[Big East] - A select team of men’s basketball standouts from the BIG EAST Conference will represent the United States at the 2019 Pan American Games, it was announced jointly today by USA Basketball and the BIG EAST. This represents the first time a team from a single Division l conference will represent the U.S. in the sport of men’s basketball in Pan American Games competition.
The BIG EAST also announced that Providence College head coach Ed Cooley will serve as head coach for the Pan American Games team. Cooley’s selection is pending USOC approval. He previously served on the coaching staffs for the 2014 USA Basketball junior national team that won the FIBA Americas U18 Championship and the 2015 USA team that won the FIBA U19 World Championship in Greece. He has been a member of the USA Basketball Junior National Team Committee since 2017. He was also a court coach for the 2013 USA U19 World Cup Team. In his eighth season at Providence, Cooley led the Friars to the 2014 BIG EAST Conference title and to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of the past five years.
So perhaps flying a bit under the radar today was this news and it’s pretty big news. The Big East was selected to represent the United States at the upcoming Pan Am Games. More importantly they were selected over other conferences to represent the USA and Ed Cooley gets the nod as the head coach.
This is the first time the team will be made up of all players from just one conference and one of the rare times it’s going to be made up of only college players. The last Pan Am Games took place in 2015 and had seven college players (Melo Trimble, Ron Baker, Denzel Valentine, Shawn Long, Malcolm Brogdon, Taurean Prince and Kaleb Tarczewski) and five pro players. Obviously that’s just a hodgepodge group of college players.
It’s also one of the rare tournaments where the United States isn’t favored to win. In fact the US hasn’t won gold in the Pan Am Games since 1983 and that’s mostly due to playing professionals and the growth of the sport across the world. So, this will be a challenge for Cooley and the Big East. The US won bronze the last two Pan Am Games, which take place every four years.
So with that in mind, let’s figure out what the roster could look like. There are 12 roster spots. Obviously you have to be from the US to be on the roster and you cant’t be a senior this year. With that in mind and assuming Shamorie Ponds will declare for the NBA Draft I’d go with these 12:
Mustapha Heron (St. John’s), Sean McDermott (Butler), Kamar Baldwin (Butler), Dhamir Cosby-Roundtree (Villanova), Myles Powell (Seton Hall), Mitch Ballock (Creighton), Markus Howard (Marquette), Sam Hauser (Marquette), Joey Hauser (Marquette), Alpha Diallo (Providence), Nate Watson (Providence) Naji Marshall (Xavier)