League Championship scoring 15 points in the decisive Game 3 against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Marcus Lewis - Forward
Photo Credit:

The 6'8" Lewis started his college career at Portland before transferring to Oral Roberts to join Moses Ehambe on the 2007-08 team. As a Senior in 2009 Lewis was named to the All-Summit League First Team when he averaged 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds. After graduating, Lewis was picked up by the D-League Tulsa 66ers where he has averaged 6.1 points and 4.5 rebounds over the past two seasons. Lewis also participated in the 2010 Orlando Pro Summer League with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Leo Lyons - Forward

Photo Credit:
The 6'9" Lyons played college ball at Missouri where as a junior he was named to the league's All-Improved Team when he saw his scoring average increase from 7.4 points to 13.1 points. As a senior, Lyons continued strong play helped him earn a spot on the All-Big 12 Third Team after he averaged 14.6 points and 6.1 rebounds. Lyon partook in the NBA Summer League in both 2009 (with the Cavaliers) and 2010 (with the Knicks), but it didn't translate into any NBA invites. Lyons joined the D-League last season and averaged 14.9 points and 6.0 rebounds a game for the Austin Toros.

Renaldo Major - Forward
Photo Credit:

At 29 years old, Major is the oldest player on the USA roster. A Fresno State graduate in 2004, Major averaged 10.7 points and 3.5 rebounds as a Senior. Major joined the Dakota Wizards of the D-League after the 2006 Draft and actually earned a 10-day contract with the Golden State Warriors and played in one game in which he scored 5 points but shot just 2 of 10. Major would be reallocated to the D-League where he was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year for 2007. Last year with Dakota, Major averaged 15.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

Donald Sloan - Guard
Photo Credit:

After going undrafted out of Texas A&M as a senior, Sloan was signed as a free agent by the Sacramento Kings and received an invite to Training Camp. The 6'3" Slaon was unable to crack the roster though and was instead relegated to play in the D-League. Sloan average 10.7 points and 4.4 assists during the regular season for the Reno Bighorns, but in 5 playoff games took his play up a notch and averaged 17.0 points and 6.8 assists while shooting over 60% from the field. As a Senior at A&M, Sloan was named to the All Big 12 First Team when he averaged 17.9 points per game. He was also named to the Big-12 All Tournament Team as a Senior. Sloan is the second youngest player on the USA roster.

Greg Stiemsma - Center
Photo Credit:

The 6'11" Stiemsma played behind USA teammate Brian Butch at Wisconsin and only averaged 10.2 minutes per game in his four years with the Badgers. Still, his great size got him looks from NBA teams as in 2010 both the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavaliers signed him to contracts, though he never actually played in an NBA game. The reigning D-League Defensive Player of the Year spent 2010 with the Sioux Falls Skyforce where he blocked 3.6 shots per game over 45 appearances. Stiemsma parlayed his strong play in last year's D-League into a deal with Georgia's Sokhumi Tbilisi.

Curtis Sumpter - Forward
Photo Credit:

Sumpter overcame a knee injury in college that caused him take a medical redshirt as a senior at Villanova, and came back the following year to earn All-Big East First Team Honors. Sumpter averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 rebounds as a 5th year senior, but the 6'7" forward went undrafted and took his talents to Europe. Sumpter received a contract from the Los Angeles Clippers prior to the 2008 season, but didn't end up making the final cut and went back overseas where he's played ever since. Sumpter last played with Maroussi BC in Greece.

Lance Thomas - Forward
Photo Credit:

One of the other few names on this roster that I was familiar with, Thomas - the youngest player on the USA roster - played 4 years under Coach K at Duke. As a senior co-captain alongside Jon Scheyer, Thomas helped lead Duke to a National Championship defeating Butler 61-59 in the title game. Thomas was never known for his scoring averaging just 4.7 points with the Blue Devils in his four years there, but was named to the ACC All-Defensive Team as a senior. Thomas spent last season playing with the Austin Toros of the D-League and he averaged 12.6 points and 5.5 rebounds.

No comments:

Post a Comment