TUSCALOOSA Two University of Alabama basketball players hope to join their coach, Mark Gottfried, in Rio de Janeiro this July. Richard Hendrix and Alonzo Gee, who will both be juniors on the Crimson Tide basketball team this fall, are among the 30 players invited to participate in the USA Basketball Men’s Pan American Games Team Trials. Gottfried is an assistant coach for the USA’s Pan Am Games Team.
The trials are July 12-14 at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. The Pan American Games are in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 13-29. The basketball competition in Brazil is July 25-29.
“This is a great opportunity for both of us. I hope we both make the team. It would be a special situation for both of us and the Crimson Tide,” said Hendrix, a 2nd Team All-Southeastern Conference forward from Athens who averaged 14.6 points and 8.7 rebounds at Alabama this past season. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to go to Philadelphia and try out with some of the best players in the country. It’s an honor to be invited, and I hope we will show that we are ready to play on this international level.”
Gee, a 6-6 forward from Palm Beach, Fla., averaged 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Tide this past season and was Freshman All-SEC in 2006.
Accepting invitations to participate in the 2007 USA Pan American Games Team Trials were: Jon Brockman (Washington / Snohomish, Wash.); Brian Butch (Wisconsin / Appleton, Wis.); Josh Carter (Texas A&M / Dallas, Texas); Mario Chalmers (Kansas / Anchorage, Alaska); Sherron Collins (Kansas / Chicago, Ill.); Brandan Costner (North Carolina State / West Orange, N.J.); Eric Devendorf (Syracuse / Bay City, Mich.); Joey Dorsey (Memphis / Baltimore, Md.); Wayne Ellington (North Carolina / Wynnewood, Pa.); Randal Falker (Southern Illinois / St. Louis, Mo.); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt / Kenner, La.); Alonzo Gee (Alabama / Palm Beach, Fla.); James Gist (Maryland / Silver Spring, Md.); Richard Hendrix (Alabama / Athens, Ala.); Roy Hibbert (Georgetown / Adelphi, Md.); Maarty Leunen (Oregon / Redmond, Ore.); Chris Lofton (Tennessee / Maysville, Ky.); Derrick Low (Washington State / Honolulu, Hawaii); Wesley Matthews (Marquette / Madison, Wis.); Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth / Fayetteville, N.C.); Jerel McNeal (Marquette / Chicago, Ill.); Tasmin Mitchell (LSU / Denham Springs, La.); Drew Neitzel (Michigan State / Grand Rapids, Mich.); DeMarcus Nelson (Duke / Elk Grove, Calif.); Ahmad Nivins (Saint Joseph’s / Jersey City, N.J.); Scottie Reynolds (Villanova / Herndon, Va.); Jon Scheyer (Duke / Northbrook, Ill.); Bryce Taylor (Oregon / Encino, Calif.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State / Beloit, Wis.); D.J. White (Indiana / Tuscaloosa, Ala.).
Villanova University (Pa.) head coach Jay Wright is leading the USA’s 2007 Pan American Games Team, while University of Alabama head mentor Mark Gottfried and Yale University head coach James Jones will serve as assistant coaches.
Sixteen of the 30 players boast of prior USA Basketball experience, including Brockman (2005 Nike Hoop Summit and 2004 Youth Development Festival West Team); Butch (2002 Youth Development Festival North Team); Chalmers (2004 Youth Development Festival West Team); Costner ( 2004 Youth Development Festival East Team); Devendorf (2004 Youth Development Festival North Team); Ellington (2006 Nike Hoop Summit, 2005 Youth Development Festival Blue Team); Gist ( 2003 Youth Development Festival East Team); Hendrix (2005 Nike Hoop Summit, 2004 and 2003 Youth Development Festival South teams); Leunen (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); Mitchell (2004 Youth Development Festival South Team); Neitzel (2003 Youth Development Festival North Team); Nelson (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); Reynolds (2005 Youth Development Festival White Team); Scheyer (2006 Nike Hoop Summit, 2005 Youth Development Festival Red Team); Taylor (2003 Youth Development Festival West Team); and White (2004 Nike Hoop Summit and 2003 Youth Development Festival South Team).
Trials for the USA Pan American Games Team will be held July 12-14 at Haverford College (Pa.) with the 30 U.S. hopefuls participating. The first trials session will be held on Thursday, July 12, 5-7 p.m. (all times local, EDT). Two trials sessions (10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.) will be held on July 13 and 14. The 12 selected USA team finalists will remain for the USA's July 15-21 training camp.
Eight countries will compete in basketball, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Panama, Puerto Rico, United States, Uruguay, U.S. Virgin Islands. The Pan American Games are held every four years in the year prior to the Olympics and organized by the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). The Pan American Games is a multi-sport competition open to men and women representing countries from North, South and Central America and the Caribbean.