Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Gist and Hibbert make USA Pan Am basketball team

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Former Montgomery County high-school basketball stars James Gist (Good Counsel) and Roy Hibbert (Georgetown Prep) were recently named to the final men’s basketball roster, which will represent the United States at the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Gist, a rising senior forward at the University of Maryland, and Hibbert, a rising senior center at Georgetown, were two of an initial pool of 30 players, who were selected in June and then cut down to 14 on July 15. The final cut down to 12 was made after USA Basketball conducted five trial sessions between July 12-14 and four practices from July 15-17 at Haverford (Pa.) College.

‘‘This was definitely the most difficult choice we’ve ever had to make, but I just love this group,” said USA Pan Am and Villanova University coach Jay Wright in a recent press release. ‘‘I think we have great options. We’ve got shooters, we’ve got penetrators, we’ve got size, we’ve got post people — a guy like Hibbert could be a game changer. It’s just a really diverse group that has great personality and I think the committee did a great job of putting together a really strong team. Our staff is excited about working with this team and getting them to come together and think like a team.”

Gist, who helped the Terrapins to a 25-9 record last season, started 33 games and played in every contest for Maryland during his junior season. He was named honorable mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference, ranking third on the team and 23rd in the ACC in scoring (12.6 points per game).

Gist was the team’s leading scorer in conference play with 13.9 points per contest. He was fourth in the ACC in blocked shots (2.12 per game) and seventh in rebounding (7.2 per game). The Silver Spring native scored in double figures 28 times as a junior and posted six double-doubles. He blocked 72 shots and ranks eighth all-time at Maryland with 154 career blocked shots.

Hibbert, from Adelphi, helped lead Georgetown to a 30-7 record and a spot in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament this past winter, averaging 12.9 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. The Hoyas won the Big East Conference championship.

Collegeinsider.com selected Hibbert for its Defensive All-America Team.

The USA Pan American Games squad will compete July 25-29 in the 2007 Pan American Games men’s basketball competition. The United States has been placed in preliminary round Group A along with Argentina, Panama and Uruguay. Group B consists of Brazil, Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The U.S. opens preliminary play July 25 facing Uruguay (10 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time), then meets Panama on July 26 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time) and the U.S. closes out preliminary-round action against Argentina on July 27 (7:45 p.m. Rio de Janeiro local time). Semifinals will be held on July 28 and the finals will be played July 29.

The rest of the USA roster consists of the following college players: Josh Carter (Texas A&M⁄Dallas); Joey Dorsey (Memphis⁄Baltimore); Wayne Ellington (North Carolina⁄Wynnewood, Pa.); Shan Foster (Vanderbilt⁄Kenner, La.); Maarty Leunen (Oregon⁄Redmond, Ore.); Derrick Low (Washington State⁄Honolulu); Eric Maynor (Virginia Commonwealth⁄Fayetteville, N.C.); Drew Neitzel (Michigan State⁄Grand Rapids, Mich.); Scottie Reynolds (Villanova⁄Herndon, Va.); Bryce Taylor (Oregon⁄Encino, Calif.); Kyle Weaver (Washington State⁄Beloit, Wis.); D.J. White (Indiana⁄Tuscaloosa, Ala.).