Pan Am Trials: Day One Recap

By David Scott - July 12, 2007

HAVERFORD, Pa. -- A good vibe here on the Main Line in the 'burbs of Philly as Team USA's Camp Wright finished up Day One of Pan Am Game Trials. A gathering of about 50 NBA Scouts, media and hangers-on witnessed the first session of camp, the start of which was delayed by the orchestrating of the Trials Team photo. (Threes, Fours and Fives in the back, Ones, Twos, Coaches, and Managers in the front! How hard can it be, people?)

As veteran USA head coach Jay Wright cautioned in his post-session media availability, "You learn not to get too excited the first night. On the first night, you don't know who got in to town when, who had cross-country trips. In fact the two Duke guys (Jon Scheyer DeMarcus Nelson) got here just before we started."

[Oh look! Excuses for Duke players already! Is Coach K lurking somewhere? Or just pulling the strings from afar? We kid, we joke, they're Dookies!]

"You take all that into consideration and the [selection committee, headed by Jim Boeheim] understands all of that, as well," said Wright. "Jim Boeheim he is the best at knowing all the talent, he watches more basketball during the year than any of us, and he is very fair. You can see teams where Syracuse players were invited to the trials and didn't get picked for the team."

All that said, Wright acknoweldged, "You have to form a team quickly," he said. "What you really have to do is find the 12 best guys that will be effective in International play. There are going to be some guys here that will be better NBA players but maybe not good international players. There's a skill level at the international game that you've got to have."

Roy Hibbert, DJ White , Wright on recruiting and some strong Main Line pizza pie AFTER THE JUMP. . .

. . . It wouldn't be fair to either young man to start putting the crown of Greg Oden on the head of Roy Hibbert. But let's say that Hibbert is being fitted for some type of headwear as the next, best Big Man in college hoops. If there is a mortal lock for the final dozen players who will go to Rio, it is Hibbert - this camp's biggest man (7-foot-2) and biggest name.

Even the well-cut, trimmed down DJ White of Indiana (6-foot-9, 251-pounds) knows that having Hibbert at Haverford is good for everyone, not just Team USA. "I know that trying to shoot over a seven footer will help in the years to come, hopefully I can make it to the next level and that's what you're going to be going up against night in and night out."

The natural Oden comparison is both predictable for the star-crazed basketball cognoscenti and woefully inaccurate on many levels. Oden was a one-and-done kid. Hibbert will be a four-year player with some 140 games of experience under his belt.

Still, Hibbert isn't shying from the odes to Oden. "I talked to him during the game (the Hoyas loss in the National Semifinal) and he seems like a nice guy," said Hibbert. "That'd be great if I could do what he did."

If he does, Rio could very well be remembered as the first stop on Hibbert's own Oden Odyssey.

. . . Hibbert, who was last seen with a kicking afro that allowed his Regional Championship hat to sit well above his scalp, said that he got a haircut and a beard trim, "As soon as we got back form the Ohio State game. That's a playoff beard and (hair style). I'm still trying to get my beard to grow in."

. . . Need an example of the difference between Hibbert's ex-Hoya teammate Jeff Green and the still NCAA-governed, Hibbert? When discussing his friendship and closeness with Green, Hibbert revelaled he hasn't been able to watch any of Green's summer league games with Seattle or really keep up with him on the Internet.

"I don't even have cable in my townhouse, no cable, no internet," said the senior-to-be. "It's something like 30 dollars a month more and I don't have that kind of money. I have to go to the library for internet."

Green can probably buy a small cable station with his NBA millions.

. . . Watching the Draft with his Hoya teammates at the GTown hoops offices, Hibbert had some pangs about not being in the Draft. "That could have been me out there but I have no regrets."

. . . Be sure to check out Jonathan Tannenwald's college sports blog, Soft Preztel Logic, at at Tannenwald has been hard at work gathering video and all sorts of juicy tidbits with an especially Philly pheel to the subject matter - and there are plenty of Philly storylines to phollow from Wright to Court Coach Fran O'Hanlon from Lafayette College to St. Joseph's big man, Ahmad Nivins. The Pretzel Man is a close, personal friend of our guy, college BB editor Bryan Graham and any friend of BG's is a friend of ours. It's a Hang Time thang. (Oh, and Pretzel Pusher also had the logic to call Hang Time a "famed" blog. We like the sound of that. So much better than "discontinued" or "defunct" blog.)

. . . Wright admitted to having some anxiety about the fact that the Team USA duties keep him away from what can be crucial recruiting time. "I'm always paranoyed about that," he said. "I still think the benefits outweigh that concern because every year I feel like I learn so much as a coach. Maybe what we lose in recruiting, (that) little bit, tiny bit - it's not that bad and I think you definitey make up for it with the experience you're gaining."

Wright's 'Nova assistants are still, of course, on the trail and the exposure that continued Team USA success (8-0 as the 2005 World University Games head coach) can bring for Wright is well worth the time away from the summer camp tour.

. . . Knowing that there are all sorts of hardwood politics being played to get kids on the final 12 man roster and also knowing that what Wright said about getting "international-type players" is a large part of the decision process, we still think it's worth giving you our bets guess at what the Rio team is going to look like. Positions are taken into consideration, but not the end-all, be-all and this is basically the 12 guys that we have seen, been impressed by and would think could gel together into a medal-winning club. We'll see how many we wind up getting correct when the team is announced on Sunday morning. And then we'll all laugh at me, as usual. Great fun:

Roy Hibbert (Georgetown), Dominic James (Marquette), Drew Neitzel (Michigan State), Eric Maynor (VCU), Wayne Ellington (UNC), Randal Falker (SIU), Alonzo Gee (Alabama), James Gist (Maryland), DeMarcus Nelson (Duke), Joey Dorsey (Memphis), DJ White (Indiana), Jerel McNeal (Marquette).

Note, we took both of the "mid-major" kids because we're a mid-major lover and because both Maynor and Falker can flat out play. Gee had opened our eyes at the SEC Tournament last year and Neitzel seems like one of those "international" guys who can do a lot of little things. Everyone else seems easily justified. Which is probably why Coach Beoeheim has yet to ask for our help.

. . . We're not truly near any of the classic cheese steak places in Philly proper, so we went with Wayne, PA's Vic & Deane's pizzeria for delivery and the bacon/olive white pizza done extra cripsy was simply oustanding. The place is known for its Pizalads which consist of cold salad on a hot pizza crust. Those seem worth trying as well. We may need to extend our stay. . . not to mention our waist band.

. . . Sessions run from 10 a.m. to noon on Friday and then 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Our live-blogging will begin in the 9:30 hour and we should be able to get a bit deeper into who's performing well and who's being overmatched. Come on back and bring your friends!

Posted by David Scott at 11:14 PM on July 12, 2007
Comments (2)


Does this mean Boeheim is cutting Devendorf from the squad?

Go to Larry's on 54th and city avenue right across from the Saint Joe's fieldhouse if u want a good cheese steak close to haverford.

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